The Pew Internet & American Life project is an ongoing effort from the Pew research company to gather data and provide other information to celebrate the Internet turning 25 years old in a few days (March 12, 2014). As part of this project, Pew polled over 1000 consumers to see how they were using the web in their everyday lives. Perhaps not surprisingly, they found that 90% of those polled were self-described internet users. Of that number, 3/4ths of them reported that they believe the web has been a positive development for society.
For marketers, the real information came later in the survey where they polled people about what types of things they use the Internet for. In this section, 89% of respondents said that they use it to research products before purchasing. As performance marketers, one of the key tools used is offering product reviews or other information to those who are considering buying, so this number is very significant.
The poll focused on American consumers, which is a primary market for many. These numbers are likely to be similar in other Western countries as well. The target audiences of many marketers use the Internet at greater levels. A full 99% of households earning $75,000 per year or more reported that they use the Internet, and 97% of young adults (18-29).
While this may not be a surprise to many, it is the latest information available indicating that the Internet will be a tool used to help drive purchases (both online and offline) for the foreseeable future. Brands and marketers who aren’t taking advantage of this are missing out on huge opportunities.
Interestingly, in 1995 Pew found that just 14% of American adults were using the Internet. This number grew to 46% in the year 2000 and is now up at 87%.
You can see the results of the Pew study HERE.