Apple fanboys might not want to hear it, but price is apparently the most influential factor when consumers are buying gadgets.

81% of respondents in an EML Wildfire survey said they thought price was the top consideration when buying consumer tech, followed by technical specifications (61%) and compatibility (46%).

Brand loyalty came fifth out of the six options on offer with just 11%.

The results, which come from a survey of 2,000 UK respondents, show that marketers need to be aware of price sensitivity when marketing new products.

The survey also looked at how purchase decisions are made, with the results showing that advice from friends and family is the key factor (52%), followed by reading user reviews on retail sites (51%) and seeking opinion on forums and online communities to sanity check purchasing decisions (33%).

We’ve previously blogged about the importance of e-commerce consumer reviews, and highlighted research from Reevoo which found that 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores, while 30% suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see anything negative at all.

Not only this, but shoppers who go out of their way to read bad reviews convert 67% more than the average consumer.

Another study from Reevoo found similar results to the Wildfire survey – it showed that more than half of respondents (52%) said friends’ recommendations were influential, followed by consumer reviews (48%).

And despite brands clamouring to control the discussion about their products online, the Wildfire report found that only 9% of consumers listen to what people are saying on social media before making a purchase and just 6% ask their social contacts for recommendations.

However the report highlights a complex system of purchase influencers.

If we look more closely at men and women in different age groups, it is clear there are wide variations on what and who influences their buying decisions.

This can be important when brands are trying to work out where to spend their PR and marketing budgets.

For example, while women are more likely than men to ask family and friends there is a notable dip for those females aged 35-44 years.

Reliance on user reviews online varies considerably, yet it seems these are most influential to two very different audiences: men aged 18-24 years and women aged 45-54 years.