This tool could help identify new opportunities for your business and show the senior execs in your business how consumers in your market are typically interacting between the online and the offline world when making a decision on which product to buy and where to buy it from.

The data behind the research is compiled by TNS, the IAB and Google (in case you are questioned on the credibility of this data).

The consumer barometer tool is split into four key areas each of which could go some way to help guide you answer some burning business questions regarding the multichannel shopping habits of your customers and strong the ROPO effect is in your market.

1. How do consumers research and purchase the products you sell?

The internet and search engines have completely changed the way we go about making everyday purchase decisions.

It is widely accepted that people will often research online but then prefer to go into a store to make a final purchase. And this varies person to person, product to product, situation to situation etc.

However, this concept has been difficult to quantify and prove and often talking about this with senior managers can often leave us internet people feeling slightly frustrated.  This is a credible source of research and data that can help you demonstrate to the business how your customers are shopping for products you sell.

Firstly select your country from the nicely presented bubbles. Then you can use the menu on the left to filter down to your product area or industry e.g. digital cameras/camcorders. 

The next stage is pretty cool. You are presented with a matrix of results on which you can compare and filter to identify differences between countries, genders, education levels etc. So firstly I can identify how people in the uk choose to research and purchase digital cameras and then narrow this down to show differences between male and female shoppers. 

In the snap shot below I have compared UK to USA markets and filtered on Male gender.

consumer barometer

Straight away it is easy for me to demonstrate that consumers in both the UK and USA conduct the majority of their research on the internet.

You can also see that 60% of consumers shopping for cameras in the UK purchase online but it is important to note that a high percentage of people who research online go on to make the final purchase and part with their cash in store.

This demonstrates the importance of your website and your online marketing strategy to the final sale in the offline world. Maybe you should consider identifying the key online activity that helps consumers buying offline.

Set this up as a micro conversion rate in your analytics and focus on activity to drive more of this.

2. What is the role of the search engine in the purchase process?

Every month when the adwords invoice lands I can see accounts and the directors wincing at the cost of PPC and asking themselves if they really need it.

This part of the consumer barometer will help you demonstrate to your directors how important search is for potential customers trying to find products you sell. Simply follow your nose in the navigation to locate your country, product, industry etc. You can also see the differences between different genders, ages and education levels.

If the percentages are high for your market then maybe you need investment in SEO and technical web development to keep the PPC costs down. You may also find something interesting that helps you tailor your ad copy to appeal more to different genders. 

3. How do your consumers access the internet?

This section gives you an overview of the proportion of people that have access the Internet, how they access it and the type of connection consumers have.

A couple of really nice metrics in this section is the intent to buy by device and the psychographic segmentation. This enables you to explore comparisons across different geographical regions. This data could help you to understand the opportunity for expansion into new markets and the channels and devices you should be focussing development and investment on. 

consumer barometer

In the image above I’ve again compared the UK with the USA. You can see for each country how and why people are accessing the internet.

Both of these geographical markets are very similar so maybe not a great example here. If you were considering entering a new geographical market then it would be great to understand how important it is to have a mobile optimised website.

Or if connection speeds and broadband penetration low in your chosen market then your website would need to be light on images and tags to help pages load quicker.  

4. How does purchase behaviour vary across geographic regions?

This little section is great once again for helping you plan potential expansion into new markets. After selecting your product area you can easily see the importance of search engines and mobile optimisation across geographical regions.

There is a whole lot more you can do in this free resource that i’m sure is very helpful to everyone – I can’t believe google isn’t shouting more about this.

My only negative comments about this tool is that I struggled a bit in certain browsers and as the internet is moving is such a rate habits change so quickly – so how long this data is relevant is anyones guess.

Hopefully this will be an annual project and when the data is refreshed we can also begin to see how trends and shopping habits change over time.