Television still stands as the most influential form of advertising in Australia, according to Deloitte’s State of Media Democratisation survey.

For 68 per cent of respondents they most preferred television advertising followed by newspapers (53 per cent).

However, the survey showed that online advertising (47 per cent) is fast catching up with traditional media channels with online reviews and recommendations highly influential when it comes to making buying decisions.

Damien Tampling, Deloitte National technology media and telecommunications (TMT) leader, said the survey showed that 56 per cent of respondents learned about a new product online for the first time and 43 per cent purchased a product based on an online review or recommendation.

Consumers are more informed than ever and traditional retailers will need to rethink how they can respond to these behaviours to support and augment the in-store retail experience. A Deloitte Retail 3.0 research report also reveals that 41 per cent of shoppers will check competitors’ prices on their smartphones whilst in a retail store.

"Consumers are becoming ‘shameless’ when it comes to telling in-store staff members they can get a product cheaper elsewhere. Price matching is everyday consumer behaviour as is asking questions about product issues they’ve read about online,” Tampling said.

“It’s called Word of Mouth (WOM) in the 21st Century.

“Although seeking product information online is equally popular across all age groups, Millennials and Xers are more influenced by online reviews and recommendations than older generations.”

Social media is also inevitably expected to play an influential role in consumer buying decisions. The State of Media Democracy survey found that 42 per cent of Boomers (46-64 years) and 34 per cent of Matures (aged 65-75) report finding social media as a good way to satisfy social needs.

 “The implications of the statement that: ‘My parents’ parents are on Facebook’ are huge,” Clare Harding, Deloitte TMT partner, said. “Figuring out the role social media has to play in advertising strategies as social media gets to scale, and how to do that in a way that is sensitive to the medium, is a big challenge and a big opportunity.

While industry spending on online advertising has increased, newspaper advertising nevertheless remains a more influential form of advertising in Australia when it comes to buying decisions.

“A reason for this could be that 69 per cent of Australian consumers perceive online ads as more intrusive and therefore less effective than other forms of advertising,” Harding said.

Deloitte’s State of the Media Democracy survey also showed that the integration and convergence of media on multiple devices will continue to gain momentum in the future. For example, 63 per cent of all Australian consumers would like to view online content on their TV – good news for Internet-enabled TV manufacturers and retailers.