It may not be a surprise to learn that online Australian consumers along with the rest of the world’s online population are becoming more and more reliant on the Internet to finalise their purchase decisions. However, the latest survey by leading market information and research company ACNielsen has revealed that Aussies are still generally more influenced by prior experience and window shopping for particular product categories, compared to their global counterparts.

In a recent online survey conducted in 41 countries around the world, ACNielsen asked consumers what helped their final decision when it came to purchasing a variety of products. ‘Searching the Internet’ was the most popular decision influencer for Australian consumers when it came to purchasing holidays (66% – 12points above the global average), MP3 players (43%) and loans (41%).

“The reality is that, today, an Internet presence isn’t a ‘nice to have’, it’s a commercial necessity. It’s where the majority are going to make up their minds about a purchase, whether it’s a highly fragmented category like holidays, or a highly commoditised category like loans” says Peter Matthew, Associate Director, Customised Research – Media, ACNielsen Australia.

‘Prior experience with the same brand’ was the most popular influencer for around one in two Aussies for banks (53%), mobile phones (48%) and cars (47%) – all significantly higher than the global average.

‘Window shopping’ was the most important decision influencer when it came to fashion, with almost two in three Australians (65%) preferring some good old-fashioned retail therapy, compared to the global average of 47 percent. Window shopping was also a critical factor when it came to Aussies purchasing jewellery and watches (55%).

“People rely much more strongly on visual presentation when selecting fashion and ‘big ticket’ accessories like jewellery and watches. This suggests these purchases are less likely than average to be researched, and more likely to be spontaneous,” commented Matthew.

‘TV/print ads’ was a key influencer on Aussies’ decision-making when it came to fashion (41%), cars (36%), mobile phones (35%) and holidays (33%).

“Globally, traditional advertising was not skewed to any particular type of product. While consumers may not think conventional advertising influences their purchase, advertising builds brand awareness and positioning and plays a key role in marketing strategies,” says Matthew.

“There is no doubt, however, that consumers will need to be ‘addressed on all fronts’, with the Internet a core part of any multimedia strategy.”