'Israelis most likely to peruse online, buy offline'

Google study finds that If you are Israeli and have ever used your mobile device to search for more information about products while shopping, then it turns out you are not alone.

Girl using laptop 370 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Girl using laptop 370
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Israelis spend more time than Americans and Europeans researching products online but are likelier to complete their purchases at bricks-and-mortar outlets, Google’s Consumer Commerce Barometer reported Wednesday.
The study, which surveyed consumers in Israel, the US, UK, Germany, France and Italy, found that Israelis had the highest preference for researching travel, technology, cinema tickets and personal appliances online, but the lowest preference for researching books, toys and clothing accessories using that same method.
Israelis ranked number one for online cinema ticket and personal appliance purchases, but ranked in the bottom or close to the bottom in each of the other seven fields. Eighty-seven percent of Israelis said they researched travel before ordering a flight or accommodation, but only 49% completed their purchases online. In comparison, 86% of Brits researched travel over the Internet and 75% completed purchases online.
These findings support those made by a McKinsey study on Israel’s Internet economy early last year, which estimated that Israelis bought NIS 20 billion worth of goods at land-based stores after first researching the products online.
Google believes these habits will eventually disappear, Paul Solomon, head of communications for the Internet giant’s Israel branch, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview conducted via Google+’s Hangout video-chat platform.
“E-commerce is inevitably increasing, and as the Internet becomes more influential in our lives, it will become more influential in our purchasing decisions as well,” he said.
Consumers unsurprisingly used mobile Internet far less than regular Internet, Google’s study showed, although Israelis were found to be the most advanced when it came to mobile research – no matter what the product. For example, 9% of them used their phones to research travel, compared to 2%-5% in the other countries, and 8% used phones to research finance and real estate, double second-placed Britain with 4%.
If you are Israeli and have ever used your mobile device to search for more information about products while shopping, then it turns out you are not alone.
Thirty-nine percent of Israelis admitted to using an iPhone, Android or other smartphone device to obtain information about products while inside a store, compared to 35% of Americans, 31% of Brits, 21% of Italians, 20% of French and 14% of Germans.
The study also compared Israelis’ and Brits’ research and purchase behavior in the area of hotel stays.
While the same amount of Israeli and Brits (67%) researched accommodation online, only 52% of Israelis purchased a hotel stay online, compared to 77% of Brits. Both citizenries were most likely to start their search on travel-related websites, followed by search engines, word of mouth and product/price comparison sites.
Solomon said businesses could draw three conclusions from the report: they need the right digital assets, such as mobile-adaptive websites; they must be able to promote their digital assets using search-engine marketing to reach the people searching for their particular service; and they should consider selling online, if they do not already do so, because the data suggest that Israelis will purchase online when given a proper opportunity.
Finally, Solomon suggested that social networks also take note, saying, “For all their popularity, they are not yet playing a major part in the commercial decisionmaking process.”