10 Stats on Why Every Consumer is a Detective

The ease of finding & comparing products has complicated the consumer journey. Our latest report digs into what that means for marketers.
Updated on February 10, 2023

When consumers stepped into stores a decade ago, they got to choose from a few different options. Now, those options are infinite. The ease of finding and comparing products has complicated the consumer journey, online and off. In “Shopper Story 2020,” Criteo wanted to dig into how consumers research and buy today.

By analyzing those results along with even more research, we put together a comprehensive look at why 2020 consumers are detectives.

Customer Reviews are Big Consumer Clues

With near limitless access to free megaphones (social media, reviews, blogs, YouTube, question-and-answer websites, and product pages themselves), consumers today have the power to review every interaction with a business. And their peers are listening.

1. According to Spiegel Research, nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase.

2. Testimonial Engine found that 72% of consumers won’t take action on a purchase until they’ve read reviews.

3. Criteo’s own Shopper Story study showed that well over half of US consumers have told someone about an interaction they had with a business, whether positive (68%) or negative (59%).

Consideration = Investigation

The “consideration phase” of the shopping journey, when a consumer researches and evaluates different potential purchases, is complex — and marked by many touchpoints.

4. According to Google, 53% of shoppers say they always do research before they buy to ensure they are making the best possible choice.

5. Less than 10% of our Shopper Story survey respondents in the US said they always purchase from the first website they visit.

6. Criteo data shows that the average time between the first touchpoint and a transaction is 7 days when the transaction ends in-store, versus up to 28 days when a transaction ends online. That’s a full four weeks that ecommerce shoppers are taking to consider and land on the perfect product for their needs.

The Hunt for Solid Brand Values

Consumers today aren’t just taking what businesses say and do for granted: They’re pulling the curtain back to see if that brand’s actions align with their own personal principles.

7. A global Accenture Strategy survey found that 62% of consumers want companies to take a stand on issues like sustainability, transparency, and fair employment practices.

8. An Edelman study revealed that 64% of consumers around the world “will buy or boycott a brand because of its position on a social or political issue.”

9. In a Futerra survey, 88% of respondents in the US and UK said they’d like brands to help them be more environmentally friendly and ethical in their daily life.

10. Over half of US respondents (51%) in our “Why We Buy” survey said that their purchasing decisions were affected by a brand’s values.

From peer reviews, product evaluation, and brand values, consumers today are taking extra care to investigate their options before they buy. The new consumer mindset is all about access to information — and the ability to get it quickly and easily.

Our research shows that consumers no longer measure a product’s value purely by low prices or fast shipping (though these factors still play a role). The 2020 consumer is motivated and influenced by more intangibles, including a company’s reputation (illuminated by consumer reviews) and what it stands for (brand values). Companies that want to win the hearts and minds of modern shoppers for the long term will need to mind this mix.

For more research and data on why every consumer is now a detective, download our Shopper Story 2020 report:

Michelle Pruett

As Global Head of Content at Criteo, Michelle leads a high-performing, multi-disciplinary team of marketers packaging insights, copy, design, and video into integrated campaigns. Her own writing has been featured in Entrepreneur, Business Insider, AdWeek, eMarketer, and more. Before joining the ...

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