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Nielsen: Only 10% of Consumers Clicked an Online Ad in Last Six Months

Consumers are increasingly picky about when and how they choose to interact with retailers, both in-store and online, according to a recent Nielsen report.

The research firm polled more than 13,000 consumers in 26 countries between August and October for its “Global Connected Commerce Survey” and found that while the majority of respondents claimed to conduct e-research prior to a purchase (looking up product information, comparing prices and searching for deals), only about 10 percent said they clicked an ad (either online or in an e-mail) to find out more in the last six months.

Furthermore, even fewer said they have subscribed to product or store e-mails or posted something on social media.

Basically, connected consumers have a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” philosophy—and Nielsen suggested that retailers move away from obvious marketing messages if they want to keep shoppers on their side.

“In an increasingly complex retail environment, engagement is the emerging skill to master,” Patrick Dodd, president of Nielsen’s global retailer vertical, said. “Retailers must move from a linear marketing approach to a value exchange model in which customers receive a tangible, personally relevant benefit for their time and attention.”

Notably, Nielsen found that online shopping habits vary from country to country. Respondents in Thailand, the Philippines, India and China said that they frequently research products online before buying in stores or use online reviews to help make purchasing decisions for groceries. Spanish and Nigerian shoppers frequently use online research and reviews, too.

Additionally, 57 percent of those surveyed said they purchased from an e-tailer outside their country’s border in the past six months.

The report pointed out that the importance of online research in all 26 countries sampled is likely driven by wide variation in product quality, the prevalence of social networks and the importance of keeping up with the latest trends.

Online shopping is a two-way street, the report said, and a value exchange approach to marketing will become even more critical as location-based services become more ubiquitous.

“Consumers will be quick to distinguish marketing messages that are simply trying to sell from tools that actually help their shopping efforts, such as advanced order placement or mobile price-matching features. Consequently, having the right assets and insights is necessary to fuel context-aware engagement,” Dodd said.

Source: Nielsen Global Connected Commerce Survey, Q4 2015