October 28, 2004Local Search and Online Shopping Among Leading Online Consumer Behaviors

Results of new survey by BizRate.com and The Kelsey Group to be presented next week at Kelsey’s Interactive Local Media 2004 conference.Princeton, NJ and Los Angeles, CA

(October 28, 2004) 

According to a recent consumer search behavior study conducted by BizRate.com and The Kelsey Group of 3,887 online respondents, findings show that while general search engines rank the highest in terms of usage, with 72 percent indicating they use general search engines nine or more times per month, only 35 percent indicated loyalty to one search engine. Yet, when indexed by familiarity, frequency of use, and loyalty, Internet mapping sites were ranked number one, followed by general search engines.Interestingly, after mapping sites and general search, Internet Yellow Pages, online classifieds, shopping search sites and entertainment information sites are among the top five online search behaviors, followed by online travel sites, local destination sites and vertical directories.Shopping search and Internet Yellow Pages sites both show signs of promise. Thirty-seven percent of online consumers are already very familiar with shopping search sites and just over 75 percent of respondents stated that comparing prices and/or merchants was their favorite aspect of shopping online. Nearly half of respondents (43 percent) said that they preferred to research and shop online, while roughly 28 percent displayed some combination of offline/online behavior.“Shopping search is a growth category. Consumers love getting the best shopping value. Our technology enables it by searching, sorting and weighing pricing, in-stock availability, customer service and a host of other variables to find users just what they want,” said Chuck Davis, president and CEO of leading comparison shopping site BizRate.com. “As online shopping becomes increasingly mainstream, buyers are more aware that comparison shopping sites save them time and money. In fact, we grew by 60 percent year-over-year in September to 11.41 million visitors, making us the largest independent comparison shopping site.”Similarly, Internet Yellow Pages sites performed well ranking third overall. The notion of “local” is not lost on users. More than 74 percent of survey respondents said that they perform local searches. The data also showed that, on average, 27 percent of their total search behavior was for local information. Nearly 75 percent of local search users indicated the relevance and completeness of local information online had either somewhat or significantly improved versus a year ago. Coupled with the strong performance of mapping sites and Internet Yellow Pages sites, the use of the Internet for finding local information should accelerate over time.“The data indicates that search continues to be the dominant way people find things on the Internet,” said Greg Sterling, director for The Kelsey Group’s Interactive Local Media program. “It also shows that awareness and usage of local search continues to grow.”Additional survey findings include:More than 52 percent of Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) users are loyal to one IYP site, while 42 percent use “two or three” different IYP sites.Of the 44 percent of respondents who have downloaded a toolbar, 68 percent said their objective was to block pop-up ads, while 36 percent had done so to be able to search from any web site.Respondents reported general search engines (52 percent) and shopping search sites (41 percent) as the leading types of sites that lend themselves to personalization. And 33 percent have actually personalized search web sites.About the Survey
The Kelsey Group and BizRate.com produced the first empirical data on local search six months ago. For the current survey, the two firms polled 3,887 online consumers on an expanded range of topics related to search and online shopping behavior. Respondents to this survey were 64 percent female and 36 percent male. The average age was 44. Approximately 79 percent of respondents have been on the Internet for more than five years, and 72 percent access the Internet with a high-speed connection. The average income is U.S. $64,000.More survey results and additional consumer data will be presented at The Kelsey Group’s Interactive Local Media 2004 conference taking place November 3-5, 2004, at the Hyatt Regency on the Hudson, Jersey City, New Jersey.About BizRate.com
Founded in 1996, BizRate.com is the largest, fastest and most accurate shopping search engine on the Web. With an index of over 25 million product offers from more than 45,000 stores, BizRate.com uses ShopRank(TM), a proprietary shopping search algorithm, to produce the industry’s most relevant search results by weighing price, popularity and availability of products, against the reputations of merchants that sell them. At the heart of ShopRank(TM) are BizRate.com’s signature merchant and product ratings, collected from more than one million online buyers each month, making them the most reliable ratings on the Web. Every week, the BizRate.com shopping search engine prepares millions of shoppers to make smarter, more confident purchases and sends them directly to the checkout page of thousands of online merchants.About The Kelsey Group
The Kelsey Group is the leading provider of strategic research and analysis, data and competitive metrics on Yellow Pages, electronic directories, small-business advertising and local search. Beginning in 1986, the company has built a reputation as the leading analyst firm covering the directory publishing community, providing advisory (The Kelsey Report® and Digital Directories: Interactive Local Media), publishing (Global Yellow Pages™), consulting (more than 300 individual assignments) and conference services (59 events).1 According to comScore Media Metrix September 2004 data.

For more information contact:

Eileen Pacheco
For The Kelsey Group
(781) 556-1026

Helen Malani
(310) 903-4280

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