Using online price comparison sites like confused.com is becoming an increasingly integral part of the shopping process for consumers in the UK, a recent study has found.

A study from Lightspeed Research found that 75% of the 1,000 18 to-64 year olds surveyed have compared prices online ahead of making a purchase in the last six months.

Only 13% said they had no conducted any pre-purchase research, price comparison or looked at online reviews in the last six months before buying a product, online or on the high street.

The research found that there was not any particular retail sector that consumers chose to use price comparison sites with it being a popular choice for almost all sectors, wit Lightspeed finding that people are likely to go through this process when buying expensive items like personal technology or white goods, as well as smaller items like clothes and books.

When asked what influenced people’s purchasing decisions online, one quarter of respondents said they change their minds about buying a product or service after reading two bad reviews. Almost half (39%) said it would take three negative reviews for them to opt against making a purchase.

Somehwhat surprisingly, Social Media is not deemed to play as big a part as some industry commentators might suggest, with only 17% of those surveyed indicating it was important that social network ‘friends’ gave products they were interested in a good review.

Ralph Risk, Marketing Director, Lightspeed Research, said : “Brands need to be aware of the influence that online reviews have, both positive and negative.

“There is a real danger that companies will focus on social media because it is so popular and in doing so miss out on the opinions that consumers actually value.”

Please note the views expressed in this blog are the views of the author, Andre Brown and do not represent the view of Locayta, its employees or its shareholders. For more information about Locayta, visit www.locayta.com