A new study into the buying habits of Aussies has found many of us forgo the ads and still place a great deal of trust in a word of mouth recommendation from friends or family.
The study by Roy Morgan Research found 91 per cent of the population aged 14-plus have given or received advice that resulted in a purchasing decision. Cars topping the list of the topics most talked about followed by eating out at restaurants.
The most discussed topic amongst Australians aged 14-plus is ‘buying a car’, with nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of the population either playing the role of a trusted adviser (those whose advice has been sought by friends or family), an info seeker (those who go to friends/family for advice) or both. Eating out at restaurants is the second most discussed topic (62 per cent) and planning a holiday or trip comes in third with 59 per cent.
Less than half of the population seek or give advice on categories relating to mobile phones (47 per cent), home entertainment or electronics (43 per cent), signing up to an internet provider (40 per cent), finance and investments (39 per cent), home renovations (39 per cent), and health and nutrition (37 per cent).
In all categories, Australians tend to be more info seekers rather than trusted advisers. When buying a car, 52 per cent of people have gone to their friends/family for advice compared to 27per cent who have provided advice to their friends/family.
Commenting on the findings, Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said: “Marketers have always understood the importance and value of ‘Word of Mouth’ to promote their products. This new research identifies the key drivers of this important form of communication. Roy Morgan unveils how much each topic is being discussed, and whose opinions are sought as ‘trusted advisers’, and who are the ‘information seekers’. In some areas, like eating out at a restaurant, there is a large percentage of people who regards themselves as both.
“Surprisingly, this new research shows ‘Word of Mouth’ is as important today even though information of all kinds is increasingly easy to get online. Even with all kinds of elaborate rating systems to score the value, accuracy, helpfulness, likeability or whatever, people still value advice from a ‘trusted advisor’ and people it seems still love to give advice.
“‘Trusted advisers’, those providing advice to friends and family are an important conduit to the rest of the population.
“Trusted advisers are not always first to try new products – indeed in some areas, trusted advisers are more likely the voice of caution, e.g. buying a car where trusted advisers tend to be older males; in others they are the voice of optimism, e.g. in make up where younger females tend to dominate the trusted adviser space.
“When it comes to giving advice, trusted advisers are still more likely to be male for computers or computer equipment, computer/console games, home entertainment or electronics, cars, and finance and investments to name a few. Women are still more likely to be trusted advisers for information on skincare and beauty products, fashion, decorating your home and most grocery and retail products.
“From a sociological perspective it is interesting that when it comes to seeking advice, men are below average across all categories. Women are far more open to receive information especially when it relates to information from other women on fashion and beauty products,” Levine said.