March 05, 2005

A new survey shows that more consumers are going to Internet search engines for local shopping information rather than their phone books.

For the last few years, one of the big stories in advertising has been the battle between online search engines and newspapers and phone book publishers for local ad dollars. At first, it looked like the Internet didn't stand a chance. That is changing.

New research from the Kelsey Group and ConStat shows that 70% of US adults use the Internet as an information source when shopping locally for products and services — up from 60% in October 2003.

These figures put the Internet on par with newspapers as a local shopping information resource, and suggest that the Internet is on track to surpass newspapers as a consumer influencer in the very near future.

"Use of the Internet as a shopping resource is already changing the face of local advertising," says Neal Polachek of the Kelsey Group. "Traditional local advertising media must find ways to evolve or risk losing dollars to the new advertising options available to local and small businesses."

AdWeek reported that the survey found that the Yellow Pages was the biggest loser, with usage declining from 75% in 2003 to 62% now. Not surprisingly, the study concluded, "The decline in printed Yellow Pages use was significant among households with Internet access at home, but no growth was seen for this medium among households who are not online."

Results of another study may help explain why shoppers are shifting to online advertising sources. BizRate Research found that of nearly 1,000 online shoppers surveyed, 71% reporting that they were able to find better sales and discount offers online than offline from retail stores or catalogs.

For a more information and analysis on this subject, a search on "Online Shopping" in eMarketer's eStat Database reveals 1576 records.

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