The latest surveys and studies would have us believe that product recommendations are only happening in the online universe. Yet 4 in 10 consumers have shared advice or information from an online source in an in-person setting. According to a Synovate release, men (42.5%) are slightly more likely than women (39.3%) to participate in off-line information sharing.
While it’s generally accepted that younger consumers engage in more online activities such as writing reviews, writing blogs or sharing links, Synovate also found that these age groups share information at higher rates in the off-line world as well. For example, 49% of 18–24 year-olds report sharing information that they had obtained online in off-line and in-person settings. This method of information exchange drops to 35.4% for 45–54 year-olds. Younger consumers are also more likely to organize face-to-face meetings with others who share their interests or hobbies. In some cases, this includes face-to-face interactions for groups that may have originated in an online setting. Over 14.1% of 18–24 year-olds reported this type of activity. Participation levels like this steadily decline by age group, reaching their lowest level for 55–62 year-olds, at 3%.
What does all this mean for marketers? Younger consumers seem to be more connected to each other in both online and off-line formats. These various settings allow for information exchanges and therefore increase the likelihood that a product or service might be mentioned or recommended. Marketers wanting to increase word-of-mouth activity should strive to reach a high visibility of their products and services when it comes to younger consumer groups.[Source: Harnessing Active Brand Advocates, Emarketer, 1.10.10]