Ireland-based social media agency Simply Zesty released some stats recently which were picked up by Mashable on how social networking is growing in the UK. Check out their video below. I picked up on a few nuggets from the release that will be of particular interest to people seeking to understand how the Internet is changing consumer purchasing behaviours:

  1. Majority are Researching Purchases Online – 85% of the UK is now online, with 78% of UK Internet users look online for information about goods and services before they purchase. That’s 40.7 million people searching for products and services online.
  2. Most Trusted Source of Information is Other Individuals – 33% of people trust online banner ads, whereas 70% trust online recommendations from strangers (Wow!) and 90% trust the recommendations from people the know.
  3. Best Source of Leads is Social Recommendations – Social media is the number one pastime in the UK with 49% of the population having visited a social network site at least once in the past month. A person coming from a social media site is 10 times more likely to make a purchase than an average visitor.

Lessons? Your customers are online researching your products and services before they buy. They are largely ignoring your advertisements and are relying on the collective wisdom of the crowd and of their friends. They are connecting with others online via social networking sites; primarily Facebook. Your customers and your employees are your best advocates. They are active online. Get them working for you!

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZHSZY8S9mA]