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GroupM Next study illuminates evolving role of digital in the consumer journey

30 May, 2013

GroupM Next

Research sheds light on Amazon’s increasing influence in the purchase pathway

ST. LOUIS — A comprehensive study conducted by GroupM Next of the modern digital consumer journey revealed six segments exist of consumers who exhibit similar behaviors and intent, the company announced today. Other trends of significance that emerged include the growing importance of Amazon as a purchasing influencer, representing one-third of all retail site visits in purchase pathways, and the important role the brand website plays as a destination for 69% of purchasers in their digital journey.

These insights are a part of a research initiative from GroupM Next to better understand how consumers continue to incorporate digital media into their purchase process, exploring which sites and technology consumers use in the process of making both online and in-store purchases – and why. Conducted together with Compete, a Kantar company, the research examined the digital components in pathways of more than 168,000 consumer electronics purchases, and surveyed purchasers to better understand their intent. The full white paper, “The Digital Consumer Journey,” can be accessed online.

“Forty-eight percent of purchases studied were heavily influenced by digital media and technology,” said Chris Copeland, CEO of GroupM Next. “This research is valuable for providing brands and marketers with directional insights. It’s an obvious signal to brands that the shift among consumers in their usage of digital continues in dramatic ways, and that investments, both in media and content, will continue to be strategic business imperatives,” said Copeland.

The Six Types of Digital Consumers
Of consumers who utilized digital at least once in their purchase pathway, six distinct segments emerged. The segments, as identified by GroupM Next, are:

» Digitally Driven Segment
» Calculated Shoppers
» Basic Digital Consumers
» Retail Scouts
» Brand Scouts
» Eternal Shoppers

One particular segment to note is the Digitally Driven Segment. These consumers use nearly every digital tool available – search, retail websites, brand websites, portal sites, mobile, social and local.


Thirty percent of shoppers in this segment visit a branded social media page on Twitter or Facebook, the most of any of the six segments.

When taken in aggregate these six segments provide a view of the next-generation version of what was once as simple as awareness to consideration to purchase. Because of this, marketers cannot treat all digital consumers the same. They have to be aware that pathways will change over time and new ones are likely to develop.

“With the significant consumer shift to mobile devices and tablets there is an emerging power shopping class that will not behave like anything we have seen before,” stated Copeland. “The segments of greatest prominence today are tethered to the desktop and we project that will not be the case within 24 months, maybe even sooner.”

Other key insights into the digital purchase pathways of consumers include:

» Amazon is included in 17% of digital pathways leading to a purchase, translating to one of every three consumers going to Amazon at some point in their pathway.
» Consumers are just as likely to use Amazon as a point of research as they are to use it as a retail site.
» Purchase pathways differentiate in terms of behavioral factors as opposed to demographics.

The research also sheds new light on the defining variables in digital purchase pathways. The data shows the consumer’s journey itself is the deciding factor in a purchase, as opposed to, for example, the ticket price of the item. Because each of the six digital consumer journeys is unique, they all have different buying triggers – behavior that brands should integrate into their digital marketing strategies.

For additional insights into the six segments of consumer journeys, an infographic is available at or upon request.

About GroupM Next
GroupM Next is the forward-looking innovation unit of GroupM, the world’s largest global media investment management group that is the parent company to WPP media service agencies Maxus, MEC, MediaCom and Mindshare, as well as Catalyst and Xaxis. Together with GroupM agencies, GroupM next focuses on the curation and application of insight-focused solutions across online, social, mobile and addressable channels. Through thought leadership, technology, research and education, GroupM next delivers data-driven actionable insights and a clear path to action to help GroupM agencies and their clients harness the right opportunities made possible in the digital technology and new media industry environments with speed and relevance. Access our work and discover our perspective at  

Cindy Kerber Spellman, GroupM Next, +1 347-891-1587; Email:

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