Survey: Consumers Trust The Internet More Than Friends And Family

Surveys. Boy, how we love surveys. You never really know what people will say or how they'll react to a crazy question, but it's oftentimes hilarious to see the results. A survey taught us that people prefer airport Wi-Fi to good airport food selections (hey, we can't argue!), and now a survey has found that consumers trust the Internet more than their own friends and family. Wait, really?!

The Digital Influence Index  event, presented by Fleishman-Hillard International in partnership with Harris Interactive, is to thank for this crazy revelation, as it found that "for the average UK consumer, the Internet outweighs all other channels in terms of influencing purchasing decisions." Involuntary interactions are also trusted - such as companies who use Twitter to monitor and respond to consumer issues.

The Digital Influence Index was the subject of a presentation and panel discussion last week about social media and its impact on a variety of industries. The panel explored how social media has changed the landscape for how consumers interact with brands and organizations and explored everything from the revitalization of the National Health Scheme and Mommy blogger product endorsements, to voter activation during the recent UK election and managing an online crisis via social media. It's not too surprising to learn that the Internet has become a go-to place for information, and people are generally more trusting of the online think-tank than their own friends, relatives or print media publications. A few of the key findings are below, but here's the primary one. Next time your friend asks you about something, now you don't have to feel bad about saying "Just Google It!"

The Key UK Consumer Findings of the Digital Influence Index Include:

    *     In the U.K., 36 percent of online consumers do not read magazines and 33 percent do not read a printed newspaper.
    *     The internet is absolutely or very important when making decisions to almost 30% of online consumers, more than twice as much as TV (13%).
    *     53% of internet users in the U.K. think that others share too much personal information.
    *     Only 9% of Internet users in the U.K. are concerned about the impact their social media activities could have on their career, compared to over half in China.
    *     Only about half of Internet users in the U.K are comfortable that a company would monitor a person's Twitter account and respond to issues expressed by customers. This is the lowest level of comfort of all studied countries.

The study also measures several key aspects of consumers' use of the Internet, from media consumption patterns, to the degree of adoption of various digital behaviours, to involvement with online social networking. Now in its second year, the Index has expanded to include 48 percent of the global online population, spanning France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Japan and the United States.

"Our survey provides overwhelming evidence that the Internet is at the center of the decision-making process of consumers," said Dave Senay, Fleishman-Hillard president and chief executive officer. "It suggests, definitively, that marketers who do not have end-to-end strategies which put digital influence at the center of their marketing plans are doing so at their own peril. Marketers who 'get it' will be able to leapfrog their competitors who don't." The Digital Influence Indexreveals the following nine key insights into the Internet's global influence on consumers' lives:

1. Funding Gap: Globally, digital dominates in influence but not marketing dollars spent. The Internet is by far the most important medium in the lives of consumers, but companies continue to underinvest in their online marketing efforts.

2. On the Edge: Chinese Internet users are more advanced, but are early adopters, with room to grow. Although the Internet is the most important medium in all countries, it plays an even more critical role in China, home to the world's largest and fastest-growing population of online consumers.

3. Beyond Mainstream: Digital is core to decisions -- for research, purchases and peer influence. The Internet plays an integral role in the decision-making process.

4. Too Much Information (TMI): Online oversharing of personal information isn't just a bore, but a rising threat, as well. As more users embrace social media and generate content, a consensus is emerging -- people share too much personal information, and too little of it is particularly interesting.

5. Cautiously Trusting: People trust the Internet most when they have multiple sources -- and a friend is one of them.

6. Pay to Play Doesn't Play: Trust in bloggers for hire remains weak. Across all countries studied, Internet users report a lack of trust in content produced by sponsored or paid bloggers.

7. Real-Time Trust: Microbloggers trust companies that listen and respond in real time. Users who have adopted microblogging tend to trust companies that monitor their online activity. They seem to view this online listening as a sign that organizations care about their needs and want their feedback.

8. Mobility Gap: As apps multiply and speeds increase, mobile users snap up smartphones -- but realize only a fraction of their potential. Although mobile Internet use is growing, a significant gap exists between the capabilities available to mobile phone users and the number of individuals who actually take advantage of them.

9. Where to From Here?: As Internet use continues to grow, will its influence grow, too? Depends who you ask. As important as the Internet is now, will its consumer influence continue to grow in the future? The answer varies from country to country ... but in China it is a resounding "yes!"

To download a complimentary copy of the Digital Influence Index study, and read in-depth analysis on all nine insights, please visit 

Via:  PR Web
AKwyn 4 years ago

It's to be expected, many people on the internet have tried these things, written guides on them and even shot videos on them so it's not surprising. Many of their friends or family might of read about it but done it once but these people on the internet detail the risks and give you very, very detailed instructions. It's not even that, the Internet is full of helpful people that can help you with any problem big or small, depending on where the area of interest is of course. There's even forums for basically every subject where you can communicate with people of a particular subject, it's like always finding people you can relate too.

There are many reasons people trust people on the internet then their friends or family, they're especially helpful. Even when you ask people on Twitter, they're very helpful too.

acarzt 4 years ago

Usually the stuff i'm going to buy, my friends and family do not have any information on such things.

Even still I do all my own research, I look up reviews, read customer reviews, get as many details on the product as I possibly can, and I try to see it in person before purchase.

There are many more opinions online with hands on experience vs your friends and family who may have limited experience. Or they have a "I heard from some one...." That's not that helpful lol

AKwyn 4 years ago

Well it's obvious that shopping was left out on the survey, everybody goes on the internet nowadays to compare.

Anyways, if the person you're talking about is not familiar with the stuff you're talking about then you're bound to go onto the internet.

until240 4 years ago

You really want that computer, huh.

Inspector 4 years ago

Until, its called being part of the community...

But the survey dosn't lie. When ever i hear somthing, i just got to look it up and seemfor myself. The internet knows all! :)

But then there are times you just have to trust your friends and family...

Kyouya 4 years ago

ugh, whatever happen to the common saying of 'Don't believe everything you read on the Internet'? To think people would trust the internet more than friends and just quite sad..

sackyhack 4 years ago

Little melodramatic don't you think?  The survey's points on family and info is interesting but hardly surprising.  My dad can build a porch with his eyes closed, but he calls all mp3 players and smartphones "ipods", and gets completely baffled by the difference between blu rays and dvds.  It's not that I don't trust him, but when I want info on some piece of tech, I'm gonna google it, not ask him.  My mom is running a court law library by herself and basically has been managing our family's finances for years (successfully).  But if I ask her which sound system I should get for my tv, she'll probably respond "but you already have a tape player".   I'd trust them with my life, but if I'm gonna buy something outside of their realm of knowledge I'm obviously going to look up reviews and compare prices online.

AKwyn 4 years ago

With all of the things that can be found on the internet, it can be the other way around. One person might be familiar with tech but would not know about the other stuff so what do you do, you google it. Sure many old people don't know about tech but it doesn't mean we should state the obvious.

AKwyn 4 years ago

[quote user="Kyouya"]

ugh, whatever happen to the common saying of 'Don't believe everything you read on the Internet'? To think people would trust the internet more than friends and just quite sad..


Because that only applies to rumors, conspiracy theories and internet videos that claim you can get free stuff. So If you're the one looking for those things then it's quite sad indeed. However I'm not the one looking for those things so I find the survey acceptable and I have no problem with it.

acarzt 4 years ago

[quote user="Kyouya"]

ugh, whatever happen to the common saying of 'Don't believe everything you read on the Internet'? To think people would trust the internet more than friends and just quite sad..


Well in the same sense that you shouldn't believe everything you read on the internet.... you also should believe everything you see on tv... or hear on the radio... etc. etc. That message is to use common sense. If it seems unrealistic... it's because it's probably not true.

At the same time, you can't just blindly follow your family/friends opinions on products... It's an opinion. I'd rather see collective opinions and hard facts and collect information and make the decision I feel most comfortable with.

acarzt 4 years ago

Exactly Sacky... Sometimes our family and friends don't have all of the answers.

For tech advice my family comes to me because they know I keep up with this stuff. They're not gonna ask me for medical advice and the such tho... I don't know enough about that stuff.

ClemSnide 4 years ago

If only Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme had trusted the Internet instead of her "family," she might not have had to spend all that time in jail.

realneil 4 years ago

Good one Clem,.......but the internet was just a gleam in Al Gore's eye back then,........

When I put my trust in an internet source, it's because they have proven over time that they know what they're talking about. I read my reviews all of the time, even when I'm not in the market for something. Over time, I've chosen sites to trust, and also some that I feel are just trying to sell you whatever the 'flavor of the day' is and I don't trust their judgement. I've worked out who has the better prices and who doesn't. I've worked hard to cut through all of the BS that is out there and I've succeeded too.

I have friends and family that have their act together in their own areas of expertise and I respect that and make use of their knowledge too.

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