DOOR-TO-DOOR visits were used to research shoppers’ trends before the arrival of the digital era.

But now, simply by looking at what shoppers are searching for online, companies and marketers get an accurate idea of what shoppers actually want and what they are concerned about.

Ryan Marx, CEO of CompareGuru, a site which draws on independent research to help consumers choose between products, said more shoppers have been spending their budgets on cellphones and connectivity.

“Now, shoppers across the board are ditching brand loyalty and the need to impress, in favour of value for money and usefulness. For example, South Africans also are clearly looking to avoid getting locked into lengthy mobile and broadband contracts,” said Marx.

The most popular search terms on the CompareGuru site are “cell phone deals”, “phone”, “mobile”, “cell phones” and “compare cell phones”.
When it comes to broadband, people searched for “internet”, “ADSL”, “broadband”, “ISP”, “dsl” and “broadband speed test”. Interestingly, some of the things people search for when landing on the CompareGuru site included “Telkom freeme”, “Uncapped LTE”, “Smartphones under R1 500”, “Vodacom deals or specials”, “Blackberry dtek50 South Africa” and “Telkom contract phones”.

Notably, the CompareGuru site appears on page one when shoppers plug in “compare cellphone deals” on Google Search. While this move towards value for money is immediately apparent in the online searches about cellphones and broadband, the theme carries over to banking and insurance products as well.

“Service providers and big name brands can no longer rely on their marketing allure and brand legacies to win a portion of spend. In today’s environment, products and services need to focus on functionality and value for money. Without these two core elements, consumers will happily move on to the next option,” said Marx.