That headline’s been true about young consumers and business people for a number of years. If your business doesn’t have a respectable and lively presence on the Internet (primarily in the form of a website ), young consumers and business people are almost guaranteed not to know you exist. They just don’t look anywhere else.
Now the Pew Internet study people have confirmed it’s becoming true for a growing number of Americans of all ages. Here’s the gist of their report:
The commercial use [My note: this is about buying products, not about casual use of social media sites, games, or videos] of the internet by American adults has grown since the mid-2000s, with 58% of Americans now reporting that they perform online research concerning the products and services that they are considering purchasing. That is an increase from 49% who said they conducted product or service research online in 2004.
The study doesn’t say it was careful about including all ages; they just say “age 18 and up.” But I can tell you, when my former neighbor, age somewhere in her late 70s, finally stopped resisting getting a computer, I knew there was a sea change in usage levels coming.
My friend’s been resisting for decades—though she’s a former teacher and will absolutely love to do the kind of research the Internet has finally made possible for all of us, though people have offered to help her learn, and though she’s invested many hours trying to teach herself using the library machines—she just couldn’t bring herself to commit to spending the money. And although she’s been having a great struggle learning, she’s determined now to make it work.
Think about it. Another intelligent customer out there with disposable income may be looking for your business on the web. How do your online credentials look? Do they present your business in its best light?