Online buying and selling go social too: welcome to the P2P economy

As you know, the buying process has changed a lot. People prepare their purchases using a vast array of information channels, including social media, blogs, web sites, peer reviews, etc., prior to actually buying something.

However, those are not the only social changes in the buying and selling process. 

In a report by the European research firm, InSites Consulting I read that 4 out of 10 European consumers search for information on brands and products via comparison, expert and user review sites.

The company sees more changes in online shopping but, as I will cover further, in online selling by consumers too. The factors that are influencing these changes include Web 2.0 and social media: social networking, conversing, sharing, tagging, content generation and community participation.

These activities have seriously influenced consumers’ buying behavior. The company calls it ‘DCC’: “discovery”, “comparison”, and “conversation”.

From e-commerce to we-commerce

Consumers are well connected and have a much wider range of tools available in the pre-buying phases, InSites says. The huge number of customer rating and review sites mean that e-commerce has become “we-commerce”, allowing consumers to evaluate brand alternatives before buying.

As said there is more: consumers are massively selling too and, again, social media play an important role here. 

InSites Consulting found that ever more European consumers are doing business with other consumers online. According to the company, this ‘P2P economy’ is the biggest market place that ever existed.

The survey found that in 12 months, 32% of European Internet users sold something to another Internet user via online classified or auction sites. 

14% even sold 4 or more items over the past year. Only Southern Europe is a little behind in comparison to other regions.

In total, InSites says, 1 out of 3 Internet users in Europe sell online. 

As I said, in the P2P economy, social media and communities play a big role. 

The research shows that online trade between consumers will continue to take place on a small scale in online communities, chat rooms, third-party consumers listing services, and web-based discussion forums.

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