DoubleClick in conjunction with comScore has released a new report today, Search Before the Purchase (6 pages; PDF), that looks at 12 weeks of pre-purchase search engine usage. Summary and methodology are available here.
The study, which analyzes pre-purchase search activity across four categories (Apparel, Computer Hardware, Sports & Fitness and Travel), showed that roughly half of all online shoppers conducted related research at a search engine before making an online purchase.
+ Many buyers complete their relevant search activity well in advance of purchase
+ The majority of pre-purchase search activity (both searches and clicks) involves generic terms
+ Branded terms dominate search activity closer to the purchase