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McClatchy-Tribune  06/19/2014 3:49 AM ET
Over half of real estate buys influenced by Internet research: Google [Mint, New Delhi :: ]

June 19--NEW DELHI -- Real estate developers side-stepping digital media to devote the bulk of their advertising spend for print and television, take note.

The Internet influences purchase decisions of more than half of home buyers, even though builders spend only 6-7% of their marketing and advertising budgets online, a Google India study found. By contrast, 75% of the budget is spent on print advertisements and the rest on TV and outdoor media.

The Google study is based on data from field research conducted by marketing research firm Zinnov between January and April.

The study said the overall influence of Internet on real estate transaction value of both residential and commercial property including rentals amounted to $43 billion, with $31 billion for residential and $12 billion for commercial properties.

"The phenomenon of researching online for real estate was not limited to metros but also extended to buyers in tier-2 cities," Google said.

The survey was conducted across 15 cities including Delhi and the National Capital Region, Mumbai, Pune, Lucknow, Jaipur, Indore, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Nagpur and Bangalore, with over 6,000 respondents.

Respondents mentioned Internet in the top three sources for information on real estate, with a fourth of them rating it as the top choice. Print media and sales and broker offices were the other top sources.

The study noted that 74% of online real estate research was focused on residential buying and 26% focused on residential renting.

"It is clear that Internet today, is emerging as the top destination for researching before finalizing any high value purchase and the consumer behaviour is no different for real estate purchases," said Nitin Bawankule, industry director, Google India. "Real estate queries on Google search have been growing consistently, registering over three times growth in the last three years. The rate of query growth is even higher for tier-2 cities and growing at over 350%. Our search query data shows that over 53% search queries are done with clear purchase intent."

"It is estimated that the real estate industry will grow to become a $140 industry billion by 2017 -- according to Ficci (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) -- and the Internet audience base is expected to reach over 450 million by then. There is tremendous opportunity for both online real estate aggregators, brokers and developers to engage buyers online by providing rich, meaningful and immersive experience to buyers on the Internet, including mobile-ready online assets, as the trends are consistent both in metro and tier-2 cities" he added.

In tier-1 cities over 57% buyers were influenced by online research, while in tier-2 cities the impact was around 48%.


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