PR pros know reporters want visuals and multimedia these days if they want their story covered—because they know imagery resonates with consumers. A new survey from visual content creation firm Splashlight confirms the appeal—U.S. consumers consider high-quality visual content from brands to be an increasingly important factor in purchase decisions when shopping online.

The survey asked U.S. consumers about their online shopping habits and found that a large number of respondents value the quality of a brand’s product images online over other factors including social media, branding, and product description.

The increased consumer demand for premium images and a variety of product shots has put a larger spotlight on advanced photography solutions.

Consumers say visuals are most important factor in online shopping

Highlights from the research:

Almost half (47 percent) of U.S. online consumers rate high quality product images as the most influential factor when considering a product purchase from a specific brand

Today, visual content reflects a company’s standards and aesthetic so brands must produce the highest quality of online images to move customers through the purchase funnel.

Brands should prioritize product photography over social media content

Given that more than a third (37.9 percent) of U.S. online consumers report social media content has little influence on their purchase decision and another third (33.7 percent) report that it has no influence, brands and retailers should focus more on scaling and elevating their online product photography, which is proven to generate more sales.

Half (50.5 percent) of U.S. online consumers would like to see a minimum of 3-5 product photos (front, back, side) before they consider making a purchase

Consumers value both the quantity of product images online, as well as the quality of visuals, per the survey. Further proof that one is never enough: findings from the survey report that for a quarter (26.5 percent) of consumers, 6+ minimum photos (Front, Back, Side, 360 deg., Close-up) are preferred before they consider making a purchase.

For the majority (51.7 percent) of U.S. online consumers, on-model photography may increase their chance of purchasing an item

Whether or not a brand presents its products on a model in a product shot can make or break a decision when it comes time for the consumer to click “purchase.” Survey findings show that brands should not rely only on still life images. On-model photography is more likely to increase online shoppers’ likelihood to buy.

Consumers say visuals are most important factor in online shopping

“The consumer survey confirms the needs from the leading retailers, luxury, fashion, jewelry and athletic brands we partner with—both quality and quantity of e-commerce product photography are the most crucial influencers to drive purchase decision,” said Camille Park, head of account management at Splashlight, in a news release. “Despite all of the buzz about social media advertising, as visual search and e-commerce become even more ubiquitous and widespread there is a real ROI for brands and retailers to scale and elevate their e-commerce product photography.”

Splashlight commissioned SHIFT Communications to survey U.S. online consumers through Google Surveys about consumer online shopping behaviors. The survey was completed by 1,512 respondents with a 95percent confidence level. The survey was weighted against the U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey for age, gender, and region of the United Statesto be representative of the population. Splashlight was the sole investor in the survey. The survey period was June 22, 2017 – July 1, 2017.

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