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At the moment, search engines are still by far the most popular go-to point when consumers are looking for more information about a product or brand. Almost 50% of internet users use them for this reason, compared to 30%-40% who would turn to consumer review sites, price comparison services, social networks or brand websites.

However, look at the figures by age and there’s clear evidence for how online search behaviors are changing. For search engines, usage increases in line with age – with figures peaking at 60% among the oldest bracket. In contrast, it’s the younger groups who are mostly likely to turn to social networks. In fact, 16-24s (35%) are over twice as likely to do this as 55-64s (17%).

Although search engines retain the lead across all generations, it’s clearly important that the gap is now relatively small for today’s youngest digital consumers. And as global leader Facebook introduces its new M feature on Messenger (which will allow users to search for products via voice command), you have to wonder whether social networks might soon take the lead.

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