Contact: Maclaren Latta
Vice President of Consumer Insights
BOZEMAN, Mont. — The Fear of Missing Out is more than a pop-culture acronym. Particularly among Millennials, FOMO is an actual diagnosable thing. Then there’s the fear of feeling stupid or disappointed. Needless to say, fear is a real, powerful emotion, and it can profoundly affect behavior.
MERCURYcsc examined the relationship between fear and trust among consumers in the Travel and Outdoor industries in the latest edition of The Pulse. We wanted to know where these consumers turned to for advice and why.
Consumer Report online reported that 90 percent of consumers read online user reviews. A recent Phocuswright study reported that reading TripAdvisor makes 83 percent of travelers more confident in their decision-making. We wanted to know why.
We turned to our Think T+O™ Forum, a proprietary panel of more than 1,500 Experience Seekers from all over the world. For eight years we’ve studied this demographic, and we know them well. The Experience Seeker, also known as the Geotraveler, travels and buys more outdoor gear than the average consumer. They are insatiably curious, educated and independent. But do reading online reviews make them more confident when choosing what to buy?
What we learned was that the greater the investment, the greater the fear the Experience Seeker has about making a poor purchasing choice. Experience Seekers are not only insatiably curious but they have a strong desire to trust others. This combination of fear and trust is what drives them to seek advice. Research and knowledge is their defense against a poor decision.
"I seek out advice from store employees since I am not an expert, and I want to make sure I better understand what I am buying. In addition, I want to make sure I am not missing something that I missed when doing research on my own."
- Michael, Chicago, IL
Here’s a look at some of our insights by the numbers.
In terms of Travel:
- 97 percent read online user reviews before traveling to a new leisure destination.
- 84 percent typically ask someone they’ve never met for local advice when they travel somewhere new.
In terms of Outdoor gear:
- 73 percent typically read at least one online review when thinking about purchasing Outdoor gear.
- 71 percent will read at least three online reviews before making a decision.
- 70 percent will still end up purchasing their Outdoor gear in a retail store.
Experience Seekers utilize all of the information at their disposal but still value personal relationships and prefer to connect with certain local retailers and trusted service providers. The full report, available for download, offers more insights and recommendations to help marketers communicate effectively with their customers.MERCURYcsc, located in Bozeman, Mont., is an integrated communications agency that connects brands to people who value the outdoors, travel, and a sense of place. The Pulse is a quarterly report. If you found this Pulse insightful, check out our past Pulse reports on camping and unplugging while on vacation