For instance, "The commercial use of the internet by American adults has grown since the mid-2000s, with 58% of Americans now reporting that they perform online research concerning the products and services that they are considering purchasing. That is an increase from 49% who said they conducted product or service research online in 2004."
How can this research help you, the etailer? Well, if you sell on Ebay or Amazon, or out of your own little e-commerce store, doing write-ups and your own reviews of other products you retail will help with SEO and Social Marketing. It is more likely that in the research, these clients will find YOU and your website, and love how well you explain a product, benefits and show photos or video. If the competitor does not do that, then you win the customer!
Also in the report, "Additionally, 24% of American adults say they have posted comments or reviews online about the product or services they buy, indicating a willingness to share their opinions about products and the buying experience with others.“Many Americans begin their purchasing experience by doing online research to compare prices, quality, and the reviews of other shoppers,” said Jim Jansen, Senior Fellow at the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and author of a new report about online product research. “Even if they end up making their purchase in a store, they start their fact-finding and decision-making on the internet.”"
So this means that you had better make a place for good discussion on your products (or services) with site visitors. Let them in on the conversation, learn from them and educate them. They are more likely to find your information responsible for the purchases they make with you.
Here is a link to the REPORT