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Thursday 2 October 2014

Young more likely to look down on poor spelling and grammar online

Jennifer O'Mahony

Published 10/12/2012 | 11:33

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Young people are more likely to judge poor grammar and spelling on websites than older internet users, a survey has found.

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Research conducted by computer firm IBM shows that 40pc of those aged 18-24 are influenced by poor spelling and grammar compared with 35pc on average across all age categories.

The findings indicate that in an age of endless consumer choice online, young people are more naturally demanding when it comes to more traditional markers of quality as well as making the greatest use of the internet for research.

Young adults are twice as likely to use social media for research as the 35-44 age bracket, for example, with 18pc of 18-24 year-olds saying they would use Twitter or Facebook to consult internet friends and followers when buying a house or car.

Just 1pc of the over 55s would use social networks to inform themselves in this way.

The survey of 2,000 individuals shows that consumers are becoming more analytical in the way they make decisions, naturally filtering information and making quick comparisons to make judgements in all areas of their lives.

More than 60pc of consumers think the internet and social media has made decision-making easier than five years ago, with radio and television now considered to be five times less influential than online sources for large purchases.

Just 11pc of consumers would use radio or television to make a decision about buying a house, compared with 64pc for online review sites and 62pc who would consult friends or family.

The research indicates that on average consumers now value online opinions on review sites just as much as those of friends and family, and in the 45 to 54 bracket 70pc would trust online reviews compared with 64pc trusting loved ones.

Almost a third of parents consult parenting websites before choosing schools for their child, and a new generation of analytical consumers is more likely to use online data sources to make decisions, with 39pc of 25-34 year olds saying that they would visit a site such as Mumsnet before choosing a school.

"This research shows that, rather than struggling to deal with information overload, modern consumers are proactively using the abundance of data sources available to them to be more savvy about the decisions they make,” said Vivian Braun, consumer analytics expert at IBM.

"In particular, the upcoming generation of consumers are very comfortable with jumping between multiple sites and forums, polling opinion and cross-referencing information to research everything from their latest music download to their next job."

She added: "Ultimately, as consumers get more analytical, so must the companies and organisations they interact with."

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