In early 2019, HubSpot Research partnered with SurveyMonkey to conduct new research on social media preferences and buying preferences. We used SurveyMonkey Audience to ask over 2,700 consumers in Colombia, France, Germany, Mexico, Spain, the UK and the U.S. questions on how they buy.

This report highlights the fascinating differences we've discovered in buying preferences worldwide.

For data on how people feel about social media, check out SurveyMonkey's summary here.

Keep reading to learn some of the buying trends we observed through our research.

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1. Consumers share the products they love -- a lot!

At HubSpot, we believe happy customers are core to any businesses' success. Delighted customers help speed up a business' flywheel by sharing their positive experiences with friends and peers, and those word-of-mouth reviews matter most to people who are making purchasing decisions.

Our study found that over half of consumers tell friends and family about their favorite products at least once a week or more.

Consumers in Latin America are especially big on sharing -- 78% of consumers based in Colombia and Mexico tell friends and family about products they like at least once a week, and 23% share their favorites every day!

2. Consumers trust word of mouth the most.

You might be wondering -- how do people find out about products or services to begin with?

Ultimately, we found friends, family, and Google to be the top discovery sources for new products or services overall. In Latin America especially, we see a considerable influence from online channels for product discovery, including Google, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

Friends and family top the list as the most trustworthy source for discovering new products or services overall. Consumers prefer having real life experiences and examples from people they know well to inform their buying decisions.

When cut by region, we once again see Latin American consumers' preference for online channels -- not only do they use Google and Youtube to discover new things, but they typically trust those platforms, as well.

3. Expectations are low, which means great experiences matter.

Our findings reveal people are highly likely to share insights about products they love to friends and family, and that friends and family are the most trusted source of information for buying. From that information alone, it's clear what businesses should do -- focus on delighting their customers with great products and/or services.

Unfortunately, very few people believe it when they hear businesses say they "solve for the customer". There's clearly a gap that businesses who are determined to delight customers can fill.

Consumers have low expectations when it comes to customer experience, so businesses that make the effort can differentiate themselves and add further momentum to their business's flywheel. Consider beloved companies like LL Bean, Nordstrom, and -- they have devoted customers thanks to the superior service they provide.

4. Social is a major discovery channel for young consumers.

Despite the bad press, and even mixed feelings about social media's impact on society across generations, our data shows that social media sites like YouTube and Twitter are still major discovery channels for Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X. In fact, consumers ages 18 to 29 are nearly eight times more likely to discover new products from Instagram, compared to consumers aged 61 or older.

5. Videos and your website are both crucial for brand engagement.

Video is still the top type of content people want to see from businesses, which is consistent with our research from 2017. Incredibly, this preference spans all locations and most age ranges.

In terms of where people go to learn about a brand, the official company website is the key property that everyone visits to get information. It's critical you ensure your business' website is easy to navigate and your content is up-to-date.

Additionally, make sure your business's website clearly articulates the value that you can provide, along with clear next steps on how to engage with a sales rep or make a purchase.


The survey was conducted using SurveyMonkey Audience and was based on 2,700 responses. The sample was balanced by age and gender and representative of an employed adult online population in The United States, UK, Mexico, Colombia, France, and Spain.

state of marketing

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Originally published Apr 26, 2019 7:00:00 AM, updated February 18 2020