Survey shock: people don’t follow through

Saw this on an article about how HDTV is still too complicated and difficult for the average person:

In a fall 2004 study, her company found that about 10 percent of consumers planned to buy an HDTV in the following six months. In such a study, researchers would normally expect about 7 percent to actually make a purchase. Only about 3 percent did, she said.

The reason: people are overwhelmed by options, choices, resolutions, technologies, and hookups. Here’s the story.

This confirms a few things I’ve been thinking lately.

But the more interesting thing is this: the survey/reality quotient sound bit from Frank Magid Associates, a public opinion, research, and consulting outfit in NY, LA, London and, improbably, Marion, Iowa.

The stat sounds similar to what I’ve been told: about 70% of people who say they’ll buy something in a survey actually will. But the reality (in this case) sounds close to what I’ve actually experienced: 30%.

This is hugely important, of course, when you’re launching a new product and spend $30,000 on market research.

How do you interpret your results? Do you have to research the research? What multiplier do you put on the percentage of people who say they’ll buy your widget?

Tough questions.

Lowest is fiscally safe, but not necessarily smartest.