A new study has suggested that searches for details of retailers’ online reputations are rising among shoppers.

Conducted by MaCorr Research for 1&1 Internet, the survey of more than 1,000 North American consumers revealed that 80 per cent of shoppers go online to find out more about a retailer before buying a product from them.

User-generated content such as reviews and blog posts were found to be particularly valued by these consumers.

Oliver Mauss, chief executive of 1&1 Internet, said this could be indicative of consumers looking to sift through the vast amounts of internet marketing material on the web by turning to their peers for important information.

"At a time of online advertising overload, consumers clearly see great value in sharing their knowledge. This is perhaps contributing to their growing confidence to experiment with smaller online retailers," he commented.

Nine in ten UK web searches are based on brands rather than generic keywords, according to research findings published by Hitwise earlier this year.

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