Brands that fail to embrace and engage in online consumer dialog are set be among those most severely affected by an economic downturn, according to research conducted in the UK by E-consultancy, Logan Tod and immediate future (via Retailer Daily).

Some 64 percent of UK respondents surveyed said they would reduce their spending generally in view of the deteriorating economic climate, but 56 percent said that their online spending would not be affected – or would actually increase.

Consumers are turning online to find the best available prices as well as advice, the study found:

Price remains the major influencer, with 64 percent citing this as the most important factor when making an online purchase over the next 12 months.

62 percent of respondents said they are now more likely to consult reviews written by other web shoppers before buying.

Most (69 percent) search by product name when looking to purchase online, with brand names the next most searched for (43 percent).

Women are more inclined to reduce overall spending during the economic downturn, but they are more likely to consult online reviews than men (64 percent vs. 58 percent).

When comparing the different age groups, it is the “silver surfers” (age 55+), many of whom have paid off mortgages or enjoy higher disposable income, who are the least concerned about the economic situation: 43 percent said the economy would not affect their spending)

They are followed by the 16-24 age bracket: 37 percent wouldn’t change their spending levels.