Social Media Moves the Needle on Consumer Electronics Sales . / Credit: Consumer electronics products image via Shutterstock

If you're a consumer products retailer, the best way to influence heavy-duty users of social media is through online social networks, a new study shows. The majority (81 percent) of social media users use online social networks to find information to aid consumer electronics (CE) purchasing decisions.

The influence of these social media networks increases with usage, according to a study from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of consumers who use social media say they always or almost always refer to social media websites before they purchase a CE device, and 38 percent say reviews or comments by someone they know influenced their CE purchase decisions.

Those numbers jump dramatically among “high-engagement” social media users — those who spend more than 13.5 hours a week on social media sites — with 65 percent saying they always or almost always refer to social media websites before purchasing a CE device. Four in five users said reviews or comments on social media sites by someone they know influenced their CE purchase decisions.

[Who's more influential: Celebrities or bloggers?]

When it comes to advertisements and promotions, high-engagement social media users were also more likely (71 percent) than overall users (23 percent) to be influenced or strongly influenced by ads or promotions posted by a company on social media. Among all consumers who researched CE products on social media websites prior to their purchase, fewer than half (42 percent) searched for a coupon or discount on a social media website. However, more than half of high-engagement users (53 percent) searched for a coupon code or discount in social media prior to their purchase.

"CE manufacturers and retailers have an opportunity to reach interested consumers directly by growing their presence on social media sites," said Chris Ely, CEA's manager of industry relations. "When it comes to consumer electronics purchases, most high-engagement users are likely to follow or 'friend' a company due to special promotions, contests, entertainment or exclusive content."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.