When customers shop online, they want immediate responses and will settle for nothing else. That is according to a new report released by Lithium Technologies.

The report was compiled from survey data captured online via a Harris Poll in April that comprised of more than 2,100 American adults. The report sheds light on how the Internet may be changing the country’s expectations and consumer behaviors. The survey covered a broad spectrum of online behaviors and attitudes, exposing what Americans want from their online experiences and the brands with which they do business online.

“We know we are living in an age of extreme expectations,” Rob Tarkoff, President and CEO of Lithium, said in a release. “This comprehensive survey gives us a snapshot of those expectations today. Any company or brand that thinks it knows how to market, sell, or service in this era of extreme expectations should pay close attention to this data and others like it. Customers today are fundamentally changed− brands will have to change with them.”

Here are some key takeaways from the comprehensive study:

  • Americans overwhelmingly rely on the Web to research big purchases
    • 81% use any online source to research a big purchase
    • Two in three Americans (67%) use two or more online sources for their research
    • Nearly one in 10 (9%) of 18-34-year-olds use six or more sources!
    • Two-thirds of Americans (67%) tend to call an “800” or toll-free number for help as a last resort
    • Consumers are going online to request help on a product or service and want responses fast
    • Almost nine in 10 (87%) have ever requested help online
    • Two-thirds (66%) expect a same-day response to their online request
    • 43% expect a response within an hour
    • 14% expect a response in a lightning fast five minutes or less
    • People may be more likely to go online to praise than complain
  • 61% of Americans disagree that they are more likely to go online to complain about a product or service than to praise it
    • Younger Americans seem to complain at higher rates than older Americans
  • 35-44-year-olds are more likely than those age 45+ to go online to complain than to praise (46% vs. 35%, respectively)
  • Americans give Internet a fundamental place in their lives--and are fairly evenly split on whether to give up good sex or good Internet if forced to choose
  • 48% of Americans would give up good sex; 52% would give up good Internet
    • But age and gender seem to play a role in how Americans responded to this question
      • 57% of U.S. women would give up good sex versus only 40% of U.S. men who would do so

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