How product reviews impact what we buy

No primary category set

A new survey commissioned by WorldFirst reveals exactly how much product reviews influence customer decisions to buy products in the UK. 

More than four in five (83%) UK consumers surveyed as part of the study said that reviews impact their intention to purchase from a company, whilst almost a third (32%) place the most emphasis on the number of positive reviews. 

When it comes to the context of reviews, the study reveals consumers are most likely to refer to them to check the quality of a product (52%). Checking whether a company is trustworthy or could be a potential scam (50%) is also high on their agenda. 

Taking a deeper look at the product categories that are impacted the most by positive reviews, YouGov research of over 500 UK companies reveals mobile phone and operator brands see the greatest correlation between recommendations and decision to purchase, with Samsung Galaxy ranking as the top brand in this category.

Overall, when it comes to individual brands, mindfulness app Headspace sees the greatest correlation between intent to purchase and customer recommendations. This is an interesting contrast to the overall brand category of online services/ websites/ apps, which appears lower on the list. On the other hand, hotel and cruise operator Pontins sees the lowest correlation.

Brand categories where purchase intent is most impacted by positive reviews

  1. Mobile phones/operators
  2. Hotels/cruises
  3. High street retail
  4. Snack food
  5. Cosmetics/skincare
  6. Fast food/coffee shops/delivery services
  7. Pubs/bars
  8. Consumer electricals
  9. High street fashion
  10. General retail
  11. Domestic appliances
  12. Online services/websites/apps

So what are the elements that influence a purchase the most? 

The study found customers place the most value on the number of positive reviews (32%) to make their decision, followed by the star rating of a product (21%), and the number of negative reviews (20%). Only a tenth (10%) don’t consider reviews at all in their decision.

In terms of a product’s star rating, four in five (80%) customers won’t buy a product with a rating of less than three out of five stars, whilst 5% of shoppers will only purchase the best reviewed products with five stars. 

Product pricing also affects whether customers check reviews before buying. For nearly one in three (29%) people, £25-£50 is the price range where they will begin to check reviews. 

The research also demonstrates how much consumers in different parts of the country consult reviews.

Across the UK, shoppers in Brighton value reviews the most, with nearly three in ten (29%) always checking them regardless of product price.  Buyers in Edinburgh are the least likely to care about customer feedback, with only 10% always checking reviews before buying. 

UK cities most likely to always consider reviews regardless of the product price

  1. Brighton (29%)
  2. Glasgow (23%)
  3. Leeds (23%)
  4. Sheffield (23%)
  5. Southampton (22%)
  6. Norwich (21%)
  7. Bristol (19%)
  8. Manchester (19%)
  9. London (18%)
  10. Cardiff (16%)

The study also found that women value reviews more than men, with nearly nine in ten (87%) female shoppers saying that reviews affect whether they will buy from a company, compared to 78% of men. Additionally, women are almost twice as likely to always check reviews regardless of price, than men (23% vs 12%).

When it comes to age, younger generations value reviews the most, with Millennials (26-34) being the most likely group to use them to inform their decisions (92%), followed by Generation Z (89%). In comparison, over 55’s (74%) are the least likely to choose a product based on reviews.

Reviews are an incredibly important part of the buying experience for the majority of consumers, and this research clearly shows that large numbers of customers value positive reviews to inform their buying decisions.

This means that it’s vital for businesses to ensure that the customer experience is positive, providing a good quality service and good quality products. Positive feedback means consumers are more likely to return to you, and more likely to leave a good review, which will in turn help to attract new customers and increase business traffic.  “With this in mind, why not remind your customers to leave a review at the point of purchase, or follow up with an email requesting that they rate the product or experience. If you’re confident your customers are satisfied, a gentle nudge to give you a shoutout could go a long way!

– Kate Colclough, EMEA marketing director, WorldFirst


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