The forthcoming 2010 Social Shopping Study by PowerReviews shows a marked increase in consumer trust in and reliance on online product reviews. However, their trust isn’t blind—online consumers are also becoming more skeptical of those reviews, willing to take them with a grain of salt.
The majority of online consumers use reviews as research, and more people are reading more and more reviews. Reports MediaPost:
Results from the 2010 survey indicate that 57% of shoppers trust customer reviews as a research source along with other corroborating information, but 35% question whether they are biased. Factors that degrade trust in reviews suggest that 50% do not provide enough reviews to make an educated decision, 39% doubt they are written by real customers, and 38% said a lack of negative reviews or limited information. . . .
The survey indicates that consumers trust reviews more now than in 2007. About 41% of survey respondents said they read between four and seven reviews in 2010 before they felt comfortable with a purchase, down from 46% in 2007; 17% vs. 28% read between two and three; 27% vs. 17% read between eight and 15; 7% vs. 3% between 16 and 25, respectively.
Six in ten consumers research for a week or more before a purchase decision, though almost 30% only research a few hours. Although they don’t always believe what they read, credibility is one of the top reasons why people prefer to research online rather than talk to a sales associate. Nearly two in three consumers spend at least 10 minutes reading customer reviews.
The survey was conducted with over 1000 consumers who shop at least quarterly and spend at least $250 annually online.
What do you think? How can customer reviews help your clients (or you)?