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BizReport : Research archives : April 16, 2009

84% of Americans influenced by online customer reviews

More research is out this week that shows the impact that online customer reviews have on consumers' buying decisions.

by Helen Leggatt

Consumers are increasingly turning to online customer reviews to help them make buying decisions, according to the latest survey from Opinion Research Corporation. A large proportion, 84%, said that browsing reviews influenced their decision on whether or not to purchase a product or service.

However, the findings suggest that a "vocal minority" are leaving feedback and swaying consumer opinions and only 28% of respondents had posted their own reviews.

What is more interesting is that half of respondents turned to online customer reviews early on in the decision-making process. "This is critical for companies to understand as they fight to be considered by consumers and look for ways to be ever-present through a variety of channels and media outlets," said Linda Shea, SVP and Global Managing Director of Opinion Research Corporation's Customer Strategies Practice.

"Taking a more proactive approach to participating in, monitoring and controlling online reviews may very well be one of the many ways organizations can influence both consumer consideration, and, ultimately, the buying decision."

Food, personal care and clothing were all items that have seen an increase in online investigation during 2008, found the survey, as consumers continue to budget in the face of financial worries.

Tags: buying decision, consumer opinion, feedback, online customer reviews, Opinion Research Corporation

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