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BizReport : Social Marketing : October 02, 2007

Online consumers turn to user reviews

Many online consumers take notice of user reviews, found a recent study, and their purchasing decisions are becoming increasingly dependent on them.

by Helen Leggatt

deloitte%20logo.gifIn a Deloitte & Touche survey of over 3,300 U.S. consumers, aged 17 and over, over 60 percent said they read online user reviews. Of that 62 percent, over 80 percent claimed to have been “directly influenced” by online reviews and had made their decision to buy, or not to buy, based on that information.

Not all those whose decisions were affected by user reviews were in the younger age categories. While the percentages were higher in the lower age ranges, the survey found that people of all ages referenced online reviews to aid in their buying decisions. User reviews were also passed on by word of mouth, increasing their influence beyond the Internet.

Online retailers are also beginning to recognize the importance of user reviews. According to a recent e-Consultancy study, the “Social Commerce Report”, over a quarter of online retailers already provided user reviews on their websites, and more than half were planning to do so in the future.

“In the past, clever marketers and advertisers shaped brands, but now consumers are increasingly empowered, everyone has a voice, and information and opinions are instantly dispersed,” said Pat Conroy, vice chairman and US consumer products group leader at Deloitte & Touche USA LLP. “Consumer product companies need to determine how best to capitalize on this new landscape. Clearly, there will be consequences for those who don’t.”

Tags: social marketing, user reviews, user-generated content

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