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BizReport : Social Marketing : December 05, 2008

Online reviews usage peaks on Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday

Consumers turned to online reviews in large numbers in the run up to Black Friday, found Bazaarvoice, peaking during the evening of Thanksgiving Day and again on Cyber Monday.

by Helen Leggatt

bazaarvoice logo.gifFurther evidence, as if it were needed, that online reviews play a major role in consumer online buying decisions comes via Bazaarvoice's latest data gathered from almost 300 retailer and manufacturer websites.

Bazaarvoice served more than 1.2 billion user-generated product reviews, answers, and stories over the course of Thanksgiving Week. Findings revealed a spike in usage of reviews, answers and stories at 9.45pm EST on Thanksgiving Day.

Recent e-tailing group research found that nearly three-quarters of consumers intend to research products online prior to making a purchase. Bazaarvoice's reported peak on Thanksgiving appears a good illustration of this statistic as consumers logged on in search of Black Friday bargains.

"Research released by Forrester in October showed that the number of U.S. adults who read product reviews has nearly doubled in the past year," said Brett Hurt, founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice.

"People have learned how to shop by reviews - and in a season where people are carefully considering each purchase, reviews are at the forefront of the online and offline shopping experience.

Usage of online reviews peaked again on Cyber Monday and total review impressions were up 132% from the 71 million served over Cyber Monday last year. At one point, Bazaarvoice served 4,500 impressions every second, a record for the company.

Online shoppers increasingly expect to find reviews, stories and answers on retailer and manufacturer sites, as much as they do product images and detailed descriptions. For SMBs, adding reviews provides the opportunity to demonstrate they are every bit as reputable as larger outfits.

"Today's savvy retailers, regardless of size, understand the need for customer reviews to create a shopping experience their customers can trust," said Andy Chen, CEO of PowerReviews.

Tags: Bazaarvoice, Black Friday, customer reviews, Cyber Monday, online reviews, online shopping, user reviews, user-generated reviews

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