Do product reviews affect purchases?

How much do product reviews impact purchase intent?

Any marketplace seller knows that reviews play an integral part in maintaining a successful business, but how much do reviews actually influence a new customer’s decision to purchase a product?

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We recently conducted a study of 2,000 UK adults1, which found 83% prioritise looking at reviews before buying a product. In addition, a third (32%) place the most emphasis on the number of positive reviews before committing to a purchase. 

Taking a deeper look into the context of reviews, the study reveals consumers are most likely to refer to customer feedback to check the quality of a product (52%). Checking whether a company is trustworthy or could be a potential scam (50%) was also high up on the agenda. 

Which products are most impacted by positive reviews? 

According to YouGov2, when it comes to brand categories, mobile phone* and operator brands see the greatest correlation between positive recommendations and purchase intent. 

On the other hand, categories such as domestic appliances and online services (including websites and apps) see 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
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How important are star ratings?  

Our study shows over a fifth (21%) of consumers do focus on the star rating of a product, whilst 20% look mainly at negative reviews. Only a tenth (10%) of buyers said that they don’t consider reviews in their decision.

In terms of a product’s star rating, four in five (80%) said they wouldn’t purchase a product with a rating of less than three out of five stars, and 5% of consumers would only purchase a product with five-star reviews. 

How much will people spend before consulting customer reviews?  

For nearly one in three (29%) people, the minimum price required for them to consult reviews is £25-£50. Additionally, 18% of buyers will always consult reviews, regardless of the product price. 

Who is most likely to look at reviews? 

Women value reviews more than men, with nearly nine in ten (87%) female shoppers saying that customer feedback impacts where they buy from, compared to 78% of men. Additionally, women are almost twice as likely to always check reviews regardless of price, than men (23% vs 12%).

In terms of age, younger generations place the most value on reviews, with Millennials (26-34) being the most likely age bracket to use them to inform their decisions (92%), followed by Generation Z (89%).

In comparison, over 55s (74%) are the least likely to choose their product based on reviews. 

Kate Colclough, EMEA marketing director at WorldFirst, said: “Reviews are an incredibly important part of the buying experience for consumers, and it’s clear 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!”

 

Methodology and sources: 

[1] Survey conducted by Censuswide with 2,004 UK respondents. 

[2] YouGov BrandIndex research. Study of 523 UK brands, looking at the correlation between customer recommendations and purchase intent.

*Mobile phone is referred to as ‘phone handset’ on YouGov

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Jason Kaye
Experience: 10 years writing within the e-commerce, finance and tech landscapes
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