Do Consumers Actually Trust Reviews? - eMarketer

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Do Consumers Actually Trust Reviews?

Most internet users say reviews are trustworthy, but also think unethical practices are frequent

December 23, 2014

Consumers don’t write online reviews to release anger. Instead, they keep it positive, according to a November 2014 study by YouGov. Among US internet users who posted online customer reviews, the top reason for doing so was to help others make better purchasing decisions, cited by 62% of respondents. Fully 35% shared because they thought it was polite to provide feedback, and around one-quarter wanted to let others know about their own good experience or make sure that good vendors got good business.

Reasons for Posting Online Consumer Reviews According to US Internet Users, by Age, Nov 2014 (% of respondents in each group)

Meanwhile, just 13% wanted to warn readers about a bad experience, and only 12% posted reviews to “expose” bad vendors. While this is good news for businesses that don’t provide the best customer service, it also means that those who do want good reviews need to work extra hard to please customers—not just do what they need to do to get by during the purchase process.

YouGov respondents claimed to view online reviews positively, with 86% saying they were trustworthy, but further questioning suggested they did indeed have negative feelings about online review practices today.

Unethical Online Consumer Review Practices Committed by Businesses According to US Internet Users, Nov 2014 (% of respondents)

Fully 64% of internet users said they thought individuals wrote online reviews without actually having purchased a product or service, and 68% believed businesses posted negative feedback about competitors’ products and services. Even more, a whopping 80% thought businesses wrote positive online reviews about themselves.

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