Online Reviews Influence Travel-Related Purchases in the UK - eMarketer

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Online Reviews Influence Travel-Related Purchases in the UK

Travelers rate reviews in the UK

June 29, 2015

Online reviews help inform more UK consumers than ever. According to an April 2015 survey from GfK for the UK government’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA), 54% of UK adults ages 16 and older used online reviews to get product or service information.

UK Consumers Who Use Online Reviews to Obtain Information About Products/Services, by Age, April 2015 (% of respondents in each group)

That percentage would have been higher were it not for the less-digitally engaged over-55s—the two age groups below that cohort both saw response rates of 61%.

The study covered six sectors, and respondents were also asked if they purchased or planned to purchase a product or service after reading an online review, breaking down response rates by these sectors.

UK Consumers Who Purchased/Planned to Purchase a Product/Service After Reading an Online Review, by Category, April 2015 (% of respondents)

While online reviews were not all that likely to lead directly to a purchase or purchase intent, the category where such intent was greatest was travel and hotels. Of respondents who looked at reviews in this category, almost a quarter (24%) said they would buy or planned to buy such a service afterward. The proportion of those who viewed electronic items and then planned to buy wasn’t too far behind, at 18%, but the response rates for the other four categories were all well back.

Sources that Influenced UK Internet Users When Booking a Leisure Trip, by Demographic, Jan 2015 (% of respondents in each group)

January 2015 research from BDRC Continental gave some indication of who was driving this kind of behavior. It found that UK internet users ages 20 to 34 (millennials) were much more likely to be influenced by review sites when booking a leisure trip than any other age group. Websites more generally were cited as the most influential source among all age groups, even for this youngest cohort—at 49% of millennial respondents. However, while much lower proportions of 35- to 54-year-olds and over-55s said they were influenced by social media (including review sites), fully 40% of millennials said they were swayed by such sites.

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