Why do consulting or analyst firms announce results of consumer surveys that show “reviews influence consumer shopping” as though this is either a) a revelation or b) new information. Deloitte is the latest to point out this near-self evident piece of information:
Over half of all U.S. consumers and 69 percent of Millennials believe that online customer reviews and ratings influence their buying decisions more than any other type of online advertising, and 51 percent have purchased products based on an online recommendation. In fact, 24 percent of U.S. consumers would like to have an online service that recommends a product based on other consumers’ preferences.
According to the survey, one-quarter of U.S. consumers are socializing online almost every day and nearly 60 percent currently maintain a social networking site, up from 48 percent last year. The connections maintained over social networks provide powerful sources for trusted recommendations.
Reviews are like word of mouth. Consumers see it as unbiased, whereas advertising is viewed with suspicion.
In fairness to Deloitte, they were comparing the influence of different “mediums” in a kind of hierarchy.
Here’s a great deal more on ad types/media and consumer trust from a massive Nielsen survey: