Survey: Negative online reviews change 80 percent of shoppers’ minds

By on August 30, 2011, 3:30 PM

A new survey finds that four out of five consumers have reversed purchase decisions based on negative reviews found on the net. The study comes from market analysis firm Cone Inc.’s 2011 Cone Online Influence Trend Tracker.

89 percent of consumers find online channels trustworthy sources for product and service reviews. We recently published a story regarding fake online product reviews and in that article, a Cornell study suggested the average person can only detect fake reviews about half the time. I’m not drawing any conclusions between the two studies, other than to simply use caution when reading from a non-trustworthy source.

Other survey-related data indicates that 87 percent of consumers said a favorable review has confirmed their decision to purchase a product. Additionally, consumers are 85 percent likely to open their wallets when they can find online recommendations to support offline advice they have received from family or friends.

Researching a big ticket item before purchase is becoming more popular. Americans are nearly 20 percent more likely to research recommended expensive purchases than they were a year ago (89 percent versus 72 percent). Almost 60 percent of respondents reported that they are likely to research a product because they can easily access reviews on their mobile phones. Furthermore, 81 percent of those surveyed credited widespread Internet access as a reason to research.

“Today’s consumers want reassurance before loosening their purse strings, and personal recommendations alone are just not enough to guarantee a purchase,” explained Mike Hollywood, director of New Media, Cone. “The explosion of online word-of-mouth channels and the adoption of online verification have forever changed the marketing landscape. Targeting the right people is a marketer’s first step toward influencing the conversation.”

How often do you research a big ticket item before pulling the trigger? I spent several hours this past weekend reading up on a new camera purchase that a friend had recommended. The reviews were generally mixed; some loved it, some didn’t care too much for it. The camera just arrived via UPS, so I guess I will know soon enough.




User Comments: 10

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TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I research just about every "big ticket" item before I buy it. All my computers I have built for myself I spent weeks reading up on everything new, trying to find the best bang for my buck.

I this last spring re-did my entertainment room with a 55" HDTV and new surround sound receiver and spent months looking at alternatives.

Even my new washer and dry I looked up reviews for before I found ones that I am happy with.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

TorturedChaos said:

I research just about every "big ticket" item before I buy it. All my computers I have built for myself I spent weeks reading up on everything new, trying to find the best bang for my buck.

I this last spring re-did my entertainment room with a 55" HDTV and new surround sound receiver and spent months looking at alternatives.

Even my new washer and dry I looked up reviews for before I found ones that I am happy with.

You are a man after my own heart

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Those reviews can be a bit helpful sometimes. Makes the difference between buying a fake product that looks real such as those fake Sony controllers...

Lionvibez said:

I think this is a good story but you have to still be careful online. You have company sending people to Newegg to Cnet to post positive reviews of products that are POS.

The key it going on to these sits and being able to spot corporate shills. However there is also a tons of noobs that post stuff and they also don't know what the hell you are talking about. I've been doing this so long I am able to spot the sheeps from the wolves but the average best buy shopper cannot.

My best advice talk to your friends that are into technology and get on to some tech forums and ask questions whenever possible. Better to be a noob on a forum asking questions than to have buyers remorse!!

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Ditto for me what TorturedChaos said. If it's going to cost me more than a few bucks, I'll research the hell out of it. If you go to NewEgg and see that an item that has 600+ user reviews, yeah a small portion might be fake. But you can't fake them all. And then there are the professional review sites (like TechSpot here) where if you get a consensus on an item, well...chances are it's what they say it is.

Just buying blindly without doing research, especially being how it easy it is with Google searches, is just plain dumb.

okrings said:

I read a whole bunch of reviews before I buy expensive stuff, like new computer parts. I put very little stock in half-baked reviews done by other customers at a given webshop. What I look for is the type of articles you'll see here at techspot, or over at tom's hardware and similar sites. I need graphs, man!

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I was never very big on reviews...but then a few week back i looked up loads about a £20 camping pan set, and i'm really glad i did.

I even signed up to leave my own review (my real first ever one) when i came back off holiday.

aj_the_kidd said:

I've had my mind changed many times before buying stuff due to reviews, mainly small stuff though. I generally dont do much researching about big ticket items these days, mainly because i have a good idea of what i want, the product that i want and what that product is capable of, plus most of the things i want i already have. In general you can get a good idea if a product is good by its price.

Guest said:

"Word of mouth" has always been the most trusted method of Marketing. And that makes sense. The opinion of someone who has used the product and is not associated with product's company has a higher believable factor.

With the advent of the internet, and internet retailers, the combination of professional reviews and the feedback of purchasers (such as Amazon and NewEgg) greatly influences our purchase decisions.

The main concern is whether reviews and/or feedback are intentionally bias or not.

I am sure some are "fake", but the volume is usually large enough to overcome those.

To me the question is how to ferret out the facks.

Renrew Renrew said:

Two words for all y'all. Consumer Reports.

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