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.

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