Consumer Reviews in the Engagement Era

How much influence do reviews from consumers have on the purchasing decisions of other consumers? Turns out, quite a bit, according to the recently released "Buy It, Try It, Rate It" study from Weber Shandwick.

The majority of potential consumer electronics purchases (65 percent) for example are inspired by a consumer review to select a brand that "had not been in their original consideration set" according to the report. "The increasing impact of consumer reviews on sales means that marketers must learn how to effectively manage the flood of online opinion engulfing shoppers," said Williams. "Online user reviews are transforming buying decisions. Our study sheds new light on why, how and when shoppers use both user reviews as well as traditional editorial reviews in the purchase process."

Other interesting findings from the study include:

- Consumer electronics buyers pay more attention to other consumer reviews than to editorial reviews by a margin of three-to-one.
- Nearly nine in 10 consumers (88 percent) say they are somewhat or very knowledgeable about consumer electronics, yet still consult reviews, consumer and/or professional (60 percent and 52 percent, respectively), when looking to make a purchase.
- 80 percent of consumers are concerned about the authenticity of consumer reviews.
- Consumer electronics buyers read an average of 11 consumer reviews.
- The most influential reviews are those that seem fair and reasonable (32 percent), are well written (27 percent) and contain statistics, specifications and technical data (25 percent).

The full report is available here (PDF).