Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from MarketingCharts, a Watershed Publishing publication providing up-to-to-minute data and research to marketers.
According a survey from Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (OTX), 78 percent of Americans aged 18-64 agree that online reviews help them decide whether or not to purchase a product, including roughly one-third who "very much agree."
Compared to the global average of 69 percent, Americans are 13 percent more likely to agree that online product reviews influence their purchases.
In fact, the Ipsos results might even underestimate how influential product reviews are to Americans. An online survey of 407 U.S. adults by EXPO, also released in December, reveals that 98 percent of respondents found user-generated reviews helpful when researching holiday shopping.
In the Ipsos survey, certain segments of the population appear more reliant on reviews than others. Within the U.S., women are almost 50 percent more likely than men to say they very much agree that online product reviews help them make purchase decisions (38 percent vs. 26 percent). There is also a strong age dynamic at play. Specifically, the 18-34 group is far more likely than the 35-49 and 50-64 sets to very much agree that online product reviews influence them (44 percent, 32 percent, and 19 percent, respectively).
Interestingly, online product reviews appear to be more of an influence on wealthier Americans than their lower-income counterparts. Survey respondents from high-income households were 23 percent more likely than those from low-income households to agree (at least somewhat) that online reviews help them decide whether or not to buy a product (81 percent vs. 66 percent).
Similarly, respondents with a high degree of educational attainment were about 11 percent more likely than those with a low education level to rely on online product reviews (83 percent vs. 75 percent).
The Ipsos study examines the attitudes of consumers across 24 countries, and finds that those most open to being influenced by online reviews are almost all Asian countries. Turkey (a Eurasian country) sports the highest proportion of online consumers agreeing that they rely on product reviews, at 92 percent.
After Turkey, a high proportion of consumers in South Korea (89 percent), India (87 percent), Indonesia (86 percent), and China (82 percent) are influenced to some degree by online product reviews.
Those high figures contrast with countries at the other end of the spectrum, whose consumers appear to largely ignore online product reviews. Those countries — exclusively European — include France (38 percent at least somewhat agreeing), Belgium (39 percent), Sweden (43 percent), and Germany (47 percent).
Will online reviews become a larger or smaller influencer of online purchases over the next three to five years?