Commentary

Accentuate The Positive, Eliminate The Negative...

New Cone research reveals 80% consumers have changed their minds about purchasing a recommended product or service based solely on negative information they found online. This is up from just 67% of consumers who said the same in 2010. Online information, a trustworthy source for 89% of consumers, has the power to make or break a product recommendation, concludes the report.

Positive information has a similar effect on decision making, with 87% of consumers agreeing a favorable review has confirmed their decision to purchase. But, negative information is gaining traction and is now just as powerful in tipping the scales against a recommended purchase.

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Influence of Information (% of Respondents)

Influence

2010

2011

Negative information I've read online has made me change my mind about purchasing a product or service recommended to me

68%

80%

Positive information I've read online has reinforced my decision to purchase a product or service recommended to me

80

87

Source: Cone Trend Tracker, August 2011

Bill Fleishman, president, Cone, says that "... online content on buying decisions cannot be ignored... marketers must... connect with those who have significant influence over their peers and will champion the brand message."

Easy access to the Internet sends more consumers online to verify purchase recommendations. As compared to one year ago, consumers are more likely to purchase when they can find online recommendations to support offline advice (85% versus 77%).

The report says that this year-over-year increase in online verification may be attributed to near-universal access to the Internet and the pervasiveness of the smartphone. Today, online product or service information is literally at consumers' fingertips with 59% reporting that they are more likely to research recommended products online because they can easily access applications on their mobile phones, and 81% crediting wide-spread access to the Internet.

Reasons For Research Online (% of Respondents)

When Research Online

2010

2011

After recommendation before deciding whether to purchase it

81%

85%

More likely to purchase when can find additional recommendations online

77

85

Research online because easy access to Internet almost anywhere

n/a

81

Research online because easy access on mobile phone

n/a

59

Source: Cone Trend Tracker, August 2011

Consumers turn to product/service information and customer reviews, but blogs are gaining traction.

Before Deciding To Purchase (% of Respondents)

Go Online To:

2010

2011

Research product/service information

61%

69%

Search for consumer or user reviews

55

64

Search for the product/service on ratings websites

(e.g., Consumer Reports, Angie's List, Yelp!)

 

43

50

Search for opinions from product/service experts

38

43

Read articles or blog posts about the product/service

28

42

Solicit opinions from their social network(s)

10

12

Source: Cone Trend Tracker, August 2011

The increase in online purchase verification may also be attributed to careful spending. Americans are nearly 25% more likely to verify recommendations for high-cost purchases, such as cars, today than they were in 2010 (89% today vs. 72%), while moderate- and low-cost purchases did not experience the same jump.

Technical Industries Most Often Require Recommendation Verification (% Of Respondents)

Industry

Do Online Research After Recommendation

Find information useful/relevant

Automotive and transportation (e.g., personal vehicles, vehicle maintenance, travel, mass transit)

53%

55%

Food and beverage (e.g., restaurants, bars, cooking/recipes, nutrition)

39

49

Electronics and household appliances (e.g., tvs, refrigerators, computers)

59

60

Health and beauty(e.g., cosmetics, hair care/stylists, diets, fitness)

 29

40

Consumer packaged goods (e.g., cleaning supplies, paper goods, household products)

24

36

Retail (e.g., department stores, convenience stores, supermarkets)

29

46

Footwear and apparel (e.g., fashion designers, sportswear, handbags, jewelry, accessories)

30

38

Sports, media and entertainment (e.g., concerts, movies, college sports, museums)

33

44

Telecommunications (e.g., mobile phones, internet, cable)

48

54

Financial and professional services (e.g., lawyers, real estate agents, doctors, accountants)

34

39

Source: Cone Trend Tracker, August 2011

Mike Hollywood, director of New Media, Cone, concludes that "... consumers want reassurance... personal recommendations alone are not enough to guarantee a purchase... word-of-mouth channels and the adoption of online verification have changed the marketing landscape... "

The 2011 Cone Online Influence Trend Tracker presents the findings of an online survey conducted June 27-29, 2011 by ORC International among a representative U.S. sample of adults. The margin of error associated with a sample of this size is ±3%.

For additional information, please visit Cone here.

2 comments about "Accentuate The Positive, Eliminate The Negative... ".
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  1. David Culbertson from LightBulb Interactive, September 13, 2011 at 9:58 a.m.

    Bill Fleishman, president, Cone, says that "... online content on buying decisions cannot be ignored... marketers must... connect with those who have significant influence over their peers and will champion the brand message."

    =============
    I disagree. I believe this data reinforces that companies must focus on delivering outstanding products and services. Online consumer reviews will reflect this focus. Thinking Deming's focus on quality rather than profits.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, September 13, 2011 at 11:32 a.m.

    David, you are right. Connecting with those who, especially those who are paid, to uplift a poor product does not enhance belief in reviews or improve products. But it is cheaper.

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