According to a just released study from Weber Shandwick with KRC Research, 65% of potential consumer electronics purchasers are inspired by a consumer review to select a brand that had not been
part of their original consideration. And, the average buyer consults 11 consumer reviews on the path to purchase.
Bradford Williams, president of Weber Shandwick’s North American
Technology Practice, observes that "... the study sheds new light on... shoppers use of user reviews... (and) traditional editorial reviews in the purchase process... consumer reviewers are... the
most powerful force... savvy marketers listen to, manage and... harness their considerable might... “
Williams noted that while consumer electronics buyers pay more attention
to other consumers’ reviews than to editorial reviews, by a margin of more than three to one, a majority are concerned about the authenticity of consumer reviews (80%), leading them to conduct
considerable analysis before making their decision.
Key findings from the report:
- Buyers invest deliberate effort into making a well-informed decision, conducting multiple
activities to gather opinions, reading an average of 11 consumer reviews, evaluating review authenticity and demonstrating tolerance for negative reviews.
- 88% of consumers say they are
somewhat or very knowledgeable about consumer electronics, yet still consult reviews, consumer and/or professional, when looking to make a purchase.
- Consumers pay more attention to consumer
reviews (77%) than professional critic reviews (23%). The gap between consumer and professional reviews closes noticeably for more advanced technologies like tablets and computers.
consumer reviews, the most helpful ones are those that seem fair and reasonable, are well-written, and contain statistics, specifications and technical data. Surprisingly, named (vs. anonymous)
reviews are not as important as these other elements in consumers’ minds.
- Shoppers trust consumer reviews on Amazon.com (84%) and BestBuy.com (75%) the most, topping Consumer Reports
(72%). Consumers show no apparent discomfort in getting their research from a seller of the products they’re considering.
How Consumer Electronics Buyers Judge Consumer Reviews (% of Respondents Indicating Review Impactful)
Important Review Consideration
% of Respondents
Fair and reasonable
Contains statistics, specs, tech data
Reviewer named (not
Subject matter expertise
Number of people finding the review helpful
Number of other reviews reviewer has written
Comments posted on retailer web page
Comments by editorial about product
Source: Webber Shandwick, January 2013
The report offers several rules of engagement for consumer electronics marketers:
- Recognize that consumers visit shopping sites for reviews and
information at various points in their buying journey, not just to check a price or to click and buy
- To help address skepticism about the authenticity of reviews, adopt and publicly announce
a policy restricting employees from commenting or contributing to customer reviews
- Design product marketing pages using the format of a reviews site, not marketing collateral
online community manager should be encouraging customers to review products, disseminating positive customer and professional reviews through social channels, and working in tandem with customer
service to respond to customer feedback or issues quickly
- Marketers should identify reviews with the potential to have the most impact and post them to their own product websites, online
forums and social network sites
For more information about the study and to access the executive summary and infographic, please go