A report released Friday found that consumers read an average of 10 reviews before trusting a business -- up from 7 in 2017 -- and 40% of consumers are only impacted by reviews written within the last two weeks.
In the report that BrightLocal released Friday, numbers suggest consumers increasingly search for local businesses and their online reviews. In fact, 27% of consumers look online daily for local businesses, up from 12% in 2017.
Only 5% of those ages 18 to 34 never read reviews. Quite difference from the 55 and older crowd, where just 6% always read consumer reviews and 69% regularly or occasionally reading them.
This is the first year since the initial publication of the annual report in 2010 that BrightLocal has analyzed the data, which includes 1,000 U.S.-based consumer responses across three age groups 18 to 34, 35 to 54, and 55 and older.
The report found consumers are most likely to look at reviews for restaurants and cafés, hotels and B&Bs, and medical businesses.
An increasing number of consumers also pay close attention to star ratings. Some 57% of consumers won’t use a business that has fewer than 4 stars, up from 48% in 2017. Some 11% won’t use businesses that don’t have a perfect star rating of five.
The report also found that consumers expect businesses to have an average of 40 online reviews before trusting that its star rating is accurate. Consumers will read 10 review, up from seven last year, before feeling able to trust a business.
And the younger the reader, the more they trust the review. In fact 91% of 18- to-34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, yet 57% of consumers in this age group said they have read a lot of fake reviews in the past year.
Interestingly, 80% of PC or Mac users read reviews more often this year compared with 63% last year. Tablet readers are down to 40% this year, compared with 45% last year. Mobile internet browsers are the same. This group fell two percentage points to 55% in 2018. Mobile app users have remained steadfast with 32%.