Consumer Online Reviews Strongly Influence Purchase Decisions
According to a recent survey by Deloitte's Consumer Products group, consumers are turning to online reviews in large numbers, and those reviews are having a considerable impact on purchase decisions. 62 percent of consumers read consumer-written product reviews on the Internet, says the report, and of these, more than eight in 10 say their purchase decisions have been directly influenced by the reviews, either influencing them to buy a different product than the one they had originally been thinking about purchasing, or confirming the original purchase intention.
While the percentages were slightly higher for the younger generations, all age groups are reading and acting on online reviews at significant rates, says the report. And, the reach of consumer reviews isn't limited to the online world... seven in 10 of the consumers who read reviews share them with friends, family or colleagues, thus amplifying their impact.
Though the survey found that reputation and word of mouth are the key factors that influence consumers' decisions to purchase a new product or brand, many other factors also play a significant role. Four in 10 consumers cited "Better for you" ingredients or components, eco-friendly usage, and sourcing, as important factors in making purchase decisions, and eco-friendly production and/or packaging was cited by 35 percent of consumers.
As a result of recent recalls one-third of survey respondents said that they now look for more information on the packaging/product and almost one in five (18 percent) said they now look for more information on the Internet or in other locations.
Pat Conroy, vice chairman and US consumer products group leader at Deloitte & Touche USA, said "In the past, clever marketers and advertisers shaped brands, but now consumers are increasingly empowered, everyone has a voice, and information and opinions are instantly dispersed... Consumer product companies need to determine how best to capitalize on this new landscape... "