Of the 73% of online adults that have engaged in online “purchase-related research” in the last six months, 62% have looked at reviews in that same period, according to a new study from Lightspeed Research. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting highlights.

Men and women research different product types

Thirty-eight percent of women research books before purchase, while 24% of men do the same. We see an even greater difference where clothing and apparel is concerned. The gap reverses for computer software or hardware and home entertainment systems.

Men and women research different product types

Six products adults always research before buying

When asked how often respondents “would go online to do research before deciding what to buy,” more than half indicated they would “always” do so for cars, home appliances, personal technology, computer software/hardware, home entertainment systems, and video games.

Six products adults always research before buying

In-store still matters for gadget hunting

While online research like price comparison, brand/model comparison, and review reading dominate the pre-purchase checklist for personal technology items, most respondents still find in-store visits necessary. Since it’s clear that consumers value both online and online research, retailers should combine the value of both experiences by placing reviews on in-store product displays.

In-store still matters for gadget hunting

Must we seek out reviews to be influenced by them?

One of the most talked-about findings in Lightspeed’s report concerned the question, “Where do you look for reviews of products?” Specifically, people seemed surprised to learn that such a small percentage of respondents sought out reviews through “social networking sites.”

Must we seek out reviews to be influenced by them

Cynthia Boris over at MarketingPilgrim does an excellent job at explaining why this really shouldn’t be a surprise, and why some of the conclusions that have been drawn from this stat are off-base:

The problem here is not in the results but in the question. It’s totally true that people don’t go to social media to research a product, because it’s not made for that. Social media is not easily searchable and the information is delivered so randomly it wouldn’t make sense to start there if you wanted to know about the benefits of a new Ford.

On the other hand, if I’m on Facebook and I see that a friend is excited about a new book, I’m going to go find that book on Amazon and I might buy it. In effect, I have been influenced by a review on social media. The reverse is also true. If my friend has a negative experience with an airline, I’ll think twice about booking a flight with them in the near future.

Reviewers are positive people

This slide supports the research we’ve conducted and gathered over the years, which includes findings like this:

Most word of mouth is positive. Across all Bazaarvoice US clients, 80% of product ratings are 4 or 5 stars out of 5. Across all Bazaarvoice UK clients, 88% of product ratings are 4 or 5 stars out of 5. (“J Curve,” Bazaarvoice and Keller Fay)

I’m always eager to get my hands on quality research about our online buying and research habits, and this survey did not disappoint. Be sure to read the full report, because there’s plenty more where this came from.


2 Responses to “BazaarBrief: Must we seek out reviews to be influenced by them?”

  1. Just doing my job :-) But regarding your personal preferences perhaps differing from the norms above, I think most of us are different from the “normal” consumer in at least one or two ways.

  2. Thanks for this review, that would be interesting to take part in the research. Reading this article I really realize that the place (I mean; Internet, friend’s opinion etc) I got recommendations before buying depends on a thing I buy.
    The only thing about the Internet product review is I definitely prefer recommendations from my list of bloggers I usually read and respect.

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