In fact, the Ipsos results might even underestimate how influential product reviews are to Americans. An online survey of 407 US adults by EXPO, also released in December, reveals that 98% of respondents found user-generated reviews helpful when researching holiday shopping.
Returning to the Ipsos results, certain segments of the population appear more reliant on reviews than others. Within the US, women are almost 50% more likely than men to say they very much agree that online product reviews help them make purchase decisions (38% vs. 26%). There is also a strong age dynamic at play. Specifically, the 18-34 group is far more likely than the 35-49 and 50-64 sets to very much agree that online product reviews influence them (44%, 32%, and 19%, respectively). When factoring in those who “somewhat agree,” the gaps are less pronounced, with 84% of the 18-34 bracket, 82% of the 35-49 bracket, and 68% of the 50-64 group agreeing at least somewhat that they are influenced by reviews.
Influences Vary by Household Income, Education Level
Interestingly, online product reviews appear to be more of an influence to wealthier Americans than to their lower-income counterparts. Survey respondents from high-income households were 23% more likely than those from low-income households to agree (at least somewhat) that online reviews help them decide whether or not to buy a product (81% vs. 66%).
Similarly, respondents with a high degree of educational attainment were about 11% more likely than those with a low education level to rely on online product reviews (83% vs. 75%).
Asians Highly Influenced by Reviews; Europeans Not So Much
The Ipsos study examines the attitudes of consumers across 24 countries, and finds that those most open to being influenced by online reviews are almost all Asian countries. Turkey (a Eurasian country) sports the highest proportion of online consumers agreeing that they rely on product reviews, at 92%. That includes an impressive 58% who very much agree that those reviews help them decide which products to buy. Turkey was the only country in which a majority very much agreed with the influence of product reviews – the next highest was India, with 44%.
After Turkey, a high proportion of consumers in South Korea (89%), India (87%), Indonesia (86%), and China (82%) are influenced to some degree by online product reviews.
Those high figures contrast with countries at the other end of the spectrum, whose consumers appear to largely ignore online product reviews. Those countries – exclusively European – include France (38% at least somewhat agreeing), Belgium (39%), Sweden (43%), and Germany (47%).
Regionally, the Asia-Pacific sports the highest percentage of consumers relying on product reviews (80%), while Europe has the least (56%).
- Reliance on product reviews is so high in Turkey that an impressive 79% of business owners surveyed there very much agree that online product reviews influence their purchase decisions.
- In Belgium, just 29% of women surveyed agree at least somewhat that they use product reviews to help them make purchase decisions, compared to 49% of Belgian men. That means that American women are almost 3 times as likely as Belgian women (83% vs. 29%) to consider online reviews when making a product purchase.
About the Data: The Ipsos data is based on a weighted sample size of 12,000, from an online survey conducted from October 2-16 across 24 countries, with adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and 16-64 in all other countries. The US data is based on a sample size of 500.
The countries reporting were: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the US.