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8 in 10 Say They Trust Online Customer Reviews As Much as Personal Recommendations

by MarketingCharts staff
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The study indicates that an increasing number of consumers are reading online reviews to determine whether a local business is a good business (85% this year, up from 76% last year), and two-thirds need to read less than 6 reviews before forming an opinion about the business (up from 52% last year.)

Those results signal the power of positive reviews online – and that influence should only increase given consumers’ rising use of the internet to find local businesses. This year, virtually all (95%) respondents said they had used the internet for that purpose, up from 85% last year. That includes more than one-third who did so at least once a month.

Another testament to the influence wielded by online reviews: 73% of respondents said positive customer reviews make them trust a business more, up from 58% last year. What’s more, about 2 in 3 respondents said that positive customer reviews make them more likely to use a local business.

So what types of attributes are consumers looking to find in a customer review? When it comes to “reputation traits,” 71% chose reliability as the most important trait in a local business (up from 64%), while 45% pointed to good value.

Other Findings:

  • Restaurants are the most searched for business type, by 67% of respondents in the past year. That aligns with data from YP showing that restaurants are the most queried, clicked and called local search category.
  • During the prior 12 months, 72% of consumers reported having recommended a local business by word of mouth (down from 78% last year), while 37% did so on Facebook (up from 32%).
  • Reliability and professionalism are most important in making consumers more likely to recommend a business.
  • A majority respondents would recommend a business if it had a good value offer or discount.

About the Data: The data is based on a survey of 2,100 North Americans (90% US; 10% Canada) fielded over 6 weeks during January and February 2013.