Consumer electronics buyers heavily rely on reviews when making purchase decisions, finds Weber Shandwick [pdf] in January survey results. But that doesn’t mean they’re not cautious about those reviews. In fact, 8 in 10 claim to be concerned about the authenticity of consumer reviews, and buyers demonstrate that a variety of elements impact their evaluation of a review. First among those, whether the review seems fair and reasonable, cited by one-third of respondents.
Beyond an initial judgment of how fair the review is, more than 1 in 5 respondents also cite the following elements as having an impact on their evaluation of a review:
- Extent to which the review is well-written (27%);
- Review contains statistics, specifications, and other technical data (25%);
- Reviewer is named, not anonymous (23%);
- Subject matter expertise demonstrated by the reviewer (23%);
- Number of people who say they found the review helpful (23%); and
- Reputation of the reviewer as measured by the website’s users (22%).
Interestingly, fairness is not top of mind when judging professional reviews. Instead, CE buyers are most likely to look at whether the review focuses on aspects/uses of the product that are relevant (43%). The critic’s reputation and the extent to which the review is well-written (each at 28%) count as least influential.
The researchers note that while marketers that the results are useful because “while marketers can’t directly influence user reviews, they can identify those that may have the most impact on potential buyers and post them to their own product websites, online forums and social network sites.”
- 51% of CE buyers are concerned that a positive review may be posted by the manufacturer’s employee or agent rather than an actual consumer.
- For buyers to doubt a product’s quality, they report that at least 31% of the reviews they see have to be negative.
- At least 6 in 10 buyers completely or somewhat trust the following sites when looking online for CE reviews: Amazon.com (74%); BestBuy.com (76%); Consumer Reports (72%); Target.com (66%); and eBay (60%). By contrast, just 23% trust reviews on Newegg, and only 42% on TigerDirect.
About the Data: Weber Shandwick partnered with KRC Research to conduct Buy It, Try It, Rate It, an online survey conducted in September 2012 of 2,004 American adults who’d recently made one or more purchases of consumer electronics (CE) products like smartphones, tablets, cameras or TVs.