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InfluenceCentralVibrantNation-Influence-W-O-M-Reviews-Female-Empty-Nesters-Aug2014Female “empty nesters” (defined as women over 45 without children under 18 in the household) are prone to seeking out reviews online and offline and are strongly influenced by what they find, details a new report from Influence Central conducted in partnership with Vibrant Nation. Indeed, almost all respondents said they seek out online reviews of products in order to receive feedback and first-person recommendations prior to purchasing – and more than 9 in 10 say they trust the recommendations from family and friends over brands.

Respondents place a great deal of trust in online reviews and recommendations, also. According to the survey’s results:

  • 8 in 10 consider first-person recommendations online before purchasing;
  • More than 8 in 10 trust reviews on retail sites like Amazon.com or Target.com for product reviews, and about 8 in 10 are more likely to purchase a product if it receives a high star rating on a retail e-commerce review such as Amazon;
  • More than 55% trust a review on a personal blog, and close to half (45%) are more likely to purchase a product if recommended by a blogger they follow; and
  • Almost 4 in 10 are more likely to purchase when the product is recommended by those they follow on social networks.

The results of the survey – which was conducted among 600 American women over 45 without kids under 18 in the household – are interesting in light of previous research indicating word-of-mouth to be more influential to youth than Baby Boomers.

In that study, Baby Boomers were more likely to count advertising as a purchase influence than Millennials, but the Influence Central study finds some skepticism towards advertising, with 6 in 10 female empty nesters claiming to often tune out traditional ads as they feel they are not accurately targeted. (Previous research – see here and here – has also found dissatisfaction with the way more mature Americans are portrayed in advertising.)

While the Influence Central study doesn’t concentrate on Baby Boomers, a recent MarketingCharts Debrief tackles the question of advertising to this generation, finding that they do indeed have mixed attitudes to ads. Data contained in the report, for example, indicates that Baby Boomers are more likely than Millennials to say they don’t make purchase decisions based on advertising. At the same time, though, Baby Boomers are also more likely to report that advertising helps them learn about the products companies have to offer, suggesting that when done right, advertising can have an impact if it overcomes Boomers’ trust issues.

In other results from the Influence Central survey:

  • Two-thirds of female empty-nesters consider themselves both the first person to try new things and independent thinkers;
  • Some 65% say they’re a source of recommendations for peers, and 85% agree that they tell a lot of other people when they have a positive or negative experience with a new brand, product, service, or vendor;
  • 9 in 10 respondents report searching for an item online through Google or another search engine before making a purchase decision; and
  • Two-thirds often use coupons and promotion codes when making purchases.

About the Data: Influence Central recently surveyed more than 600 American women over the age of 45 years old, via an email invitation and an online survey, through a partnership with Vibrant Nation. The extensive study was conducted, programmed, and analyzed by Influence Central’s Consumer Insights Group, headed by Tracey Hope-Ross.

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