The Reality of Reviews

November 28, 2023

The Reality of Reviews

1WorldSync’s 2023 Consumer Product Content Benchmark Report was recently published highlighting the latest shopping trends. This report is based on a survey of 1,500 US and Canada-based consumers and covers topics including pre-shopping research, the power of influencers, the channels shoppers trust most and more. 

In this blog, we will break down a specific data set from the report: the reality of reviews. We’ll cover the importance of reviews for purchase, the impact of negative reviews and the validity of unverified reviews.

Read on to learn more about the reality of reviews or read the full report here


The Impact of Reviews


While consumers often make purchasing decisions based on recommendations from people they know personally or online, ratings and reviews on the product detail page (PDP) are paramount. 

Reviews highly influence whether or not many consumers make a purchase. 36% of shoppers will not buy a product that has less than five customer reviews. Younger shoppers (53% under 35), however, are much more likely to distrust a product based on a lack of validation from other consumers. 

Consumer relationships to reviews vary but the majority (67%) of shoppers often or always read customer reviews before making a purchase. Of the 3% of shoppers who rarely or never read reviews, 46% cite reviews as being too polarized to accurately reflect a product. This outlines the need for verified, trustworthy reviews.


The Sway of Negative Reviews  


Not surprisingly, 46% of shoppers admit that negative reviews have a higher impact on their purchase decision than positive reviews. While only 2% of consumers will stop considering a product after one bad review, too much negativity in one sitting could derail a conversion. 43% of shoppers will not purchase a product after reading 4-5 negative reviews while 30% won’t make a purchase after reading 2-3 negative reviews

However, some shoppers need more proof of bad outcomes as 25% of consumers will still make a purchase despite reading six or more negative reviews for the product. According to research conducted by PowerReviews, shoppers depend on negative reviews to determine which products fit their needs — and which don’t. A staggering 85% of shoppers seek out negative reviews. In fact, when researching products, two-thirds of e-commerce shoppers filter for one-star reviews. These visitors still convert at 108% the rate of general web traffic.

Consumers look at negative reviews for various reasons, including to:

  • Understand the biggest downfalls of the product product they’re researching
  • Identify any specific factors that might not work for them (i.e. if a a product caused an allergic reaction)
  • Learn how customers with negative experiences use the product
  • Balance consumer feedback to paint a better picture of the review content.

This data indicates that negative reviews have significant impact for conversions. But it’s necessary to ensure the reviews your customers are seeing are verified.


The Validity of Unverified Reviews


Interestingly, not all reviews are actually written by people who purchased the product. 1 in 5 (20%) of shoppers have written a review or left a rating on a product they have never purchased or owned. 

Of that group:

  • 59% left a positive rating or review on a product they haven’t purchased or owned to support a friend’s business.
  • 18% left a negative rating or review on a product they haven’t purchased or owned to express opposition to the company.
  • 3% left a negative rating or review on a product they haven’t purchased or owned to help a competitor of the business.
  • 4% left a satirical/comedic review on a product they haven’t purchased or owned.
  • 9% left a negative rating or review on a product they haven’t purchased or owned because of a previous bad experience with the company.

This response shows that the motivation for leaving a review can vary. But, the impact of negative reviews remains powerful no matter the impetus. 

Additional demographic data pulls show that men (22%) are slightly more likely to have written a review for a product they never purchased or owned than women (19%). Consumers above 45 are less likely to leave a false review (14%) than younger shoppers, with people under 25 being the most likely (34%).


Takeaways for Brands and Retailers


These insights clearly outline a need for verified, trustworthy reviews. Reviews are valued highly by consumers and are often necessary to secure a purchase. But, it’s crucial that brands are landing the right reviews. Reviews that lead to sales are verified, thorough and positive. How can brands ensure they’re getting the right content? UGC-powered review sourcing tools are an excellent way to land the right reviews. Brands can deploy solutions like PowerReviews to build a base of verified, positive reviews from real customers. Reach out to 1WorldSync today to get started or learn more here.