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 Majority Of Online Shoppers Check At Least Four Reviews Before Buying

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ABOUT 68% OF ONLINE SHOPPERS read at least four reviews before making a purchase, according to data from joint research by PowerReviews and the e-tailing group. The companies surveyed 1,200 consumers who shopped online at least four times per year and spent at least $500 in aggregate–finding that almost a quarter of the respondents checked at least eight reviews or more before deciding to buy.


Some 22% of respondents said that they “always” read reviews before making a purchase, while the majority (43%) said they checked ratings and reviews “most of the time.” In contrast, just 2% of the online shoppers surveyed said that they “never” read reviews in advance.


“Consumer-generated media such as those found on ratings and review sites are becoming more influential in the purchase-decision process,” said Jeffrey Grau, senior analyst at eMarketer. Grau and other eMarketer analysts crunched the numbers from the PowerReviews/e-tailing group study, as well as Forrester Research and data from Avenue A|Razorfish to come up with a quick, but comprehensive look at the influence that user-generated content like reviews has had on online shopping behavior.


For example, 64% of consumers surveyed by Forrester said that user ratings and reviews were the kinds of features that they wanted to see on Web sites–just slightly edging out those who wanted special offers or coupons (61%), and trumping videos (44%), personalization (37%) and games or quizzes (29%). The data came from Forrester Research’s “North American Technographics Customer Experience, Marketing and Consumer Technology Online Survey,” for the third-quarter of 2007–which included consumer electronics, travel and banking sites–key drivers of e-commerce in the U.S.


Meanwhile, a recent Avenue A|Razorfish study found that 55% of online shoppers chose user reviews most frequently when conducting product research–more than double the 22% that used comparison charts or expert reviews (21%).

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