Online reviews key to purchase decisions
LONDON - Two new pieces of research show the importance which UK consumers ascribe to checking online reviews before making product purchases.
A survey by PR agency Weber Shandwick of 1,021 UK consumers found that 26% cited online advocacy as having the most influence on their purchase decisions, above friends and family at 20%.
Older media was cited by 23%, combining 12% for newspapers and magazines and 11% for TV and radio.
Brand websites were chosen by 11%, shop staff by 10% and advertising by 10%.
The survey also found that 31% of UK consumers stated that they would be interested in interacting with their favourite brands via social networking sites, while 24% were strongly opposed to the concept.
In a separate piece of research, 84% of respondents said they were more likely to check online for reviews before making a purchase than compared to 12 months ago.
The survey by brand communications agency Brand Reputation was carried out among more than 800 UK consumers leaving retail outlets in August and September.
The importance of online reviews varied significantly depending on the category of product, with 56% of the sample saying they checked online reviews of consumer electronic products, 45% for white goods, 33% for home furnishings, 21% for clothing, just 12% before buying entertainment products, and only 9% before making a sports purchase.
The brand communications agency's CEO Graeme Crossley urged retail brands to look carefully at the changes happening in the sector and adapt their strategies to take account of the multiple influences that now affect consumer purchase decisions.
"Traditional consumer insight methodologies are no longer sufficient in understanding buyer behaviour and brand owners need to have a significantly deeper level of understanding of what motivates and influences consumer attitudes."
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