Ratings, Reviews, and Consumer Voted Awards Continue to Grow in Importance

Throughout the COVID pandemic, we’ve been regularly checking in with our Shopper Army community to see how shopping attitudes and behaviors have been changing – particularly with so much shopping shifting online. What’s become very clear in Canada is that online ratings & reviews have just exploded in popularity and importance, along with consumer voted awards.

To put what’s been happening in context, figure 1 below shows the change in the percentage of Shopper Army members that “trust very much” endorsements from various sources, from January / February 2020 (when our main annual shopper study is conducted) to the week of May 25th.

Figure 1. Increase in those that “trust very much” endorsements from various sources

This is a significant change. In fact, consumer voted awards was essentially tied with social network peer recommendations on this metric at the start of the year, and is now well ahead – while consumer reviews are now almost on par with social network peer recommendations. Meanwhile suggestions made by online retailers lag far behind on being trusted by shoppers.

Other related points of interest from this wave of the survey include:

  • The percentage of the community that regularly search for reviews or recommendations for products they are considering jumped from 30% to 50% over the same time frame.
  • The percentage of the community that agree they regularly share details of their product experiences jumped from 60% to 78%.
  • 51% of the community said they are more reliant on consumer product reviews to make purchase decisions than one year ago.
  • The percentage of the community that search for reviews identified by other consumers as ‘helpful’ jumped from 29% to 47%.

These findings are particularly important for new product launches. As company President Robert Levy explained back in April, with e-commerce now playing a much larger role, new tactics are necessary to ensure their success – especially to help break through when shoppers report to be more overwhelmed with choices when they shop online than they were in-store. Reviews and awards are clearly helping them sort through the clutter.

If you’d like to learn more about the insights from our ongoing studies, feel free to contact us.