Reviews continue to be a major driver of consumer behavior, with 91% of consumers saying they’re more likely to use a business with positive reviews, while 82% being deterred from using a business by negative reviews, according to a new study.
The Local Consumer Review Survey, found that only 53% of people would consider using a business with less than 4 stars.
The study, from local marketing firm BrightLocal, found that 90% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year, with 33% of consumers looking every day. It also found that 82% of consumers read online reviews – with 52% of 18-54-year-olds saying they “always” read online reviews. The average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business.
How Consumers Use Reviews
The average consumer spends 13minutes and 45 seconds reading reviews before making a decision. 18-34-year-olds spend 18 minutes and 19 seconds – nearly double the time consumers aged over 55 spend (9 minutes 52 seconds). 93% of consumers spend more than a minute reading reviews – meaning local businesses need to ensure their top reviews are as positive as can be across every review site they appear on.
The most important factors in reviews to consumers are: 1) How recent the review is; 2) The business’s overall star rating; and 3) The number of reviews the business has. 48% of consumers only pay attention to reviews from the past 2 weeks – making it necessary for local businesses to continue building a steady stream of online reviews over time to appeal to the most possible customers.
97% of review readers also read businesses’ responses to reviews (up from 89% in 2018), with 71% saying that they’re more likely to use a business that responds to their reviews
And, 66% of consumers have written an online review for local businesses – including 80% of 35-54-year-olds. 60% of consumers have written reviews for positive experiences, while 25% have for negative experiences. The average consumer that has written a review wrote 9 reviews in 2019.
Asking for Reviews
Asking for reviews remains important for local businesses. 67% of consumers have now been asked to leave a review for a local business – with 76% of these going on to do so. Consumers were most likely to be asked in-person (59%) or via email (54%). 24% of consumers that had been asked to write a review were offered a discount, gift, or cash in return.
And, fake reviews continue to be a major problem in local business reviews. In 2019, 82% of consumers reported reading a fake review – up from 74% last year. This included 92% of 18-34-year-olds, and 71% of over 55s. While the younger age group do read more online reviews, it could also suggest that the older age group aren’t questioning the authenticity of reviews to the same degree.