Before the Purchase? That’s When the Review Is Read

Roughly one in three internet users always check reviews before buying

Author: Monica Melton

May 16, 2017

More than a third of internet users say they always check reviews before making a purchase—and fewer than one in five say they rarely or never check reviews.

According to a new survey by market researcher YouGov, fully 82% of internet users check reviews at least sometimes, and high percentage of them—roughly two-thirds—say they have reviewed a product or service online.

The YouGov survey aligns with other studies of consumer use of reviews. For instance, a December survey by Pew Research Center found that 40% of consumers in the US read digital ratings and reviews “always or almost always,” while another 42% said they sometimes read them.

The YouGov survey also delved into the details of consumers who leave reviews on various sites, and found that the practice is widespread (64% had done so) and that Amazon was the site that was most commonly mentioned as a review platform. Fully 45% of the respondents said they had left a review on Amazon. Other commonly mentioned sites were Google (16%), Yelp (11%), TripAdvisor (11%) and Yahoo (10%).

Consumers tend to look at reviews at the critical period leading up to actual purchase. An August 2016 study by TrustPilot found that 46.6% of internet users say they read reviews while on a company’s website, before adding a product to their cart.

Interestingly, while there is widespread use of reviews, both in terms of reading and writing them, it is far from uncommon for consumers to leave reviews for products they haven’t bought or tried. Nearly one-quarter of the YouGov survey respondents said they had done so, and about one-third of the “fake reviewers” said they had done it for fun.