Who uses online customer reviews?

Customers who read online reviews

The number of internet users reading online reviews has risen dramatically in recent years. For example, the Local Consumer Review Survey 2016 of around 1062 local consumers in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom found that:

  • 91% had read online reviews of local businesses
  • 84% trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 90% read less than 10 reviews before making a purchasing decision.

Respondents reported searching for a wide variety of businesses, with restaurants, doctors/dentists, hotels/B&B/guest houses and general shops the most common.

Australian figures tell a similar story. The 2016 Sensis social media report of approximately 800 Australians found that:

  • around 60% of respondents reported reading online reviews or blogs before making a purchase decision
  • those aged 40 to 49 were most likely to do so
  • on average, people expected to read 5 reviews before making a decision.

Consumers were most likely to search for information on fashion, electrical goods, homewares and computers.

Review sites themselves also report impressive international use figures. For example:

  • Yelp reported 72 million unique visitors per month
  • TripAdvisor reported more than 350 million unique visitors per month.

Customers who write online reviews

Far fewer customers actually write online reviews. The 2016 Sensis social media report found that:

  • 27% of respondents has posted reviews or blogs in the last year
  • those aged 30 to 39 were more likely to post (34%)
  • hotels and motels were the most popular topics for review, following by restaurants, stores, holiday destinations, mobile apps, music and movies
  • each reviewer is likely to post around 9 reviews per year.

So it's important for businesses to engage with customers who post reviews - because their opinions may influence so many other people.

Businesses using online review sites

Millions of businesses worldwide have been the subject of online reviews. If a customer wants to post a review of your business, your business will automatically appear as a listing on their chosen site.

Some review websites publish figures on how many businesses use their sites for promotional purposes.

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