Online reviews very influential in offline purchase decisions: Study
A recent study has indicated that consumers were willing to pay at least 20% more for services receiving an "Excellent", or 5-star, rating than for the same service receiving a "Good", or 4-star, rating. (12/3/2007)
The study focused on examined the impact of consumer-generated reviews on the price consumers were willing to pay for a service delivered offline. According to comScore, Inc., the results, of a new study conducted with The Kelsey Group, examined the offline sales impact of online reviews for restaurants, hotels, travel, legal, medical, automotive and home services.
The study is based on a survey of more than 2,000 US Internet users in October 2007.
Nearly one out of every four Internet users (24%) reported using online reviews prior to paying for a service delivered offline. Of those who consulted an online review, 41% of restaurant reviewers subsequently visited a restaurant, while 40% of hotel reviewers subsequently stayed at a hotel.
More than three-quarters of review users in nearly every category reported that the review had a significant influence on their purchase, with hotels ranking the highest (87%). 97% of those surveyed who said they made a purchase based on an online review said they found the review to have been accurate. Review users also noted that reviews generated by fellow consumers had a greater influence than those generated by professionals.
The results showed that consumers were willing to pay between 20% and 99% more for an Excellent (5 star) rating than for a Good (4 star rating), depending on the product category.
"These data show the importance of local service review sites in consumers´ purchase process," said Steve Marshall, Research Director for The Kelsey Group. "With such a large percentage of review users subsequently purchasing, it´s vital that local service providers have a positive presence on these review sites."
"This study underscores the importance of providing not just good, but excellent, service if a business hopes to generate positive consumer reviews which will result in greater sales," said Brian Jurutka, Senior Director, comScore Marketing Solutions.