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Consumers trust reviews more than personal recommendation

Consumers are more likely to decide to buy something if it has good reviews, than if it has been recommended by parents, friends or celebrities according to recent research by ratings and reviews platform Feefo. The only thing that would make a person more likely to buy, other than a positive review, is a great discount or offer, such as a half-price promotion.

Key findings

  • 75% of consumers are influenced by good reviews
  • Less than half of people are influenced by parents, celebrities and friends
  • 85% of UK consumers will always check out online reviews before making a purchase 

Respondents were asked “How often do you check for reviews when buying an item or service that you have not previously bought, or from a supplier you have not used before?” to which 85% stated that they always checked reviews on these occasions.

They were then asked, “What would make you most likely to make a purchase?” and given a list to choose from. The following were revealed as the top five influences:

  1. An appealing discount or promotion such as 50% off – 79%
  2. Good reviews – 75%
  3. Recommendations of parents – 47%
  4. Celebrity endorsements – 41%
  5. Recommendations of friends – 36%

One in ten respondents (9%) stated that they were more likely to make a purchase based on the recommendation of sales advisors, while one in fifteen (6%) agreed that they would be influenced by "being intoxicated due to alcohol"!

Discussing the findings, Cat Lenheim, head of PR at Feefo, says that they help the to demonstrate how PROs must create a dialogue with the public in order to help manage a brands’ reputation: “It is imperative that those working in PR are aware of a brand’s online reviews and star rating, and have in place the tools to track mentions across all media and social channels.”

Lenheim also points out how reviews are a simple way to collect testimonials, plus they are useful when it comes to potential damage control and crisis comms – especially if there are any negative ones. “Businesses are often fantastic at what they do, but need guidance when it comes to external comms, and a key part of this is how to respond to customer feedback, both the good and the bad. For PROs it’s necessarily to be able to understand the authenticity of a review, especially since false reviews can damage a company’s reputation in the long run. We’ve started to see some big retailers taking note of this, most recently when Amazon announced it was going to ban incentivised reviews.”

There are many examples in PRmoment’s regular Good and Bad PR column that illustrate how brands can handle online reviews well in order to save a brand’s reputation, as well as stories where a brand communicates badly, as per Marks and Spencer in this column. As reviews can make or break a brand, it is key that PROs monitor them and deal quickly with any potential crisis situations.


The research was conducted by Feefo. The survey asked 2,140 UK adults, about their shopping habits and what would make them buy a product or service.

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