Cone Survey Finds 4 out-of-5 Consumers Reverse Purchase Decisions Based on Negative Online Reviews
89 Percent of Consumers Find Internet Channels Trustworthy Sources and Will Seek Online Information to Verify Product Recommendations from Friends and Family
BOSTON (August 30, 2011) – At a time when 89 percent of consumers say they find online channels trustworthy sources for product and service reviews, new Cone research reveals four-out-of-five consumers have changed their minds about a recommended purchase based solely on negative information they found online. This is up from just 67 percent of consumers who said the same in 2010, according to the 2011 Cone Online Influence Trend Tracker. Positive information has a similar effect on decision making, with 87 percent of consumers agreeing a favorable review has confirmed their decision to purchase. But, negative information is gaining traction and is now just as powerful in tipping the scales against a recommended purchase.
Data from the survey underscore the growing power of online reviews to lead consumers to the cash register or, conversely, drive them away. As compared to one year ago, consumers are more likely to open their wallets when they can find online recommendations to support offline advice (85% versus 77%).
“The increasing impact of online content on buying decisions cannot be ignored,” noted Bill Fleishman, president, Cone. “We work with a range of clients from Fortune 500s to entrepreneurs, and our message remains the same.
Today’s marketers, no matter the product or service, must learn how to sway the conversation by connecting with those who have significant influence over their peers and will champion the brand message.” Survey data suggest this year-over-year increase in online verification may be attributed to near-universal access to the Internet and the pervasiveness of the smartphone.
Today, online product or service information is literally at consumers’ fingertips with nearly three-out-of-five (59%) reporting that they are more likely to research recommended products online because they can easily access applications on their mobile phones, and 81 percent crediting wide-spread access to the Internet.
The increase in online purchase verification may also be attributed to careful spending.
Americans are nearly 25 percent more likely to verify recommendations for high-cost purchases, such as cars, today than they were in 2010 (89% today vs. 72%), while moderate- and low-cost purchases did not experience the same jump. “Today’s consumers want reassurance before opening their purse strings, and personal recommendations alone are just not enough to guarantee a purchase,” explained Mike Hollywood, director of New Media, Cone. “The explosion of online word-of-mouth channels and the adoption of online verification have forever changed the marketing landscape. Targeting the right people is a marketer’s first step toward influencing the conversation.”
Study: 2011 Cone Online Influence Trend Tracker, Cone, Boston, MA
Who Do You Trust?
Think your traditional advertising is working? This study from Nielsen—best known for measuring the effectiveness of media. When compared in the context of traditional media, indices show that consumers have shifted dramatically AWAY from traditional media influence to social and online sources, with less than half trusting completely or somewhat trusting TV Ads!