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The Role of Product Reviews in the Pre-Purchase Search Ritual

Thu Nov 4, 2010 - 10:21 PM EDT - By Annie Latham

A post at eMarketer.com noted how reading product reviews is a growing part of consumers' "prepurchase search ritual." Consumers have increased the number of reviews they read and the overall time they spend reading them. And nearly all internet users are influenced in some way by customer product reviews, according to ChannelAdvisor.

The post pointed to a 2010 study by the e-tailing group, sponsored by PowerReviews, which revealed the deepening relationship shoppers have with customer reviews. Here are some of the findings:

* 64% of shoppers took 10 minutes or more to read reviews, vs. 50% in 2007.
* 33% took a half hour or more to read reviews, vs. 18% in 2007.
* 39% read eight or more reviews before buying, vs. 22% in 2007.
* 12% read 16 or more reviews before buying, vs. 5% in 2007.

Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer principal analyst and author of the new report, Customer Product Reviews: The Next Generation, remarked, "For many purchases, shoppers find the best advice comes not from family and close friends but from strangers who have similar interests or who embody a lifestyle the shopper aspires to achieve."

Do you agree?


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