At Psydro, our goal has always been to not only give people access to the best products and services through comprehensive reviews, but also to understand why people leave reviews, and what matters to people the most. So, to delve deeper into why people leave reviews, and what types of reviews were the most important to consumers in 2021, we surveyed more than 2,000 Brits aged between 18 and 60 years old, about their online shopping habits – here’s what we found.
How Much Time Do Consumers Spend Reading Reviews?
When it comes to which products/services Brits research the most pre-purchase, our love of takeaways was confirmed – it turns out we spend a whopping 20 hours a year, or 52.5 days in a lifetime, deciding what takeaway to buy, on average!
Yet, unsurprisingly, buying a car was found to be the task shoppers dedicate the most time to, at 2 hours and 32 minutes.
Indeed, one of the most important purchases a consumer will ever make is buying a car. Reviews can massively help make the right decision, especially when parting with that much money. This customer feedback is a valuable source of social proof as consumers can gain an immersive insight into the shopping experience with a particular automotive company. These reviews also present a brand’s online reputation. Consumers take time to visit a variety of third-party platforms to check both positive and negative reviews, the overall star rating and the consistency of feedback.
However, we also found that the average Brit buys a car just once every 3 years, whereas the average consumer buys a takeaway twice a month, which significantly increases the amount of time we look at related reviews.
The shopping tasks that consumers spend the most time reading reviews for are:
- Buying a car – 2 hours 32 minutes
- Buying a computer/laptop – 1 hour 47 minutes
- Booking a hotel room – 1 hour 8 minutes
- Finding a local takeaway – 50 minutes
- Buying new skincare/makeup – 45 minutes
Takeaways are a real treat and they can be the highlight of our day, something we look forward to. We all miss going to a restaurant. Walking around, checking out the menu, seeing how popular the place is by the number of customers already seated enjoying their meal. However, with takeaways, it’s not that simple, particularly when wanting to try a new establishment.
Is the food good? Is it worth the money? Are the staff reliable? How much is the delivery fee? Does the meal transport well? The list goes on and on. We want to make sure we make the right decision and spend our money wisely, and past customer reviews can help us do that.
The consumer tech items that consumers spend the most time reading reviews for are:
- Laptops – 1 hour 47 minutes
- TVs – 1 hour 13 minutes
- Smart home device – 1 hour 1 minute
- Adult toys – 47 minutes
- Smart watch – 43 minutes
The year 2021 also marks the first year adult toys featured as one of the top five most researched consumer tech items, with consumers spending 47 minutes on average reading reviews on them before purchasing.
It’s no surprise consumers spend almost two hours reading laptop reviews. Throughout this past year, we’ve been spending more time online. Working or studying from home has led us to search for better laptops that will enable us to achieve everything we need to do. But buying a laptop can be hard, especially if we can’t enter a shop and talk to a professional about it.
It’s fancy, but is it solidly built? How much RAM does it have? How long does the battery last? What is the laptop warranty? So many questions and so many factors can affect our buying decisions. That’s why customer reviews are so valuable. They can help us make the right choice by reading customers’ past purchasing experiences.
However, sometimes, even if we read hundreds of reviews, we still can’t manage to make up our mind and part with our hard-earned money. That’s why Psydro has created a communication element where users can message each other regarding a review to ask for recommendations.
Online Shopping: What Can Go Wrong
The pandemic has accelerated the transition to a more digital world. Nowadays, we buy everything online: groceries, clothes, electronics, skincare, beauty products, outdoor equipment, kitchen utensils, furniture, board games, the list could go on and on. But, with the rise of online shopping, there is also a higher chance of things going wrong.
Additional findings also show that in the last 12 months, just under three quarters of under 35s (72%) have less trust in online retail compared to before the pandemic. When we asked why their trust has decreased, the most popular responses were ‘late deliveries’ (54%), followed by ‘bad communication’ (37%), and ‘lost deliveries’ (9%).
Respondents we spoke to also identified what elements of a review will deter them from purchasing an item. More than half (51%) said reports of a ‘faulty item/poor user experience’, a fifth (19%) said ‘poor value for money’ and 17% said ‘poor customer service’ and a tenth (11%) said ‘poor communication’.
Tony Ward, Founder of Psydro, said:
“The main reason for conducting this research was to look into the shopping habits of Brits, and understand how important reviews are to the purchasing decision. It was shocking to see just how much time consumers dedicate to reading other people’s experiences, especially when you extrapolate it over a lifetime, but then again, we do love a good takeaway!
“It was interesting to see that the majority of shoppers under 35 trust online retailers less compared to 12 months ago, which is no doubt a big shift, and when you take into account what consumers value, it really reinforces how important brand reputation and the user experience is, perhaps more so now than ever.”