UK shoppers more likely to be positive in on-line reviews than negative

UK shoppers are more likely to post a positive on-line review than one that is negative, research by global reviews and customer insights company Feefo has found.

Whereas 71% of UK shoppers will go on-line to leave a review if they have had a good experience of a product or service, only 52% go on-line after a bad experience.

The findings were revealed in a survey examining attitudes to online reviews among 2,000 UK consumers. It found that the most common subjects for reviews are restaurants (48%), followed by electronic goods (46%) and holidays (45%).

"It's quite refreshing to see that for UK shoppers the positive outweighs the negative when it comes to sharing reviews on-line," said Matt West, CMO at Feefo. "Yet although it's great to be praised, no business need ever fear bad feedback. With advanced technologies such as sentiment analysis, all reviews become a hugely valuable source of insight into how a business is performing and where improvements can be made."

Exploring the future of reviews, the research found that 91% of respondents want to save themselves time by having multiple reviews for a single product summarised, while 75% would like to see product ratings left by friends and family.

And although written reviews remain most popular, there is increasing demand for video and voice reviews. 51% said they would be more likely to buy a product if they could view a video review and 54% are interested in listening to voice reviews.

"Whatever the method, consumers know what they are looking for in reviews, so businesses need to respect that and provide them with honest, verified, but not filtered reviews they can rely on," said West.

Yair Cohen, internet law and social media lawyer at Cohen Davis Solicitors and panellist at a Feefo roundtable event, said: "Video reviews have a higher level of credibility, especially when the reviewer is on-screen speaking to the camera." But he said trust in on-line reviews requires a new regulatory body to establish standards and establish greater credibility in the whole review system.

In other findings, the research revealed differences in attitudes between the sexes, with for example, 70% of women saying they read reviews before buying, compared with 61% of men. More men, however, read reviews by professionals (33%) than women (23%). Men are also more likely to watch product videos (27%) than women (18%).

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