- 99.9% of consumers read reviews, and 98% consider them an essential step on the consumer path to purchase.
- The more reviews a brand has, the better. Shoppers who visit a product page with 1-10 reviews are 52.2% more likely to convert than those who visit pages without any reviews.
- At the risk of stating the obvious, more reviews equals more conversions and sales, regardless of product type. However, review volume has the highest impact on conversion rate for shoppers in the electronics, CPG, furniture, and luxury goods categories.
There are a few truisms we can rely on in this life.
Cat videos will never get old, taking vacation is always a good idea, and people will always consult reviews when making a purchase.
Our latest analysis of consumer activity during more than 4.5B visits, across more than 1.5MM online product pages from more than 1,200 retail and brand sites has revealed new insights. Some aren’t so surprising, like the fact that people trust reviews more than ever. Others are a bit more surprising, like the impact of review volume on customer conversion rates.
Below we recap our latest findings on the impact of review volume on conversion, broken down by industry, with tips for boosting your own review count and quality.
The Power of Reviews
First, let’s review the impact of reviews in general (see what we did there?).
Back in 2018, we asked consumers what role reviews played in their purchase journey. At the time, 97% reported consulting reviews, and 89% considered reviews an essential part of the purchase journey.
Those numbers were impressive enough. But they’ve only grown bigger since. Nearly all (99.9%) of today’s consumers read reviews, and nearly as many (98%) consider them essential. In a world where it’s hard to know what to trust, shoppers know they can rely on reviews to be authentic and unbiased, empowering them to make an informed purchase decision.
In fact, consumer trust in reviews is so high that 86% of online shoppers say they won’t even buy products without reading reviews first.
And indeed, reviews are driving shoppers to purchase. Our 2021 UGC Conversion Impact Analysis found that when a shopper interacts with ratings and reviews on a product page, it lifts their conversion rate by 120.3%.
Ratings and reviews are now so critical to making purchasing decisions that they’ve edged out price as the most important factor for shoppers. 94% of shoppers say ratings and reviews are the most important factor in their decision, compared with 91% who said price (Source: Ever-Growing Power of Reviews).
The Power of Review Volume
Reviews are table stakes for business today. If reviews are so essential, does it follow that more reviews are even better?
We recently commissioned some new analysis exploring this question. To accurately assess the impact of review volume on the shopper journey, we calculate the visitor conversion rate based on the product page visited with the most reviews during a site visit (counted as all interactions with a specific site in a 24 hour period). The benefit of this consumer-centric evaluation method is that it focuses on the shopper and the impact that exposure to reviews has on likelihood to convert.
Our data from the past twelve months (5/12/2020-5/14/2021) reveals the incredible impact of review volume on conversion.
- When a shopper is exposed to a product page with 1 or more reviews, conversion lifts by 52.2%.
- Shoppers visiting product pages that have 11 to 30 reviews have conversion rates that are over 2x higher than those who visit product pages with 0 reviews.
- When products reach the holy grail of 101 reviews or more, we see shopper conversion rate increase of over 250%!
The takeaway is clear: the more reviews you have, the better.
The influence of review volume on a customer’s decision to purchase makes a lot of sense, when you take a step back to think about it. As University of South Carolina marketing professor Dr. Sungsik Park recently told the Wall Street Journal, “It’s all about sample size. The more reviews, the more likely the comments will reflect the product’s true quality.”
As important as review volume is, the consumer appetite for reviews still isn’t being met by brands and retailers. Over half (53%) of shoppers consult up to 10 reviews when buying a product, but 68% say that in an ideal world, a product would have at least 26 reviews for them to consider. Given the insatiable consumer demand for reviews, there’s a clear opportunity for brands to increase their review volume.
The impact of review volume extends beyond individual products. Nearly six in ten shoppers say they’re more likely to buy a product that has no reviews if other products from the same brand have high overall ratings. So, good reviews for one product generate a halo effect that extends to other products. This just goes to show the power of social proof and how reviews help establish trust and credibility for a brand overall.
What About Your Industry?
Reviews are impactful irrespective of industry, but the extent of this impact does vary across verticals. Which product categories see the highest impact from reviews?
Electronics & Computers
95% of consumers state reviews are helpful when shopping for electronics. In the consumer appliances & electronics category:
- When a shopper visits a product page with between 1 and 10 reviews, there is a conversion lift of 70.5% (compared to visitors to product pages with 0 reviews).
- If a shopper visits a product page with between 31-50 reviews, their conversion lift increases to 224.7%.
81% of consumers state reviews are helpful when shopping for computers.
- When a shopper visits a product page in the computer & software category with between 1-10 reviews, there is a conversion lift of 115.2% vs. a product page with 0 reviews.
- When a shopper visits a page with between 11 to 30 reviews, the conversion lift is 255.4% (vs a product page with 0 reviews).
- At 31 to 50 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 314.6%.
Reach 51 to 100 reviews, and shopper conversions lift by a giant 378.0%.
Health and Beauty
83% of consumers stated that reviews are helpful when shopping for Health and Beauty products. In this category in particular, volume is king.
- When a shopper visits a Health and Beauty product page with 1-10 reviews, the conversion lift is 22.1%.
- But when a shopper visits a product page with 101+ reviews, their conversion lift reaches 275.7%.
Clothing & Accessories
75% of consumers find reviews helpful when shopping for clothing and 68% when shopping for shoes.
- When a shopper is exposed to an item in the Clothing & Accessories category with 1-10 reviews, the conversion lift is 33.6%.
- For a shopper who visits a product page with 11-30 reviews, their conversion lift is 67.6%.
- For a shopper who visits a product page with 31-50 reviews, their conversion lift is 98.6%.
- For a shopper who visits a product page with 51 to 100 reviews, their conversion lift is 107.5%.
- For a shopper who visits a product page with 101 or more reviews, their conversion lift is 162.8%.
Grocery & Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG)
When a CPG shopper visits a product page with 1-10 reviews, their conversion rate nearly doubles – with a conversion lift of 194.5% (in comparison to visitors to pages from the same product category without any reviews)
- For a shopper who visits a product page with 11 to 30 reviews, their conversion lift is 286.2%.
- For a shopper who visits a product page with 31 to 50 reviews, their conversion lift is 474.4%.
- For a shopper who visits a product page with 51 to 100 reviews, their conversion lift is 579.5%.
For a shopper who visits a product page with 101 or more reviews, their conversion lift is 686.2%.
Despite a slower ramp up, we see a similar pattern in Food and Beverage. Put simply, the more reviews a shopper is exposed to, the higher the lift in conversion rate in this category.
- With 11 to 30 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 74.4%.
- With 31 to 50 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 160.3%.
- With 51 to 100 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 211.0%.
- With 101 or more reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 270.3%.
Home and Garden
67% of consumers state reviews are helpful when shopping for home and garden products. When a shopper visits a product page in this vertical with between 1 and 10 reviews, there is a conversion lift of 44.7% (in comparison to a visitor to product pages in this category without any reviews).
In this category, more than 30 reviews appears to be the sweet spot as we don’t see a material lift as review volumes rise beyond this level.
- With 11 to 30 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 142.8%.
- With 31 to 50 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 211.6%.
- With 51 to 100 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 213.3%.
In the furniture category, there is a 56% lift when a shopper visits product pages with 1-10 reviews vs. those with zero. After that, the lift is exponential.
- With 11 to 30 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 346%.
- With 31 to 50 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 564%.
- With 51 to 100 reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 838%.
With 101+ reviews, the shopper conversion lift is 1,326% !
Jewelry and Watches
80% of consumers say that the more expensive a product is, the more they read reviews. It’s no surprise then, that conversion lifts for shoppers visiting luxury goods product pages (such as jewelry and watches) reach 147% if they have 1-10 reviews on them (in comparison to product pages in this category without any reviews):
The key takeaway from all this? Reviews matter. Like really matter.
Companies of all shapes and sizes scrutinize the ROI of each and every investment – which is standard practice and simple common sense. When it comes to product ratings and reviews, the ROI is very clear and is not even remotely difficult to justify.
Across all of the key categories we studied: the more reviews a product has, the higher the likelihood it has of converting a shopper to purchase. This is just a simple universal truth of ecommerce.
What does this mean for you? 1. You need to make collecting high volumes of ratings and reviews a priority and 2. When you do, you need to make sure you display this content in a way that it will have maximum impact.
This may sound simple but the honest truth is ratings and reviews are often an afterthought for brands and retailers.
So if you adequately prioritize both these strategies, you will stand out from your competition. And who wouldn’t get excited about that?
Alyson Fischer is our Product Marketing Manager, obsessed with using data-driven storytelling to deliver a best-in-class customer experience and inspire dynamic engagement across channels. When she’s not agonizing over writing this bio, you can find her exploring Chicago with her furry sidekick or watching a true crime documentary on Netflix.
Audrey is a Business Intelligence Analyst at PowerReviews – passionate about empowering users with data. When she isn’t building reports or writing SQL, you can probably find her hiking the greenbelt in Austin, TX or playing with her dog at Zilker Park.