This is the PowerReviews trends snapshot for June 2021, an analysis of consumer activity across more than 1.5MM online product pages from more than 1,200 retail/brand sites over the past six months.
The headline for this edition is broadly more of the same, with ecommerce purchase volumes and Ratings and Reviews trends remaining consistent over the past couple of months.
However, the biggest trend worthy of note is that review impact on purchase journey is up on what we saw pre-Covid.
Key ecommerce market trends
eCommerce purchase volumes continue to remain stable
After continued stability over the past few months, April and May were a case of more of the same.
Because we measure changes over short periods, it’s worth reiterating that this increase is off a baseline of significantly higher volumes than pre-Covid.
So at the risk of going old ground, we saw a huge initial surge led to an overall 3x increase in online purchase volumes between February (pre-pandemic) to May 2020 before a steady decline and then stabilization, with purchase volumes consistently between 40% and 70% higher than they were pre-pandemic.
The Holidays resulted in the typical marked seasonal increase, before a return to post-Covid normality despite the continuing vaccine rollout where online purchase volumes were consistently in the range of 40-70% above where they were pre-pandemic.
Review submissions, length, and product sentiment remain stable
In our Post-Holiday snapshot, we highlighted a giant surge in review volumes – largely to be expected given seasonal purchase increases (hence the increase in December and January).
Since then, review submission has been unsurprisingly consistent given online purchase volumes mirrored this trend.
Review length and sentiment continues to be stable
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, review length and sentiment (in the form of average rating) also remains flat. This has been the case since we started our analysis over a year ago.
So although Covid’s impact on ecommerce generally has been transformational, it has not affected the content of reviews submitted by consumers.
Reviews continue to drive purchase more than pre-Covid
Over the last few monthly snapshots, we have included a deep dive into the impact of review content on the buyer journey – paying particularly close attention to year-on-year comparisons.
The headline from this update: Reviews are continuing to have more of an impact on the purchase than pre-Covid.
To recap, the charts in this section highlight the percentage of online shoppers who go onto purchase after they’ve interacted with review content (i.e. searched, filtered, clicked to extend the review from preview to view entire content etc.)
Although down from a pre-Holiday 2020 high of 5.25%, this figure for April and May 2021 was consistently at around 4.7% (note the 2020 line highlighted below shows the beginning of Covid, when all bets were off).
This represents an 18% increase on the roughly 4% figure that was the norm pre-Covid (as evidenced in early March 2020 below).
For more data and insight on how reviews and other forms of user-generated content impact online behavior, checkout our 2021 Conversion Impact of User-Generated Content report.
In summary, we noted the following clear trends:
- Online purchases stable
- Review submission levels and sentiment trends flat
- Review impact on purchase journey up 18% pre-Covid.
As the extreme ecommerce trends evident at the start of the pandemic fade into the rear view mirror, we will be publishing a market trends update every other month – meaning our next report will be published in August.