Consumers are shunning traditional information sources and instead turning to social media before making purchases, according to new research.
Reevoo surveyed 1,000 UK consumers and found rather than seek recommendations from sales assistants or advertising, shoppers are instead driven by friends recommendations (52%) and online consumer reviews (48%). Additionally, the research found that over 80% of those surveyed said they ‘sometimes or always’ consult reviews when making a purchase, whilst 60% said they were more likely to purchase from a site that hosts customer reviews.
In terms of sector, the travel and automotive industries rely most heavily on user reviews with almost a third ‘always’ reading reviews when booking travel and nearly 30% ‘always’ reading reviews when choosing a car, according to the figures. The financial services industry is also increasingly relying on reviews.
The research also found that shopping and researching products via mobile has increased by 10% from last year whilst using Facebook as a shopping and research tool has increased by almost 40%.
A key element in the success of social shopping and reviews is trust, said Reevoo. Two thirds of respondents claimed to have concerns about the trustworthiness of reviews whilst more people than ever suspect positive reviews might be paid for and bad reviews hidden.
Richard Anson, founder of Reevoo, said: “Our research reveals an increasing sophistication in consumers’ use of multi-channel and social shopping tools. As well as the tools and technologies becoming more innovative, people’s browsing and buying behaviour is also changing.
“Whereas when social commerce was in its infancy people were happy to take reviews at face value, now consumers are becoming more discerning about who they’ll trust and which information sources they find most valuable for them.”