How Willing Are Consumers to Leave Reviews?

We all know that most consumers read reviews. But how many are willing to actually leave reviews? In the U.S., over the past 3 years of conducting our survey, consumers willingness to leave reviews has consistently increased.

reviews increase

Survey Results

Consumers reporting that they never leave reviews dropped almost in half over the period and those reporting that they wrote reviews infrequently reported a 1.5 times increase. Most significantly the category of reviewers that wrote the most reviews showed a 2.3 times increase in the number of people reporting having written more than 6 reviews per year.

This change has been consistent and regular over each the 4 surveys given over the timeframe.

After purchasing from a local business, how often will you take the time to leave an online review for that business?

Survey details:

We conducted consumers surveys  on Apr, 2017, Aug, 2015, Nov, 2014 and Jul, 2014 using Google Surveys. The sample sizes were large averaging 1300 consumers.

In each of the surveys we asked “After purchasing from a local business, I will take the time to leave an online review for that business:

We offered the following choices of answers:

  • Never
  • Almost never -less than 1 review per year
  • Occasionally -1 to 5 reviews per year
  • Somewhat frequently -6 to 11 per year
  • Very Frequently -12 reviews or more per year

In the chart above we consolidated answer groups to allow for easier reading of the data but the trends are quite clear; U.S. consumers are ever more willing to leave reviews and some are willing to leave them very frequently.

Review Frequency Breakdown

Here is the detailed breakdown for our most recent survey taken in April with a sample size pf ~2056 US adult internet users.

Full survey detail for US consumers April, 2017

Review Frequency Growing In Younger AND Older Consumers

When analyzed by age we see that 25-34 year olds lead the pack with frequent and very frequent review writing. But surprisingly (or maybe not) those over 65 were close behind.

While the willingness of consumers to leave reviews has dramatically increased and that is true across all age groups, reviews are not spread across all industries equally. Some businesses like restaurants, hotels and jewelry get reviews easily. While others, particularly those in the service industries find it much more difficult to get consumers to write reviews.

While expectations as to how many reviews you can receive should be adjusted to accommodate the industry you in and to some extent the age of your clients, we think that the tactics should remain the same; run a great business and ask every customer.

4 Replies to “How Willing Are Consumers to Leave Reviews?”

  1. Interesting. I’ve never understood WHY people who are happy, though, still won’t write a review. That would be a great research topic…

    1. Mike Blumenthal says:

      Having looked at a lot of businesses we have found a number of reasons:
      1- Some industries are not very reviewable. Who wants to publicly proclaim that they just got dentures or a teeth cleaning? These industries fall on a continuum from dentist to restaurant. And a lot in between.
      2- The business just didn’t stand out. Maybe the customer was happy enough to come back but not so happy that they are willing to risk their reputation on your behalf.
      3- Similar to the above is the business that doesn’t have any or very many reviews. Few people want to step out from the herd, express their opinion and later be proven wrong.
      4- Often there is a weak social link between the business and the customer. Just an email might not be enough to induce the customer into creating a review. Maybe there needs to be a personal ask as well.
      5- As you can see it varies a lot by age group. It also varies by economic class and other issues. It could be that any given business’s core demographic or age group is not predisposed to leaving a review.
      6- Finally, it could be that the review site, particularly Yelp, didn’t like the fact that they were an infrequent reviewer and decided not to show it.

      From where I sit, the answer is straight forward, if not easy.
      1- Run a great business that exceeds the expectations of the client. The shock and awe of exceeding their expectations goes a great length in helping get more reviews.
      2- Ask every customer with a personal ask and follow up with an email or a text.
      3- Keep asking and don’t fret over one or two or three that didn’t leave a review. Their reasons are, as noted, many and you just need to keep on moving on and asking.

  2. Rich Witt says:

    This actually makes a lot of sense to me. It’s consistent w/ a growing number of customers telling us they either read our reviews or found us by reading our reviews. Younger consumers do this naturally and often have more time. Older consumers have more time. It our customers in the middle who seemed to be too stressed for time (busy w/ career and managing family). They tell us they will do it, but often can’t find the time to follow through.

  3. David Pope says:

    Mike continues to hit the nail right on the head: the tactics should remain the same; run a great business that strives to exceed/delight the customer and ask every customer for feedback to ensure you are recognizing anything you are doing that does not achieve your goal.

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