According to American consumers, they wasted $125 on average in 2019 because of inaccurate reviews, says a new report. By extrapolate this information across the adult population, about $25 billion in consumer spending in the US has been wasted because of fake and inaccurate online review.

The report seems to be portraying a form of dissonance or ambivalence among consumers, who are relying heavily on reviews, despite the fact they are becoming increasingly more wary of their authenticity or credibility.

The study, commissioned by reviews platform TrustPilot, was based on a survey of more than 6,300 adult internet users in the U.S., UK and France in December 2019 and carried out by UK-based research firm Canvas8.

Top factors compelling consumers to purchase from a company ranked by the rate of incidence of inclusion in consumers’ top three choices.

Source: Trustpilot-Canvas8 (2020)

Due to the decline in trust regarding brands and the media, it was found that 48% of US consumers rely more heavily on reviews than they did two years ago. Also, 89% of consumers globally (90% in the US) check reviews online before purchases are made.

Although, 49% of consumers also “believe that ‘too many companies’ are creating fake reviews online.” Those consumers worry fake reviews “will lead them to waste money on poor products and services” — hence the $125 figure.

The interesting part of the findings are with the reactions to 5 star ratings on businesses. Respondents to the survey dismiss 5 star reviews as they feel it’s very likely a product of manipulation. They aren’t very inclined to trust 5 star reviews unless there are negative or partly critical review to go along with it.

55% of the survey respondents feel they “would prefer to buy a product with a large number of reviews and an average rating over a product with a small number and excellent rating.” Accordingly, 56% of respondents said they would “consider a 5-star rated product or service, but do more research before committing” and 16% simply believe 5-star ratings are fake.

According to the survey, a total of 72% believe that 5 star rantings aren’t totally credible, or are not credible to begin with. In a study from BrightLocal that came out in December, 70% of people consulted multiple review sites as a way to prevent being deceived by fake reviews.

67% of respondents in the Trustpilot survey felt they would rather buy from a company “that seems to have made a small mistake and responded quickly” rather than one that has “never made a mistake.”

Source – Greg Sterling