Have fake reviews made consumers savvier than ever?



It’s no secret that reviews have had a pretty bad rap recently. With what feels like a constant stream of stories all over the media about how shoppers should be cautious of fake feedback, you would think that trust in customer reviews would be wavering.

Despite the headlines, our 2019 Consumer Report shows that the number of consumers worried about fake reviews are actually lower than last year. Could it be that all the publicity about reviews has made shoppers more aware of and better equipped for phoney feedback? In fact, reading reviews is more popular than ever. With a huge 96% of people using reviews in some way, this figure has been on the rise since 2017.

What is it about reviews that helps people make better decisions and become savvier shoppers? Here are a few things we discovered in our 2019 Consumer Report.

Negative reviews are reassuring

Yep, you read that right. Although most businesses fear nothing more than a disgruntled customer airing their issues for all to see, more than half of consumers are suspicious if there aren’t any negative reviews to read. This makes a lot of sense – and it’s something we’ve talked about before in our guide to negative reviews. A bit of ‘bad’ feedback can actually do wonders for your business!

It’s not just about stars

We’re all familiar with those five gold stars, but consumers have learnt to look a little deeper when reading customer feedback. 67% of shoppers pay attention to both the star rating and the review content when reading reviews, whilst a tiny 8% just looked at the star rating alone. However, those stars play a big role when it comes to clicking that ‘buy’ button - over half of consumers won’t buy anything that only has a one or two-star rating. Yikes!

Shoppers understand the importance of verified reviews

With all this chat about fake reviews, consumers are wising up to the significance of feedback from verified purchases. 50% of shoppers said that they’re more likely to trust a brand if the reviews are authenticated by a brand like Feefo. This number is on the rise, increasing from 40% in 2017 – possibly the result of all these fake reviews that have been so well documented in the media. 

More than half of us have made some bad shopping decisions!

It turns out that 51% of consumers have ignored reviews altogether, only for them to regret their decision when they get their hands on their purchase. So, sure, shoppers are being cautious when it comes to approaching reviews, but they’re also aware of their importance after having made money-wasting mistakes in the past!

Although the number of people worried about fake reviews is going down, our 2019 Consumer Report shows that shoppers are more clued-up than ever when it comes to customer feedback. It doesn’t end with the few points we’ve mentioned here - the report is crammed full of insight from 2,000 UK consumers about everything from how they  shop, how they use customer feedback, and how reviews contribute to customer loyalty.


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