Last month we published the 2014 Local Consumer Review Survey; an annual exploration into how consumers read & use online reviews. The results gave us the ability to quantify the value that users place on reviews & how much they can affect the average consumer’s decision process.

We asked 13 questions which gave us some great insights. There were some stats that stood out more than others and made us want to explore them further. Earlier this week we looked closer at review star ratings – and what is deemed acceptable or too low to consider using a local business. We’ve turned that into a handy infographic which you can see here.

Top 5 stats from the Local Consumer Review Survey 2014

Now we’ve picked 5 of our favourite (and what we consider to be the most important) stats which came from the survey. To make this list even more useful, we’ve turned them into a set of unbranded graphics which illustrate each statistic. These can be downloaded and reused as you see fit. The full set of graphics can be accessed in PDF format here: 5 visual stats to show the power of online reviews.


Consumption of online reviews

1. 88% have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business

 

Reading reviews for local business

 

It was apparent that almost 9 out of 10 consumers have consulted online reviews in the past year to help with their decision on whether to use a local business or not.

Of this 88%, 49% said they read reviews occasionally and 39% said they do so regularly. Only 12% of consumers do NOT read online reviews. For all local businesses this underlines the importance of reviews & the priority that business owners should put on managing their reputation.


Trust & influence

2. 72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more

 

Importance of positive reviews

 

72% said that positive reviews make them more trusting of a local business, whilst only 10% said they didn’t take any notice of online reviews.

Positive reviews are having a measurable impact on the fortunes of local businesses and it’s clear that they cannot afford to let their online reputation slip. Any negative reviews can directly impact acquisition & revenue.[raw_html_snippet id=”advert”]


3. 88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations

 

Online reviews are like personal recommendations

 

Nearly 9 out of 10 consumers will trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation. This is up from 79% (or 8 out of 10) in 2013. I think this is the stand-out stat from the whole survey. It really highlights the the power of reviews, and shows that the perceived trustworthiness of online reviews is on the increase.

30% said that they will trust a review just as much as a recommendation if they believe it to be authentic, which of course underlines the importance of authenticity. Only 13% said they DON’T trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation – which is also down from 21% in 2013.


4. 72% of consumers will take action after reading a positive review

 

Local consumer reviews

 

The 72% is divided into two clear actions:

  • 57% say they will visit the business’s website after reading the review
  • 15% say they will phone the business up after reading the review

With 7 out of 10 consumers taking positive action towards a business after reading positive reviews the importance of having a good online reputation is magnified. Reading reviews is one of the final stages in the purchase path and has a direct impact on converting customers.


Reputation traits

5. Reliability (27%), expertise (21%) & professionalism (18%) are the most important reputation traits for a local business

 

Reputations traits for local business

 

Reliability is the single most important trait for a local business to demonstrate to potential customers if it wants their business. Local businesses could take advantage of this information to better pitch their products & services to potential customers, and the above traits should be promoted & highlighted throughout all marketing communications.