Reviews are most important information source

More than half of German online shoppers read customer reviews – other information sources also common

Online shopping has many advantages over the traditional walk into a store. There are no opening hours, we can shop on any occasion and from every location, we can choose between a much greater range of products and compare prices between dozens of providers. One of the great disadvantages of ordering products online, however, is that customers cannot “feel” the product. Does the size run large, does the color of the sofa really go with my carpet, is this high-quality material? To find answers to these and other questions, online customers nowadays have a variety of information sources at hand. Germany’s digital association Bitkom asked online shoppers in Germany which sources of information they use before making an online purchase in order to avoid buying a pig in a poke:

The data from the representative survey show that most online shoppers inform themselves about a product via an online source. 4 out of the top 5 information sources are digital. The opinions of friends and family are the exception, with 38% of online shoppers in Germany counting on them for their purchasing decisions. The number one source of information for potential buyers, however, are online customer reviews: 55% of online shoppers in Germany read reviews by other customers before they decide on whether or not to buy a product online. When taking a more detailed look at online shopper demographics, it turns out that customer reviews are especially popular as an information source among the younger shoppers:

In the age group 16 to 29, 66% of respondents state that they gather information on a product by reading online reviews. The look at age groups also shows that the older the online shopper is, the less they consult online reviews before shopping online. In the age group 65+, only 40% count on the opinions of other online shoppers when they decide to buy a product or not – a trend which is by the way also visible for social media as an information source.

You are interested in the other side of the coin? Check out the news article on online review behavior in Germany and China to find out what kind of feedback online shoppers give on the products they bought.


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January 2021