The number of UK consumers using social media to research what products are "best" has rocketed from 25% to 43% in the last year, according to the Adobe Digital Index (ADI) 2015 Holiday Shopping Prediction report. The study examined more than 1trn visits to 4,500 retail websites since 2008, with a separate survey of over 400 consumers per country in the UK, USA, Germany, France, Australia, China and Singapore.
"We’re seeing the rise of social media as a source of product reviews," says Ryan Dietzen, senior market insights analyst at ADI. "It’s a key part of the customer journey."
The story is the same across Europe, with the percentage of respondents in France using social media to research products jumping from 28% in 2014 to 35% this year. Almost half of respondents in the UK said product reviews are one of the top two influencers on them when making major purchases, while the number influenced by reviews was even greater in Germany at 64 percent.
Bad reviews are better than no reviews
The impact of social media upon customer behaviour isn’t a shock to Jerry Silfwer, digital strategist at Spin Factory: "When asked how much they are influenced by others, most customers tend to underestimate the effects of social proof on themselves. So I don’t find it surprising to see more and more online retailers incorporating social recommendations into the very fabric of their platforms."
He adds that retailers who remove social media recommendations from their platform will simply drive customers to look for those recommendations elsewhere. "In tests that I’ve run, bad or mediocre reviews actually led to higher conversion rates than showcasing no reviews at all."
The ADI 2015 Holiday Shopping Prediction report is based on analysis of aggregated and anonymous data from the Adobe Marketing Cloud, Adobe Analytics, Adobe Mobile Services, Adobe Media Optimizer, and Adobe Social.