3-Star Reviews Result In A -70% Decrease In Trust [Data Study]

Posted in: Reputation Management

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It’s no secret that online reviews have become a primary resource for consumers when researching a business, product, or service. However, some may wonder: how much can online reviews actually influence a consumer’s purchasing decisions? To answer this question, we conducted a study to determine the true value that online reviews hold. We compiled an online reputation management survey to gather responses from just over 1000 consumers, and discovered 5 key takeaways regarding the power of online reviews.

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How many consumers turn to online reviews before making a purchasing decision?

Around 98% of consumers answered that they are likely to utilize online reviews while making a purchasing decision. More than half of respondents specified that they are “extremely likely” to use online reviews.

Takeaway #1: Online reviews have become a large factor in helping consumers decide whether or not they are willing to make a purchasing decision. 

Do online reviews have any affect on consumers’ purchasing decisions?

Just over 99% of consumers answered that online reviews are at least “somewhat important” when making a purchasing decision, while 84% of consumers specified that online reviews are “very” or “extremely” important to their overall decision. 

Takeaway #2: When researching a product or service, consumers value the feedback in online reviews, and take that feedback into serious consideration before making their final decision.  

How comfortable do consumers feel about a product or service based on the star rating?

1025 surveyed said they would trust a 4 star product or service. However only 307 said they would trust one with 3-stars. This results in a -70% decrease in trust when moving from 4 stars to 3 stars. This number drops even further to less than 1% with a 1 to 2-star rating.

Takeaway #3: Dropping just one star from a 4 to a 3 star rating on a product or service can drastically affect a consumer’s comfort level when it comes to making a purchasing decision. consumers value customer feedback and begin to question their decision when seeing that the overall sentiment surrounding a product or service is less than a 4 star rating. 

Can age factor into the likelihood of a consumer researching a product or service before making a purchase?

Based on the data from our survey, age does play a role in the decision to research before making a purchase. Consumers 18-40 years old answered that they would research a product or service at any price point before making a purchasing decision. Conversely, over half of consumers 57+ answered they would not research before making a purchasing decision, regardless of price point.

Takeaway #4: Despite some older consumers not taking time to research a product or service online before making a purchase, it’s clear that the majority of consumers still rely on online reviews to help make a decision. For many consumers who took part in our survey, the price point does not matter as much, as they are interested in reading online reviews regardless of how expensive a product or service is. 

How many negative articles would it take to stop a consumer from making a purchase during their research of a product or service?

55% of consumers answered that it would only take 2-3 negative articles in the search results for them to decide against purchasing a particular product or service, while 2.6% said it would only take 1 negative article to stop them. 

Takeaway #5: Reviews are not just in the form of star ratings or Yelp listings. consumers look at the top ranking articles as well when researching a product or service, and seeing multiple negative articles can bring their research to a halt, ultimately deciding to not follow through with their purchase. 



We surveyed 1,070 people to ask their opinions on online reviews and how much they influence their purchasing decisions. We analyzed this data to find key consumer insights based on their survey responses as well as key demographic information.  

As this data confirms, online reviews can heavily influence a consumer’s ultimate decision when considering purchasing a product or service. This means that it’s important now more than ever to keep your online review sites well managed and optimized. This includes responding to reviews of all sentiment, understanding each review site’s guidelines, creating a review request strategy, and more. At Go Fish Digital, our Online Reputation Management team is well-versed in online review management. To learn more about our services, contact us today!

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