Reviews Turn Social Media into Gift Guides

Source: eMarketer, NOV 27, 2012

For mobile shoppers, reviews also key

Holiday shoppers are making a list and checking it against social media content—especially reviews, which they trust to help them make the best decisions about what to buy for friends and family members this season.

Product review and recommendation site ConsumerSearch found in an October 2012 panel-based study that reviews were the primary way US internet users would be using social media this holiday season for gift ideas. Just over four in 10 respondents chose reviews; wish lists were about half as popular.

Truly “social” functions, like talking to online friends about gift items, looking at trending items or discussing gift ideas with friends of the recipient were fairly uncommon, all clocking in at under 10% of internet users.

A September survey by Deloitte found even more US internet users planned to use reviews in their holiday shopping, at 47%. This research did not find reviews on top, however. Looking for discounts and sales was more popular, an option that wasn’t included in the ConsumerSearch survey, nor was the general “research gift ideas” response.

Reviews may also be popular among the mobile shopping set. Q2 2012 research from mobile ad network Greystripe found that US mobile shoppers were more keen than in-store shoppers equipped with a mobile phone to write reviews, at 49% vs. 31%. Earlier research has also shown that reviews are key to gaining trust among consumers, who are more likely to believe their peers than retailers pushing products.

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