Language Analysis of 1 Million Reviews and 13,000 Survey Responses Point to Shift in Buying Patterns
October 12, 2017 – New York – London – Copenhagen – Trustpilot, a leading online consumer review destination with 35 million reviews of nearly 190,000 businesses, today released its Consumer Behavior and Expectations: The 2017 Holiday Season report, with in-depth analysis on consumer behavior, sentiment, and customer review patterns. While thousands of consumers indicated pricing was one of the most important considerations for the 2017 shopping season, language analysis of more than 1 million consumer reviews suggested otherwise. Consumer sentiment favored brands offering superior customer service and timely fulfilment over other popular holiday initiatives, such as discount pricing and flexible return policies.
Of the 8,000 survey respondents in an August 2017 poll in which participants were allowed to select more than one response, 62 percent named pricing as one of the most important considerations entering the holiday shopping season. Customer service ranked highly as well, with 47.5 percent including it in their selection.
Yet participants were more likely to utilize review sites over price comparison tools to assist in purchase decisions; in a separate survey of 5,000, 48.2 percent of respondents said they were most likely to rely on customer reviews, suggesting a fundamental difference between perceived and actual shopping behavior.
“As traditional and online retailers continue to battle over price, they’re creating a level playing field; there’s a limit to how low you can go,” said Don Ross, President of the Americas at Trustpilot. “Shoppers are starting to look at other areas to help them decide what and where to buy. Furthermore, sellers who rely heavily on price but fail to meet post-transaction expectations are paying dearly in customer reviews, which have year-round ramifications on paid and organic search, clickthrough rate, and acquisition costs.”
“Price” showed up in only 4-5 percent of one-star reviews; 10 percent in five-star reviews. Language analysis from October through December 2016 showed the most common two-word phrases in one-star reviews were “customer service,” “days later,” and “still waiting.” The appearance rate of “delivery” in one-star reviews rose from 17 percent in October to more than 19 percent in December, a 13.27 percent increase.
Alternatively, “great service,” “excellent service,” and “fast delivery” were frequently cited in five-star reviews, peaking in December 2016 at nearly 22 percent of all five-star reviews on Trustpilot.
“Consumers say they favor low prices, and to a large extent that is true,” Ross said. “But data trends show it’s becoming increasingly tough to win on price alone. 2017 may prove to be the year where consumers concede a bit on price to find more trusted brands.”
Analysts and customer review research figures suggest total spending in November and December 2017 will surpass last year’s total. Total spending in November and December 2016 was $91.7 billion, an 11 percent increase from the same two-month period in 2015, according to the Adobe Digital Index.
For more information and deeper analysis, download the full report.
Trustpilot is an online review community that helps consumers make better purchasing decisions and businesses showcase and improve their service. Any consumer can write a review on Trustpilot; any business can invite its customers to share reviews about their experiences - for free. With more than 35 million reviews of 188,000 businesses from a variety of industries worldwide, Trustpilot is quickly becoming the world’s leading independent review site. Trustpilot reviews are seen nearly 2 billion times each month by consumers worldwide. With offices in Copenhagen, London, New York, Denver, Berlin, Melbourne and Vilnius, Trustpilot's 550 employees represent more than 40 different nationalities. For more information, visit https://www.trustpilot.com/
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