Global: To what extent do online reviews affect purchase decisions across various sectors?

Rishad Dsouza
February 02, 2022, 1:33 PM GMT+0

The ability to rate and review products and services has become an integral part of the online shopping experience. A new global YouGov study, conducted across 17 markets, shows the kind of impact customer reviews have on sales of a product or service.

The study reveals that certain product/service categories are more sensitive to online reviews than others. In this piece we look at the following five categories – household products, cinema/TV shows, airlines, financial and investment products and clothes.

Household products

Markets in Asia tend to have a higher percentage of people who check online reviews before arriving at purchase decisions on household products. More than two in five consumers in Singapore (43%), Indonesia (43%), India (43%) say they check online reviews before buying household items. About three in ten Americans (30%) and Mexicans (32%) also follow the practice, but the percentage dips significantly in certain parts of Europe like Denmark (18%) and France (17%).


Globally, just over a quarter of people say they use online reviews to help in their purchase decisions of apparel. Consumers in developing Asian markets like Indonesia (50%), India (48%) and China (41%) score well above the global average in this regard. In the US (21%) as well as in European markets like Britain (19%), France (20%), Germany (21%) and Italy (22%), only a fifth of all consumers say they check online reviews of clothes before making purchase decisions.

Cinema/TV shows

Asian markets lead the way when it comes to checking online reviews of movies and TV shows as a way to help inform their purchase decisions, but consumers in Spain (27%) and Mexico (30%) are also very likely to engage in that practice. By contrast, only a tenth of consumers in Germany (11%) say they do the same.


While European markets are generally less likely to check for online consumer ratings of airline companies before making purchase decisions, France (18%) and Spain (21%) are the exceptions. Overall, Mexicans (24%) are most likely to engage in this practice.

Financial and investment products

Just 16% of global consumers say they look up online ratings of financial and investment products as a way to inform their purchase decisions in that space. The practice is particularly common in certain Asian markets like India (32%) and Indonesia (28%). Consumers in advanced economies such as the US (10%) and Britain (12%) are far less likely to base their purchase decisions in the finance space on online consumer reviews.

In the coming weeks, we will examine the global statistics for five more categories – consumer electronics, hotels, restaurants and bars, video streaming services and healthcare services.

Methodology: The data is based on the interviews of adults aged 18 and over in 17 markets with sample sizes varying between 511 and 2628 for each market. All interviews were conducted online in November 2021. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples.