Social media now plays an important role in our everyday lives – both personally and professionally. We use it to voice our opinions, share our stories, showcase our achievements and connect with the artists, shows, personalities and products we love.

HELLO in eight different languagesWith the shift from high street to online shopping, we may even turn to social media to help inform our buying decisions – asking our friends and family about certain products before we purchase them.

But is the growing trend in seeking out pre-purchase advice online a UK phenomenon or is it seen elsewhere across the globe?

In this article, we look at some interesting statistics regarding the cultural differences in online behaviour, including peer recommendation and customer reviews.

The importance of customer reviews

Customer reviews provide valuable information to potential purchasers – and because they come from fellow consumers their unbiased nature is particularly valuable.

They help boost conversion rates and reduce returns, so it’s no wonder thousands of companies across many different industries see them as a valuable part of the buying cycle.

Discover more about the benefits of customer reviews

world and people icons1) In Asia Pacific, 60% of online consumers claim to look at online reviews in order to make a purchasing decision. Of that 60%, 81% are from Vietnam, 77% from China and 69% from Thailand.

2) In Australia, 60% of a group of people surveyed claimed to read online reviews or blogs before they made a decision to purchase.

3) In India, nearly 50% of consumers use – and trust – social media websites to make online purchase decisions. 71% Indians trust recommendations from family, 64% trust recommendations from friends, but only 29% rely solely on online product reviews.

4) In the United States and United Kingdom, about the same proportion of people read online reviews for products and services: 62% of Americans and 61% of Brits. However, British people post more reviews online – 47% compared to 33% in the US.

As the stats above show, the popularity of customer reviews can be seen across the globe. Companies that cater to a global audience should consider not only a multi-lingual website, but also multi-lingual customer review functionality – so that customers from all countries can leave their feedback.

Active vs. passive

Social media users can be segmented into two categories based on their online behaviour: ‘creators’ (those who take an active role – producing, commenting and sharing content) and ‘spectators’ (those who take a more passive role – following other users and enjoying content, but not posting themselves).

5) In the US, 76% of social media users are ‘spectators’, with 69% of European users fitting into this category.

6) In Asia, the bias shifts – with 76% of users in China and 80% in India sitting in the ‘creators’ category. Japan is the expectation, with the vast majority of social media users taking a spectator role.

These findings are important when considering who is posting and who is reading customer reviews. For those countries with less ‘creators’ companies will have to try harder to persuade customers to leave their feedback – using proactive content gathering methods – but once they have, those reviews are more likely to be read by others.

One of the key benefits of choosing Digital Visitor’s Social Reviews Application is that we also help you to proactively gather content – reviews, ratings, photos and videos – about your products and services. Using a series of carefully planned email communications, we will reach out to your recent buyers to encourage them to share their experiences of using your products or services to build an accurate, more positive picture of your brand, and products that consumers trust.

Here at Digital Visitor, our award-winning customer review technology has been developed to boost your website’s traffic, SEO and online sales – wherever your customers may be. To find out more, call us on +44(0)1179 055 195 or email info@digitalvisitor.com today.

References;

1) Neilsenwire

2) The 2012 Yellow Social Media Report

3) Trends in Indian Online Shopping

4) Lightspeed Research, A survey from Lexis and Beyond

5) & 6) Forrester Research