Why Consumers Write Reviews: 5 Research-Backed Reasons

Some consumers don’t have the time, others are simply indifferent.

So why do many consumers write reviews?

If you run a business, it’s a question worth looking at. 

Around 5%-10% of consumers write reviews. That might not seem like a lot, but it is when reviews drive 20% of sales, amounting to a whopping $400 billion of total e-commerce sales.

Still, the benefits of reviews make them priceless for your business.

To get more reviews, it’s important to understand why consumers write them. And the reasons aren’t just interesting; they’ll also help you take your review strategy to the next level.

So looking at what consumer research tells us, let’s break down the psychology behind writing reviews.

Why Do People Write Reviews?

1. Strong Emotions Inspire Expression

It’s only natural that strong emotions, whether positive or negative, spur expression. 

And for consumers, reviews are the go-to outlet for sharing their experiences and being heard.

In fact, research shows that customers are two to three times more likely to write a negative review after a bad experience.

Another study found that 56% of customers say an “excellent” product or service is the most common reason to write a review while 41% of customers say it’s “unsatisfactory reasons other than the product arriving broken”.

So it’s largely positive and negative experiences that inspire consumers to write reviews. 

It makes sense, as a mixed or neutral experience won’t inspire the kind of emotions that customers will feel compelled to express. Businesses that provide an average experience, as a result, give customers less to feel and talk about.

2. The Urge To Share Thoughts And Opinions 

Call it the social media effect, but sharing and expressing one’s self online is commonplace in today’s world.

And since review sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook provide a stage and audience to share and be heard, it’s easier than ever for consumers to express their thoughts and opinions online.

But what drives online sharing?

A consumer study by The New York Times narrowed it down to five reasons:

  • To bring valuable and entertaining content to others (49%)
  • To define ourselves to others (68%)
  • To connect with others who share their interests (73%)
  • Self-fulfillment and feeling more involved in the world (69%)
  • To support causes or brands they care about (84%)

So all of these reasons can fuel the urge for reviewers to share their thoughts and opinions online. Ultimately, it boils down to feeling a sense of satisfaction, recognition, or both.

3. To Help Other Customers

Nine in ten customers read reviews before getting their wallets out. Reading reviews provides guidance and buying confidence, helping customers trust a business before making the decision to interact with it.

Consumers who actively read reviews will know all too well about the help reviews provide their buying decisions. 

And for that reason, reviewing the products or services they buy is a simple way to help other consumers who are in the same boat. 

These are the honest opinions they look for themselves before buying online, so writing reviews is a way to give back and contribute to the discussion.

So to cite the above study, consumers who choose to help other consumers by writing reviews is a means to deliver valuable information to others that provides them with a sense of self-fulfillment.

4. Sense Of Community And Brand Loyalty 

Being a consumer of certain products and services comes with a sense of belonging. Fitness products, niche tech, and “hidden gem” local businesses are prime examples, for which some consumers will feel a natural impulse to advocate and support.

The same goes for brand loyalty. Consumers choosing to buy from businesses that share their values and beliefs is on the rise, so these consumers may also feel a sense of duty to promote and endorse the businesses they genuinely believe are good.

In both cases, consumers who write reviews are driven by a need to fit in or associate with a certain community, combined with a desire to get the word out about brands they support or feel a sense of loyal responsibility towards.

And studies show that 89% of customers stay loyal to brands that share their values.

For that reason alone, businesses that champion their brand values by providing outstanding customer service have a higher chance of attracting customers, generating customer loyalty, and receiving more reviews.

5. Review Requests 

You might feel like you’re bothering your customers by requesting reviews, but 70% of consumers will post a review if asked.

And since 87% of people have or are willing to write reviews, the numbers are highly in favor of businesses that want to get more reviews.

So what’s the psychology behind a completed review request?

It can be several reasons:

  • A customer’s desire to reciprocate when a business goes above and beyond for them
  • To express gratitude when a business follows up with them post-purchase
  • Altruism – to help out and fulfill a business’s request for a favor

The bottom line? Review requests are another reason customers are motivated to write reviews, which means that it’s worth asking your customers for them as much as possible.

But Businesses Still Need A Strategy To Get Reviews

To sum up, consumers write reviews due to strong positive or negative experiences, the urge to share and express online, helping others, feeling a sense of belonging, and review requests – because they were asked.

So there are plenty of reasons consumers write reviews. 

But it has to be said: businesses still need a strategy to get more reviews.

If requesting reviews is the first thing that comes to mind, you’re on the right track. Better yet, your business might already be doing this.

The big problem with sending review requests, however, is that it’s a manual, time-consuming job.

The better alternative is to automate the process using a communication strategy that’s proven to convert, which eliminates all the hard work while increasing real customer reviews.

How? It’s simple: start using ReputationStacker


Ian Kirby has been working in digital marketing for over 15 years. Having worked both with and for digital marketing agencies and in-house with multiple companies, he has a specific interest and expertise in online reputation management, online reviews, and the implementation of business systems. Ian’s writing, videos, and interviews have garnered millions of reads, views, and listens.


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