Forbes Consulting Group Holiday Shopping Study Reveals Retailers Can Win Big with Smart Curation of Online Reviews

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Consumers Who Buy Based on Compelling Reviews Feel “Victorious” and “Successful” in the Purchase Process

Forbes Consulting Group, the leading market research company that creates direct dialogues with consumers’ emotional brains, announced today that holiday shoppers who read online reviews – and generally feel they were useful – are likely to feel more fulfilled about their overall purchase.

The study, which used the company’s proprietary applied neuroscience technology, MindSight®, demonstrates that online reviews impact the emotional experience shoppers obtain from their purchases. What matters most is helping consumers find useful sources of reviews. The more useful consumers find reviews in general, the more likely they are to use them for gift purchases (69%) and the more satisfied they are with their purchases (67%).    

“Online reviews help consumers feel a sense of confidence about their purchase. They also feel more engaged and focused in the decision-making process,” said Dr. David Forbes, founder and CEO of Forbes Consulting Group. “In turn, consumers derive a sense of mastery and success of having made a smart purchase based on the reviews.”

The study also found, however, that not all sources of online reviews are seen as being equally useful. Consumers report they are more likely to find the reviews on reputable retailer websites like Amazon,, and review websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp more valuable than others that are more anonymous, limited in the number of actual reviews, or potentially biased such as those found on manufacturer websites.

How Retailers Can Benefit from These Findings
Retailers can leverage these new insights through promotional messaging and outreach that help customers feel “in the zone” as a “skilled” shopper and highlighting the peace of mind that comes with completing their holiday shopping.

In addition, retailers need to do more than just provide customers with product reviews. They should actively curate those reviews to make them as useful as possible so customers feel more confident, engaged and accomplished. For example, making it easy for customers to tag the reviews they find helpful and then sorting them by usefulness can help consumers feel more successful. Also, retailers can consider partnering with review websites to pull in additional relevant reviews, while being wary of blogs and social media, as consumers generally tend to find those less reliable sources of reviews.

About the Study
The 2014 research consisted of an online survey of over 400 adults (ages 18+) who made a gift purchase of at least $50 in the past month. The survey was fielded November 13-18th, 2014.

About Forbes Consulting Group
The Forbes Consulting Group is a strategic and innovative market research company providing global clients with deeper levels of insight about emotions and motivations - and helping them gain strategic market advantage on the strength of these insights. Throughout its history, Forbes Consulting Group has become a valued resource for Fortune 500 companies worldwide, with a focus on financial services, CPG, retail, advertising and pharmaceuticals. The FCG service portfolio combines qualitative and quantitative research, consultation and ideation. For more information and the opportunity to receive a demo of their flagship products, including MindSight® Motivational Profiling, MindSight® Mobile and MindSight® Experiential Discovery, please contact sales(at)forbesconsulting(dot)com and follow the company on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Rebecca Metz
Metz Communications
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