In the United States, product ratings and review has grown to become a major factor that influences internet users when deciding where to shop online. In a 2019 survey on the most common purchase influence among online shoppers in the United States, 62 percent of respondents stated that online customer reviews were very helpful. According to a survey, the primary reason why internet users leave online reviews was to inform others about their customer experience. Conversely, overall product performance and buyer satisfaction ranked as the most helpful information when reading online product reviews. Overall, U.S. online users also felt that online reviews were a good source of specific information for products they wanted to buy, ranking only behind search engines in that regard.
Product and service reviews via social and mobile channels have also gained in popularity: during a 2019 holiday shopper survey, it was found that 23 percent of responding U.S. shoppers were going to use social media to assist them in their holiday shopping. The most common uses of social media for this purpose were reading reviews, browsing products, and finding promotions. Product reviews and unboxing videos rank among the most popular types of social media video content. A significant share of consumers was also more likely to search for customer reviews on their smartphones instead of speaking to a sales associate in-store, highlighting the popularity easily accessible information.
Some of the most popular online review sites for conducting research on local businesses include Google, Yelp, Facebook, and TripAdvisor. In the third quarter of 2019, Yelp alone generated net revenues of over 262 million U.S. dollars and reaching over a hundred million unique mobile visitors in that time period. The reliability of online customer reviews has been generally considered questionable owing to the prevalence of abusive practices akin to ballot stuffing of either favorable reviews by the seller or, negative reviews by competitors.