Canadian Consumers Read Reviews But Doubt Authenticity

Capterra Canada has released their latest research study of over 600 Canadians to understand the role of online user reviews in consumers’ purchasing decisions.

  • Over half of Canadian consumers think that half or more of reviews on a company’s website are fake;
  • Almost one third of Canadian consumers are reading reviews more now than they did before the pandemic;
  • 72% want to read written customer reviews, followed by articles (13%) and video testimonials (9%);
  • A quarter of consumers who leave reviews want to see responses from companies, but 41% have never received a response.

Many consumers expect not only responses to reviews, but also a considerable number of reviews to read. 28% normally read between 6 and 10 reviews, and the majority (57%) read 2-5 reviews before making a decision. When asked how users validate the trustworthiness of a review, they responded that the most important features are:

  • Rating of the product (38%)
  • Reading reviews in text form, rather than just a thumbs up or down (21%)
  • Whether or not the review is ‘verified’ (17%)
  • Date of the review (9%)

Trustworthy Reviews

The products and services for which consumers most value reviews are those which require a large investment – either costly, or time consuming – rather than cheaper goods.

How much do online reviews influence Canadian consumers based on industry

When it comes to writing reviews, consumers want a response. Of the 70% of consumers who have left a review recently, 28% expect a response from the company. If the review is negative, users expect either a personal greeting (34%), an explanation of the issue (30%), or an apology (19%).

“Rather than letting online reviews gather dust, companies should see them as an untapped marketing opportunity,” states Tessa Anaya, analyst for this study. “Reviews can boost a company’s reputation, improve the customer experience, and create a line of communication between a brand and their audience. Especially with negative reviews, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to improvement by listening and responding to customer feedback.”

You can leverage online reviews to gather valuable feedback and build trust with cautious Canadians by:

  • Collecting online reviews and asking customers to leave feedback on specific review sites
  • Featuring a good balance of ratings, reviews & comments
  • Monitoring and responding to reviews

The rise in fake or suspicious reviews are leading consumers to doubt the authenticity of the reviews they’re reading. 54% of consumers think that half or more of the reviews they read on a company’s website are fake, and 43% think that less than half are inauthentic. Users trust reviews sites more than company sites, as 44% like to check reviews on trusted platforms.

About Capterra
Capterra helps organizations around the world find the right software for their needs. Founded in 1999, Capterra’s global product footprint, verified user reviews backbone, independent research, and tailored comparison tools, provide more than five million in-market buyers with a confidence-building discovery experience. For more information, visit capterra.ca.

Survey Methodology
Capterra’s Online Reviews Survey was launched online in April 2022. The two-part survey was completed by 608 consumers and 400 employees. For the purpose of this article, we have focused on the consumer group. The sample of participants is representative of the population of Canada regarding aspects of age and gender, and the criteria for selecting participants are as follows:
• Canadian resident
• Over the age of 18
• Read online reviews “always,” “often,” “occasionally,” or “rarely” before buying a product/service

Media Contact: Eleanor Pitcher, eleanor.pitcher@gartner.com

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