New research reveals that almost half of Britons (47%) have reviewed a product online, compared to just 33% in the US.

According to the survey from recommendation agency Lexis and digital outfit Beyond, nearly half (43%) of those based in the UK go on to purchase products after engaging with brands online - but less than a third of Americans (31%) do the same.  

For one in five (20%) of both UK and US consumers, these interactions prompt them to share a recommendation.

(Click on image for a larger version)

Building on research carried out by the New York Times earlier this year (which uncovered six types of US sharers), Lexis and Beyond mirrored the excercise for the UK, creating seven profiles for this market.

1. The Altruists. Altruists share because they want to help.  Making up 39% of sharers, they post useful links, offers and tips – and in return, like to be thanked for their efforts. 

2. The Selectives. This group is particular about what they share and are aware of what their audience will enjoy, just over a quarter (26%) of online sharers are Selectives.  More likely to be women, Selectives are thoughtful and their recommendations work, with over a quarter (27%), knowing someone who has bought something as a direct result.

3. The Passionates. One in five sharers (17%) are Passionates, sharing information on subjects they are knowledgeable about to entertain and connect with people of similar interests. 

4. The Connectors. For this group, it’s all about being social. One in ten (8%) are Connectors, sharing things they can do or try with friends to fill their social diary. 

5. Trendspotters. Ahead of the curve, what Trendspotters share says something about them. More likely to be men, they make up 6% of people who share cutting edge news and creative ideas online.

6. Provacateurs. Always keen to stir up debate, Provacateurs make up a controversial 3% of the online population with strong opinions and a thirst for reactions.

7. Careerists. Climbing the career ladder, 2% of online sharers are Careerists, sharing business interests and networking across the web.

One in five (20%) of those that share things online are so-called 'High Sharers', a younger group of people who are brand loyal, own multiple web-connected devices, conduct online research that requires minimal emotional or monetary investment and are three times more likely to recommend a product online.  

While 'Low Sharers' are older, put a premium on quality, are less brand loyal, and research products online that cost more and involve more consideration.

To create this research Beyond and Lexis developed two surveys for the UK, one which focused on the types of products people have most recently researched or interacted with online (specifically in the three months prior to their interview), and a second that focused on the motivations for sharing content (this second survey was only done in the UK, while the first survey was done in the US and UK).

Sample sizes were 1,583 respondents in the US and 1,503 participants in the UK, weighted to Census benchmarks to ensure accurate representation of respective countries.

Vikki Chowney

Published 23 November, 2011 by Vikki Chowney

Vikki is head of community at TMW. You can follow her on Twitter or Google+

249 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (3)


Pete Austin @MarketingXD

This post confuses reviews and recommendations.

A lot of reviews are actually warnings, for example on Amazon about Ultraviolet

over 6 years ago

Vikki Chowney

Vikki Chowney, Head of Social at TMW

Hi Pete

I'm not sure if this confuses the two; the research covers stats on reviews first and then ra deep dive into recommendations as a separate point.

No survey is perfect of course, but this shows interesting insight in the behaviour of how people share - and the profiles formed around them.


over 6 years ago


Nils Mork-Ulnes

Hi Pete - you are right that reviews can cut both ways, and so can recommendations (recommendations can be for a competing brand, or it can be recommendation to steer clear of a brand).

However, I just wanted to clarify with regards to your comment about equating recommendations and reviews. As Vicky said above, the research has stats on consumers' propensity to recommend products, as well as on the role that review sites have in influencing consumers researching specific products online. Specifically, we found that people who tended to share content more frequently were also more likely to recommend products (i.e., they can be both advocates and detractors for any given brand). However, where the review sites come into play is as a channel where 1) prospective buyers go for information, and 2) buyers share reviews after a purchase. We also asked what ultimately had the highest influence on the buyer, and we found that review sites were more influential for some products (e.g., electronics) than for others (e.g., personal finance).

In other words, the consumer journey can take a number of different paths depending on the consumer and the product, and it is the effects of the interactions around that path that increasingly influence other consumers through the act of sharing opinions. For more details you can download the white paper here:

over 6 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.