70% of British consumers have read a review for a product or service on the Internet in the last month, according to the latest survey by Lightspeed Research.

The survey showed that consumers are influenced by the information they read in online reviews. A third (33%) of respondents said they would be dissuaded from buying a product after reading just two negative reviews and 75% of respondents would be deterred from buying after reading three bad reviews.

The survey probed which reviews consumers trust the most. At 75%, the consumer advice body ‘Which?’ topped the list as the most trusted source. In an age of user generated content, consumers rely on the opinions of strangers – 58% said other consumers were either ‘very trusted’ or ‘trusted’ sources of information. Professional reviewers employed by publications and websites were at the bottom of the list.

Respondents cited a wide range of sources of reviews, from search engines at the top, to shopping websites like Amazon and play.com, to shopping comparison websites like Pricerunner. Specialist websites offering reviews such as CNET as well as forums and blogs were also popular destinations. Magazines and newspapers were the least used sources of reviews.

The product purchases where reviews are most sought are personal technology items - cameras, MP3 players, mobile phones - followed by white goods, then computer hardware and software. For services, consumers were reading reviews on utility providers, ISPs, banks and financial services.

Thirty two percent of respondents have posted a review online. The good news for marketers is that 82% of these reviews were positive – with women tending to write more favourable reviews than men.

David Day, Lightspeed Research CEO Europe said, “It is clear from this research that many consumers rely on reviews and make decisions to buy or not to buy based on them. Interestingly, the fears voiced by many people about reviews being predominantly negative have not been borne out, with the vast majority of consumers writing positive reviews – suggesting that companies need to encourage customers to share information and experiences of their products and services if they want to gain and retain consumers’ trust.”

For press enquiries please contact:
Lucy Green, PR Consultant Greenfields Communications
lgreen@greenfieldscommunications.com Tel: +44 (0) 7817 698366

Ralph Risk, Marketing Director Europe – Lightspeed Research
Tel office +44 (0)20 7896 1950 mobile +44 (0)787 650 7689 rrisk@lightspeedresearch.com

Note to editors
The survey was carried out by Lightspeed Research on their UK online panel in between the 25th and 29th July 2008. There were 1,000 respondents.

About Lightspeed Research
Lightspeed Research is a global interactive data solutions provider delivering market research results through global panels. Lightspeed Research provides access to household members across 34 countries in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.
Lightspeed Research's proprietary panels are recruited and maintained to ensure quality and representative sampling — supporting studies that range in scope and complexity across most industry sectors. The company operates panels covering healthcare, financial services, automotive, B2B, telecommunications, family and more. Lightspeed Research is a member of Kantar and WPP (LSE: WPP) (NASDAQ: WPPGY), one of the world's leading communications services companies. For more information, please visit www.lightspeedresearch.com.

Published on: 12:00AM on 18th September 2008