Description

“As consumers continue to shop more online, the importance and role of social media and product reviews will continue to increase. Even as consumers slowly return to in-store shopping, both social media and product reviews will influence the path to purchase and guide consumers’ decisions – regardless of whether the purchase is made in-store or online. Moving forward, brands and retailers will look to both engage and inform current and potential shoppers through both areas.”
– Vince DiGirolamo, Reports Director

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on the role of social media and product reviews market
  • The increase in value-focused shopping due to the recession
  • How consumers are utilizing social media on their path to purchase
  • How brands and retailers can best obtain and utilize product reviews

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
          • COVID-19: market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Market overview
                  • Figure 1: Total US retail ecommerce sales and forecast, at current prices, 2015-25
                • Impact of COVID-19 on social media and product reviews
                  • Figure 2: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on social media and product reviews, November 2020
                • Opportunities and challenges
                  • Leverage social influencers and communities
                    • Adopt and improve social commerce capabilities
                      • Follow up and incentivize product reviews
                      • The Market – Key Takeaways

                        • eCommerce sales continue to grow
                          • Product research gains importance
                            • Social commerce evolves
                            • Market Size and Forecast

                              • eCommerce sales continue to grow
                                • Figure 3: Total US retail ecommerce sales and forecast, at current prices, 2015-25
                              • Macroeconomic factors
                                • High unemployment and shaky consumer confidence drive a focus on value
                                  • Figure 4: Consumer confidence and unemployment, 2000-October 2020
                                • Overview of social media platforms
                                  • Consumers flock to social media as form of escape
                                    • The Wild West of video content
                                      • Social media commerce evolves beyond shoppable posts
                                        • Authentic social communities mutually benefit brands and consumers
                                          • Impact of COVID-19 on social media and product reviews
                                            • Figure 5: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on social media and product reviews, November 2020
                                          • Lockdown
                                            • Re-emergence
                                              • Recovery
                                                • COVID-19: US context
                                                  • Learnings from the last recession
                                                  • Market Factors

                                                    • Product research gains importance
                                                      • Figure 6: Disposable personal income change from previous period, January 2019-October 2020
                                                      • Figure 7: Unemployment and underemployment, January 2007-November 2020
                                                    • TikTok’s foggy future gives competitors a boost
                                                      • Figure 8: Instagram debuts shopping within IGTV
                                                    • Social commerce evolution increases importance of social media reviews
                                                      • Using 5G to integrate digital experiences
                                                        • Social shoppers wary of misinformation
                                                        • Market Opportunities

                                                          • Showcase product offerings with shoppable video
                                                            • Figure 9: Nordstrom shoppable IGTV video
                                                          • Bringing direction to social shopping via curation tools
                                                            • Figure 10: Kohl’s and CB2 Shoppable Collections
                                                          • Influencer recommendations drive consumer acquisitions
                                                            • Figure 11: Pinterest shopping spotlight & Instagram creator guide
                                                          • Encouraging reviews with monetary incentives
                                                            • Figure 12: ZitSticka incentive offer for product review
                                                        • Competitive Strategies – Key Takeaways

                                                          • Lean on the squad for support
                                                            • Photography brand sources consumers’ photos from social media
                                                              • Giving reviews a prominent place on social
                                                              • Competitive Strategies

                                                                • Sephora enlists trustworthy brand influencers
                                                                  • Figure 13: Sephora Squad member Grace Atwood
                                                                • Social Print Studio sources creative inspiration from social media
                                                                  • Figure 14: Social Print Studio App & Instagram
                                                                • Bala proves its worth by centering social reviews
                                                                  • Figure 15: Bala Instagram Story Reviews & Highlight
                                                              • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                                • Consumers are both attached to and overwhelmed by social media
                                                                  • Reviews are critical to the online shopping journey
                                                                    • Post-purchase engagement needs encouragement
                                                                      • Reviews must go deeper than the ratings
                                                                      • Consumer Trend Drivers and Social Media & Product Reviews

                                                                        • Social media and reviews play a role throughout the path to purchase
                                                                          • Technology
                                                                            • Figure 16: Technology Trend Driver and Pillars
                                                                          • Identity
                                                                            • Figure 17: Identity Trend Driver and Pillars
                                                                          • Value
                                                                            • Figure 18: Value Trend Driver and Pillars
                                                                          • Experiences
                                                                            • Figure 19: Experiences Trend Driver and Pillars
                                                                        • Shift in Consumer Behavior Due to COVID-19

                                                                          • Product reviews and social media have an increased role in consumers’ changing shopping habits
                                                                            • Figure 20: COVID-19 behavior shifts – Reviews and social media, June 2020
                                                                          • An increasing role for social media and product reviews across generations
                                                                              • Figure 21: COVID-19 behavior shifts – Reviews and social media by generation, June 2020
                                                                              • Figure 22: Peloton shares members’ feedback
                                                                          • Pre-purchase Research

                                                                            • Reading reviews is a safety measure
                                                                              • Figure 23: Review usage and purchases, by category, June 2020
                                                                              • Figure 24: Nikon and Consumer Reports electronics reviews
                                                                            • Use reviews to support consumers’ confidence
                                                                              • Figure 25: Pre-purchase research activities, June 2020
                                                                              • Figure 26: Etsy shares user review to guide purchase decisions
                                                                            • Consumers turn to multiple sources for reviews
                                                                              • Figure 27: Review sources, June 2020
                                                                              • Figure 28: Engadget gaming console review
                                                                            • Social media will be a critical review avenue for younger generations
                                                                              • Figure 29: Review sources, by generation, June 2020
                                                                              • Figure 30: Birchbox unboxing and product review
                                                                          • Post-purchase Behavior

                                                                            • Post-purchase engagement remains fairly low
                                                                              • Figure 31: Post-purchase behaviors, June 2020
                                                                              • Figure 32: Nuun Hydration encourages users to share feedback
                                                                            • Social media is a key step along the consumer’s path to purchase
                                                                              • Figure 33: Post-purchase behaviors, by frequency, June 2020
                                                                            • Experiences that evoke emotion (positive or negative) drive consumers to leave feedback
                                                                              • Figure 34: Reasons to write a review, June 2020
                                                                          • What Consumers Seek from Product Reviews

                                                                            • Consumers are more focused on info specific to the product, not the user
                                                                                • Figure 35: Information in reviews, June 2020
                                                                                • Figure 36: TURF Analysis – Review contents, see more of, June 2020
                                                                              • Younger consumers are open to sharing visual reviews
                                                                                • Figure 37: Information in reviews, by generation, June 2020
                                                                            • Attitudes toward Reviews and Social Media

                                                                              • Consumers don’t judge a product by the rating cover
                                                                                • Figure 38: Attitudes toward reviews, June 2020
                                                                              • Women conduct more thorough research
                                                                                • Figure 39: Attitudes toward reviews, by gender, June 2020
                                                                              • Transparency and participation from brands are key on social media
                                                                                • Figure 40: Attitudes toward social media, June 2020
                                                                              • Social media engagement is key for younger generations and multicultural consumers
                                                                                • Figure 41: Attitudes toward social media, by generation, June 2020
                                                                                • Figure 42: Attitudes toward social media, by race, June 2020
                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                              • Data sources
                                                                                • Forecast
                                                                                  • Consumer survey data
                                                                                    • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                      • Direct marketing creative
                                                                                        • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                          • Abbreviations
                                                                                          • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                              • Figure 43: Reasons to not to read a review, June 2020
                                                                                              • Figure 44: Pre-purchase research activities, by frequency, June 2020
                                                                                              • Figure 45: Important attributes of reviews, June 2020
                                                                                              • Figure 46: TURF Analysis – Review contents, comfortable sharing, June 2020

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