“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

                                                                                          About the report

                                                                                          This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


                                                                                          Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


                                                                                          Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


                                                                                          Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


                                                                                          Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

                                                                                          Below is a sample report, understand what you are buying.

                                                                                          Click to show report

                                                                                          Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted. Also, our reports come in PDF, Powerpoint, Word and Excel Databook formats.

                                                                                          Trusted by companies. Big and small.

                                                                                          Bell Logo - Mintel client
                                                                                          Boots Logo - Mintel Client
                                                                                          Kelloggs Logo - Mintel client
                                                                                          Samsung Logo - Mintel client
                                                                                          Nike Logo - Mintel client
                                                                                          Walgreens Logo - Mintel client

                                                                                          Want to speak to us directly?

                                                                                          Contact us on via phone or fill out a form with your enquiry.

                                                                                          Contact Us