Canadians seek authenticity in online reviews, seeking truthful product reviews and real people

Canadians prefer authentic online reviews, study shows

In keeping with the country’s reputation for making smart choices, Canadians today are not as easily swayed by product reviews that don’t ring true and are very discerning about whether or not they are written by ‘real people.’

A recent survey commissioned by Canadian Tire shows that online ratings and reviews influence 80% of Canadians' purchasing decisions, and 80% are looking for truthful product reviews written by real people and 70% of respondents noting that they have confidence and belief in such reviews.

Based on a report by the Innovative Research Group and Heartbeat Analytics on April 24 to 27, the online survey of 2,340 Canadians, aged 30-49 years old, was meant to measure trust in online reviews and their sources. It appears that Canadians want to trust the product reviews they read online (81%) while a large majority (78%) would like Canadian retailers to be more proactive in ensuring that product reviews, ratings and testimonials are authentic and truthful.

The survey also found that 96% of Ontarians indicate online product reviews, ratings and testimonials influence their purchasing decisions – the highest among all provinces.

This research supports the investment Canadian Tire, a family company founded in 1922, is making in its 'Tested for Life' in Canada. The program offers customers credible ways to find quality products that have been tested and reviewed by real Canadians.

"Tested for Life in Canada is our commitment to delivering quality products that empower Canadians to shop with confidence," says Susan O'Brien, senior vice-president, marketing and corporate affairs for Canadian Tire. "In this age of increasing consumer skepticism and fake news, this program brings authentic product reviews written by real people to help them make their purchase decisions. We value our customers' trust and are working every day to earn it."

"We have a rigorous process for vetting our testers to ensure we're selecting the right people who are an appropriate fit for the products they test," adds O'Brien. "While many people want to become testers, only carefully vetted testers are selected."

To date, Canadian Tire testers have tested more than 2,100 products. 1,700 have received badges and there are 590 video testimonials.

Further, online product reviews, ratings and testimonials have a higher influence on purchasing decisions for respondents aged 30 to 34 than their older cohorts.

Additionally, women aged 30 to 34 are most likely to indicate that online product reviews have a lot of influence on their purchasing decisions.

Consumers ranging in age from 45 to 49 showed the greatest desire for retailers to be more proactive in verifying that product reviews online are accurate and truthful with nearly seven in 10 (68%) of respondents saying when they read a product review, rating, or testimonial that they believe to be dishonest or biased, it lowers their trust in the retailer, especially among Atlantic Canadians.

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