How do customer reviews influence online purchases in Russia?

Data Insight report shows when Russian online buyers trust customer reviews the most and what they need to learn to be ready to buy

In this survey by Data Insight and AliExpress (you can read it in Russian here), 3,000 respondents across Russia were surveyed about their habits in terms of reading or leaving customer reviews online. Read on to find out about the primary reasons online buyers read and leave reviews, what they need to learn to feel ready to buy, and which Russian regions have residents who trust online information the most.

Customer reviews online: key takeaways

This is what you need to know about the way Russians perceive online reviews:

  • 91% of respondents read online reviews before buying, and for 21% of respondents online reviews were the deciding factor
  • only 1% of respondents never read customer reviews
  • as long as a review has information about the reviewer’s experience using a product, online buyers value reviews from acquaintances, strangers, and industry professionals equally
  • reviews that are detailed and have product photos are perceived as the most trustworthy
  • reviewers are more inclined to write favorable reviews (except for the jaded residents of Moscow and Saint Petersburg – incidentally, also 2 regions where buyers place the least trust in online sources of product information)

When do customer reviews matter to online buyers?

The importance of customer reviews by industry

According to Nielsen Russia data quoted in this Russian Search Marketing post, “44% of online users trust online reviews, and 37% of online buyers report that their decision on whether to buy a product was influenced by online reviews.” For several online shopping segments, these numbers might be even higher.

Here’s a breakdown of how customer reviews influenced purchasing decisions in several specific e-commerce segments:

How customer reviews influence purchasing decisions in Russia by industry

How customer reviews influence purchasing decisions in Russia by industry. Source: Data Insight

Reasons to read customer reviews

The leading reason to read customer reviews is the need to understand if a particular product would be a good fit: whether when choosing cosmetics for a particular skin tone, clothing for a specific body type, or any other product based on personal preferences.

In the 4% of cases when respondents were not reading customer reviews, most of them chose to skip them because that particular product had a detailed description and they didn’t need any additional information.

Reasons to read customer reviews for Russian online buyers

Reasons to read customer reviews for Russian online buyers. Source: Data Insight

When do online buyers leave customer reviews?

Only 12% of respondents leave customer reviews almost after every purchase. The majority of respondents (37%) only leave reviews occasionally. Demographic data shows that younger online buyers are more likely to write reviews.

Based on the survey, most of the reviews left by Russians are motivated by product quality, good or bad. For most respondents, their desire to praise a high-quality product is the main reason to post reviews:

  • high quality of a purchase (44%)
  • desire to share their opinion (43%)
  • low quality of their purchase (38%)
Reasons to leave a review for Russian respondents

Reasons to leave a review for Russian respondents. Source: Data Insight

Are customer reviews perceived differently across Russia?

Not surprisingly, there are some differences in how online buyers in different regions perceive online reviews. For example, Moscow and Moscow region residents are more mistrustful than an average Russian.

Differences in how Russian online buyers in different regions perceive online reviews

Differences in how Russian online buyers in different regions perceive online reviews. Source: Data Insight

Whether you’re targeting the suspicious buyers in Moscow and Moscow region, or the more optimistic buyers elsewhere, Yandex experts can help you bring Russian customers to your website.

Find out more about working with our bilingual experts and reaching the Russian online market here.