More than half of UAE & KSA residents trust review and rating sites and find them to be useful
July 29th, 2021, Sonika Choubey

More than half of UAE & KSA residents trust review and rating sites and find them to be useful

While residents of both countries display similar levels of trust in review sites, the UAE public is more likely to find them useful

As the world becomes more digitalized, online reputation can be the strongest asset and at the same time the biggest liability. Online reviews matter and are often used by consumers as their sidekick before making important decisions. YouGov’s latest study reveals the power of review and rating sites (like Google Reviews, Glassdoor, etc.) and the trust that people have in them.

In UAE, more than two-third (67%) of residents trust review and rating sites, while only 5% indicated a distrust. Similar attitudes are held by the KSA public, where 62% showed confidence in these sites, and a very small number said they do not trust them (3%).

Interestingly, men compared to females are more likely to trust these sites in both UAE (70% men vs 63% women) and KSA (63% vs 59%).

Notably, a sizable proportion of consumers in both countries haven’t made up their minds about these sites and remain undecided about their reliability (27% in KSA & 24% in UAE).

When it comes to checking the reviews or ratings of different products and services, KSA residents (48%) were more likely than people in UAE (44%) to turn to online critiques in the past 12 months while deciding on a place to eat (restaurants, cafes). Even for products like household appliances (37% in KSA & 27% in UAE) and makeup & personal care (29% vs 18%), consumers in KSA seem to be more reliant on websites for reviews and ratings than those in UAE.

Today, finding a worthwhile movie to watch has become easier than ever with the help of movie review sites like IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, etc. More than a third in KSA (35%) and a slightly lesser proportion in UAE (28%) claim to have checked audience reviews of movies before deciding to watch them.

Like movies, app ratings and reviews also have a significant impact on a consumer’s decision to download an app. Compared to people in the UAE, residents in KSA are more likely to check app reviews (38% vs 31%). However, when it comes to healthcare providers, UAE residents claim to be dependent on public’s opinion on review sites than their Saudi counterparts (28% in UAE vs 17% in KSA).

Furthermore, in the past 12 months, almost a fourth (24%) in UAE- and one in five (19%) in KSA have headed to sites like Glassdoor to find reviews and ratings of their potential employers.

With vaccination efforts ramped up and travel resuming, people can finally look forward to their travel plans. Sites like TripAdvisor, Travel Expedia, etc. played an important role in shaping up the holiday plans of people in UAE and KSA, as many claim to have used them (in the past 12 months) for either researching travel accommodations or hotels (30% in UAE & 25% in KSA) or finding suitable travel destinations or attractions (27% in UAE & 25% in KSA).

The pandemic has brought about changes in the way consumers shop and consume services. The lockdowns and subsequent absence of in-store shopping during the pandemic might have made people more reliant on reviews from current consumers. Apart from the products and services mentioned earlier, consumers claim to have accessed review websites for Tech products (23% in UAE vs. 20% in KSA), videogames (16% vs 22%), vehicle models (27% vs 26%), banks and financial products (30% vs 23%), fashion products/accessories (25% vs24%), books (16% vs 21%) and educational institutes (22% vs 18%).

Data also shows that an overwhelming majority of respondents in both UAE and KSA find these sites to be useful. The numbers are more pronounced in the UAE as compared to KSA (83% vs 79%).

Data was collected online among 2048 respondents in the UAE & KSA by YouGov’s Omnibus between July 14th- 21st 2021 using YouGov’s panel of over 11 million people worldwide