Should restaurants and bars concern themselves with online consumer reviews?
February 9th, 2024, Bhavika Bansal

Should restaurants and bars concern themselves with online consumer reviews?

The advent of user-generated content has added impetus to the practice of posting online product reviews, where individuals share their experiences with everything from restaurants to electronic products. And reviews can have a heavy bearing on consumer choices, with the importance of them varying for different product and service categories.

Restaurants and bars (43%) top the list of products and services for which consumers - across 17 international markets - regularly use online reviews and ratings. Outpaced only by hotels (44%), they are followed by consumer electronics (42%), household products (38%) and clothes (35%). Less than one in five respondents say they use online user-generated ratings when buying financial and investment products (19%) and video streaming services (16%).

A closer look at the data for restaurants and bars by market reveals some interesting differences.

Our European respondents register scattered opinions. Significantly outpacing the international average, more than half of respondents in Spain (56%) and half of respondents in France (50%) and Italy (49%) say they regularly use such online reviews and ratings. While more than two out five consumers in Great Britain (45%) and Sweden (42%) say the same, this proportion falls to a third of consumers in Poland (35%) and Germany (32%).

Our APAC respondents display similarly varied views. Compared to nearly half of adults in Hong Kong and Singapore (49% and 47% respectively), 27% of consumers in Indonesia say they factor in online consumer ratings when choosing a restaurant or bar. 

While an equal proportion of consumers in Mexico and Canada regularly use online reviews of restaurants and bars to make purchase decisions (46% for both), a lesser, but substantially high proportion, of Americans (37%) say the same. 

Much like the international average, slightly more than two-fifths of respondents in the UAE say they use online reviews to pick a place to eat out (41%).

Data from the YouGov survey also reveals that 25-to-34-year-old and 35-to-54-year-old consumers (46%) are most likely to make purchase decisions about restaurants and bars using online consumer ratings, followed by consumers aged 18-24 (40%) and 55 and above (39%).

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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in 17 markets with sample sizes varying between 501 and 2,004 for each market. All surveys were conducted online in October 2023. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.