Aimee Millwood
Director of Content at Yotpo
April 5th, 2015

How Star Ratings Influence Customers’ Behavior

Which comes first, the purchase or the review?

Table Of Contents

You may say that a purchase has to be made first before a customer can review it, but what if we told you that over time, it’s the reviews that lead to more sales? And, it’s the reviews lead to more reviews?

We wanted to find out just how star ratings influence the consumer decision-making process in making purchases and writing reviews. To do so, we analyzed one million reviews for 8.6 million purchases made on 6623 products across multiple verticals and stores.

Are you ready for the results?

Higher Star Ratings Lead to More Orders

More stars really do lead to more sales. The data shows that products with higher star reviews have a much higher volume of purchases.


average star rating orders


  • Out of all purchases for all products, products with an average rating of 5 stars make up 54% of the orders, and products with an average rating of 4 stars make up 40% of the orders. This means that 94% of all purchases are made for products with an average rating of 4 stars and above.
  • Products with an average rating of 4 stars get 11.6 times more orders than products with an average star rating of 3.
  • There were 126% more orders for products with an average of 5 stars than those with an average of 4 stars.

The cause? People trust what other people have to say and this influences consumer behavior. Seeing other consumers rate a product highly makes people more likely to buy.

[Tweet “96% of all purchases are made for products with an average rating of 4 or more stars.”]

Higher-rated Products Get More Reviews

Chalk it up to the Snowball Effect, but when a few people say something good, everyone else wants to pile it on.

Average-Star-Rating_Reviews (1)

Most often, people write reviews after an extremely good or extremely bad buying experience. For stores who are worried about receiving negative reviews, the data shows the chances are slim.

People tend to write reviews for products with higher average ratings. So, more often than not, it’s the good experiences that motivate people to write.


  • 60% of reviews were written for products with an average rating of 5 stars.
  • 34% of reviews were written for products with an average 4 star rating.
  • In total, 94% of the reviews were written for products with an average rating of 4 stars and above.
  • There were 174% more reviews for products with an average rating of 5 stars than 4 stars.
  • There were seven times more reviews for products with an average rating of 4 stars than those with 3 stars.

What does the data mean?

Products with high ratings get more reviews and more purchases than those with lower ratings.

There are a couple possible reasons for this: People write more reviews for products with higher star ratings because they really are better products, not because they see the actual star rating. Or, products with higher star ratings have more purchases, so there are more people who are able to write a review.

In terms of purchases, people tend to buy products with higher star ratings more. But, since there are more reviews for higher-rated products, it’s the quantity of reviews that influence people to buy the products. It might even be the case that products that are highly purchased are instinctively given a higher rating (i.e. because this product is popular and most bought, it influences the consumer to rate it higher).

How can you use this to your advantage?

  • Stop worrying about negative reviews. The chances of receiving them are slim, and negative product reviews can still have positive effects.
  • Low-star ratings can signal possible weaknesses in your shop that you can correct in order to grow sales. Don’t be afraid to find out why this product isn’t doing so well: ask your customers what you can do to make the experience 5-star.
  • Share your stars everywhere! Use the power of social proof to your advantage and start using your reviews in marketing. People like to buy high-rating products, so share these the most.

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