April 05, 2015 | Shares:

How Star Ratings Influence Customers’ Behavior

Which comes first, the purchase or the review?

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.

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.
Turn Negative Reviews Into Sales Learn how to harness the positive impact of negative reviewsGet your free copy
Aimee Millwood
Aimee Millwood, Director of Content at Yotpo
Aimee loves hummus and hates misplaced commas.

@aimeemillwood – Follow me

  • Hello Tamar,

    Can I ask you two questions please?

    1. You’re going to update the volusion rich snippets? We hope to display rich snippets via Google.
    2. We’ve added Facebook Business Manager, this move has affected our Facebook token with you guys. We get an error each time we try to add our new account. How to fix it?


    Carrie S.
    Anti-Virus4U.com Team

    • Hi Carrie,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      1. There’s no ETA on when we will have rich snippets for Volusion. In the meantime, you can still use great tools like Seller Ratings and Ratings on Product Listing Ads : )

      2. Please email our awesome Support team at support@yotpo.com for help with fixing your Facebook token.


  • Augusto Herrmann

    This also happens with crowdfunded projects. The most interesting fact is that early reviews (or early backers, in the case of crowdfunded projects) are the ones that matter the most. Jamie Madigan has blogged an analysis of this on http://www.psychologyofgames.com/2015/03/psychology-and-kickstarters/ which I highly suggest anyone interested in this subject should read.

No account? Sign Up

Interested in Yotpo?

Schedule a demo with one of our marketing consultants to learn how Yotpo generates reviews and turns them into sales.

It's completely FREE
Thank you.
We'll be in touch ASAP.
In the meantime, enjoy these: