Yes, some customer reviews are false, and yes, companies have been known to manipulate star ratings. But consumers still largely trust digital word-of-mouth. The surge in global online reviews—up by 87 percent from December 2019 to December 2020—will add to their credibility. In lockdown, customers focused on streaming services, food and beverage, and health products; out-of-home services were less reviewed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an explosion in the number of product reviews.
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To read the article, see “Five-star growth: Using online ratings to design better products,” August 12, 2021.