According to COLLOQUY reseaerch, despite an explosion in consumer conversation technology, Americans have cut back substantially since 2008 on the opinions they share by word-of-mouth (WOM) about companies and their offerings,
Of 3,295 U.S. consumers surveyed by COLLOQUY, 58% said they often have conversations with family, friends and coworkers about products and services they’ve used. That’s down from 73% when COLLOQUY posed the same question in a 2008, a 20% drop off.
]Additionally, 57% of respondents in the latest survey said they often recommend products and services to others, compared to 75% in 2008, a 24% decline, according to the research from COLLOQUY, a LoyaltyOne company that provides loyalty marketing publishing, education and research.
The reduction in WOM activity can’t be attributed to a shortage of ways for WOM views to spread. COLLOQUY believes the economic downturn is to blame and explored the notion by taking a close look at respondents holding favorable and unfavorable outlooks compared to the previous year.
The tough economy over the last two years may be the culprit responsible for the dampened willingness to engage in brand WOM. For example, of respondents who reported their households are doing better economically this year than last, 71% said they often have conversations with others about the products and services they use. That’s very similar to what COLLOQUY found two years ago, before the recession became “the meltdown.” Yet, among those who now see themselves as worse off, just 56% reported having brand conversations and 55% said they make product recommendations.
Looking to the future, 74% of respondents who see their own financial outlook brightening said they have conversations about products and services, versus 55% for those who see their financial outlook worsening. And 67% of those who see a brighter future said they make recommendations, compared to 55% for those who see their finances tightening.
These findings suggest that worries about current employment and future prospects have crowded out discussions about brands among a significant portion of the consumer population.
COLLOQUY’s WOM survey, featuring completed responses from 3,295 U.S. consumers nationwide, was conducted in December 2010. COLLOQUY has published a white paper titled Urban Legends: Word-of-Mouth Myths, Madvocates and Champions – Debunking Myths About Brand Conversations and Word-of-Mouth in Social Media. The paper presents the complete results of the latest WOM research. It’s available free of charge at www.colloquy.com/whitepapers.