Sixty-two percent of Web users read product reviews posted by others, a Deloitte Consumer Product Group-sponsored study reveals, and online shoppers often check user reviews before making purchases, other studies report. "This increasing market transparency can adversely impact the margins, market share and brand equity of consumer products companies," said Pat Conroy, vice chairman and U.S. consumer products group leader at Deloitte Touche USA. "Consumers are increasingly empowered, everyone has a voice, and information and opinions are instantly dispersed. Consumer product companies need to determine how best to capitalize on this new landscape."

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