Why Men Don’t Read Product Reviews, and Why They Should

Photo (cc) by Elvert Barnes

A new survey suggests shopping online is like the real thing: Women care about the “experience,” while men just want to get the best deal and get out of there.

The study by Postcode Anywhere involved 1,000 people in the U.K., not the United States. But this sounds familiar…

“The poll agrees with a number of recent studies implying men prefer to read product descriptions and specifications than pore over online reviews. It has also been suggested that men respond less well to interaction in the buying process.”

The survey also found 36 percent more women than men rated customer reviews as “very important,” and that 22 percent more guys said reviews were irrelevant or didn’t matter much.

Why? Maybe because when it comes to money (and directions), men tend to assume they know what they’re doing even when they don’t. A New York Times story last year found men’s overconfidence hurt them as investors: “Male investors, as a group, appear to be overconfident… Women, on the other hand, appear more likely to acknowledge when they don’t know something – like the direction of the stock market or of the price of a stock or a bond.”

Sure, product descriptions can be helpful – when they avoid making features sound unique that aren’t. But reviews are more helpful – if you don’t waste time reading the lame ones. And with these tips, figuring out what to ignore will only take a few seconds. You should skip the ones that…

  1. Read like product descriptions. You’ve already read about all the feature highlights. What you need to hear about are reliability, sturdy construction, and value, which the description doesn’t cover.
  2. Vaguely praise. How often are you overly pleased with a product that did what you expected (and paid for) it to do? Skim and look for a reason why the product is so special. If it’s not there, move on.
  3. Lack specific complaints. Generally give more credibility to negative reviews, because it makes sense someone would want to review a product they’re unhappy with. But watch out for ones that just repeat things like “this sucks” or “it didn’t work.”
  4. Make no sense. Many reviews start out with this improbable but common sort of sentence: “This looked terrible but I bought it anyway.” They usually go on to say it’s surprisingly great. But why would you buy something that looked terrible? Don’t trust their judgment.
  5. Appear simultaneously. Several reviews posted in a short span of time probably came from the same source, and they may have bought it because they got a special bargain. (More cynically, the merchant could’ve paid fake reviewers to post a review.) The obvious exception is if the reviews all pop up right after the release date.
  6. Repeat the full product name. Unless they’re explicitly comparing models, ignore reviews that use the full name of a product more than once. These are probably spammers trying to game search engine results.

Also check out 11 Tips to Avoid Fake Reviews. And as the shopping season picks up, you may want to look at 5 Pitfalls of Online Holiday Shopping.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
8 Common and Costly Homebuying Myths
8 Common and Costly Homebuying Myths

Think you’re ready to buy a house? Don’t fall victim to these rookie mistakes.

5 Home Improvements That Help You ‘Age in Place’
5 Home Improvements That Help You ‘Age in Place’

These safety-conscious home upgrades can help retirees stay in their home.

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

7 Surprising Advantages of Downsizing as a Retiree
7 Surprising Advantages of Downsizing as a Retiree

Downsizing your home offers many benefits, including some you may not have anticipated.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years
10 Cars You Are Most Likely to Keep for 15 Years

The cars that owners hold onto the longest have one thing in common, a new study shows.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car
9 Things You Should Never Leave in a Car

Thinking of leaving these possessions in a car? Prepare for unexpected consequences.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

5 States Lowering Taxes This Year and 2 Raising Them
5 States Lowering Taxes This Year and 2 Raising Them

State personal income tax rates, brackets and deductions just changed in these places.

20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020
20 Amazon Purchases We Loved in 2020

These practical products made everyday life a little easier last year — and will do so in the new year, too.

10 Times You’re Right to Be a Cheapskate
10 Times You’re Right to Be a Cheapskate

Clever shoppers can save money without sacrificing quality. Here is how to do it.

Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best

One brand takes five of the top honors, while another ranks highest in three categories.

The 10 Golden Rules of Becoming a Millionaire
The 10 Golden Rules of Becoming a Millionaire

I’m a millionaire several times over. I got here the same way you can — by following these simple steps.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.