Believing is seeing: 6 in 10 purchasers now want to see user-generated product visuals before buying—a sharp increase from 2021

by | Feb 20, 2024 | Public Relations

Consumers are becoming more skeptical of brands and marketers as sure as the sun rises—not only of the slick messaging many see as intended to “trick” them into purchases, but even of the images that brands present of the products themselves. New research from PowerReviews emphasizes the increasing value consumers place on user-generated photos and videos, why consumers value this type of content—and how its presence, or absence, on product detail pages impacts purchase behavior.

The firm’s 2024 Role and Impact of User-Generated Visual Content on Shopper Behavior report, featuring insights from nearly 16,000 US consumers, affirms that while brand and retailer-provided imagery is important, consumers specifically search for photos and videos taken by people who have purchased and used a product.

user-generated product visuals

Consumers don’t just prefer user-generated visual content—it’s become a necessity

Nearly all of these thousands of consumers said they look for other customer images and videos before committing to a purchase at least some of the time. Sixty percent always search for visual UGC, up 10 percentage points from 2021 (50 percent) and 20 points from 2016 (40 percent).

Gen Z is leading the visual UGC charge: This generation is the most likely to seek out photos and videos shared by other consumers. Over 60 percent of Gen Z do so always, compared to 29 percent of Baby Boomers.

user-generated product visuals

Consumers can make confident, informed purchasing decisions with these set expectations for a product. Additionally, the authenticity of user-generated visual content boosts shoppers’ trust in a brand or retailer.

user-generated product visuals

“Consumer trust is unlocked not at the point of purchase but in the journey to it. Brands and retailers need to incorporate visual UGC on their product detail pages (PDPs),” said Steve Sivitter, CEO of 1WorldSync, parent company of PowerReviews, in a news release. “User-generated visual content isn’t just a trend; it’s a fundamental shift in how consumers make confident, informed purchase decisions. By embracing visual UGC and building trust with shoppers, brands and retailers boost sales and thrive in the age of the empowered shopper.”

user-generated product visuals

Other key findings in the report include:

  • User-generated visual content significantly impacts purchase intent: 91 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to buy a product with reviews featuring photos and videos along with text—a six percentage point increase from 2021 (85 percent) and 19-point increase from 2016 (72 percent).
  • The absence of visual UGC stops a sale in its tracks: Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of shoppers won’t purchase a product if it lacks customer photos or videos. This percentage is even higher (36 percent) among Gen Z shoppers.
  • Convenience is key: Shoppers don’t want to look hard for visual UGC. Most (84 percent) consumers want to see user-generated photos and videos included on PDPs.

Download the full report here.

The 2024 Role and Impact of User-Generated Visual Content on Shopper Behavior report is based on a survey completed by 15,870 U.S. consumers during December 2023.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter