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Amazon star ratings on average more positive than reviews

02/01/2021 • Reading time: ca. 4 min • by Trutz Fries

On Amazon, buyers can rate products in two different ways. Either you give a rating between 1 and 5 stars without text, or you rate the product and write a text to it. In the following, we refer to the first case as star ratings and in the second case we speak of a reviews (opens new window). If we refer to both together, then we speak of ratings.

Create an Amazon review
Figure 1: Creating an Amazon review

Amazon calculates the overall rating of a product from all ratings (star ratings + reviews). Here is an example.

Example of a product with reviews
Figure 2: Example of a product with ratings

Amazon does not directly reveal how the ratings are composed, i.e. how many of them come from reviews or pure star ratings. But on the detail page of the ratings, this information is somewhat hidden.

Total number of ratings and thereof reviews
Figure 3: Total number of ratings and thereof reviews

You can narrow this down even further by selecting a specific variant and the number of stars.

Number of 3 stars ratings and reviews thereof
Figure 4: Number of 3 star ratings and thereof reviews

In this way, you can see very precisely how star ratings and reviews are distributed for a particular child.

Namely, if you subtract the number of reviews from the total rating, then you get the number of pure star ratings.

If we take the numbers from Figure 4, then there must be 82 ratings - 10 reviews = 72 star ratings with a rating of 3.

At AMALYTIX, we collect this data (in addition to the rating for Amazon top reviews (opens new window) for each child and for each rating (1-5) and display that for each child product as follows:

Display of reviews and ratings in AMALYTIX
Figure 5: Display of reviews and star ratings in AMALYTIX

In the example above, you can see that the average rating for the star ratings of 4.8 is better than the average rating for all reviews of 3.5.

We took a closer look and looked at about 35,000 products on the German marketplace that have at least 100 reviews.

And the assumption is confirmed here as well. The average of the pure star ratings turns out better than that of the reviews, which is also illustrated by the following figure.

Average rating of star ratings and reviews
Figure 6: Average rating of star ratings and reviews

Customers are significantly more likely to give a star rating than a review, as shown by the distribution of pure star ratings compared to reviews (see Figure 7). We have analyzed just under 30 million ratings here.

Distribution of star ratings and reviews
Figure 7: Distribution of star ratings and reviews

Of the approx. 30 million ratings in total, 70% were pure star ratings and 30% reviews. Since pure star ratings are still comparatively new compared to reviews, this ratio is likely to shift further in favor of star ratings in the future.

If we look at the ratio of reviews and pure star ratings per rating (1-5), the following picture emerges:

Rating Star Rat. Rev. Diff.
1 38% 62% -23%
2 49% 51% -2%
3 67% 33% 33%
4 70% 30% 39%
5 72% 28% 44%
Total 70% 30% 39%
Table 1: Distribution of star ratings and reviews per rating (rounded)

If the pure star ratings clearly outweigh the ratings between 3 and 5 stars, the ratio is reversed for critical ratings with 1 or 2 stars. Here, there are usually more reviews than pure star ratings.

In other words: Whoever is dissatisfied also writes something about it.

This is often obvious, because dissatisfied customers are more likely to leave a text (a complaint) than satisfied customers. This was certainly one of Amazon's reasons for asking for pure star ratings, which Amazon now also asks for via the Amazon Echo, for example.

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Trutz Fries

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