Predictions on usefulness and popularity of online reviews: evidence from mobile phones for older adults

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Online reviews are regarded as a source of information for decision-making because of the abundance and ready availability of information. Whereas, the sheer volume of online reviews makes it hard for consumers, especially the older adults who perceive more difficulties in reading reviews and obtaining information compared to younger adults, to locate the useful ones. The main objective of this study is to propose an effective method to locate valuable reviews of mobile phones for older adults. Besides, the authors also want to explore what characteristics of the technology older adults prefer. This will benefit both e-retailers and e-commerce platforms. Design/methodology/approach: After collecting online reviews related to mobile phones designed for older adults from a popular Chinese e-commerce platform (JD Mall), topic modeling, term frequency-inverse document frequency (TF-IDF), and linguistic inquiry and word count (LIWC) methods were applied to extract latent topics and uncover potential dimensions that consumers frequently referred to in their reviews. According to consumers' attitudes towards different popular topics, seven machine learning models were employed to predict the usefulness and popularity of online reviews due to their excellent performance in prediction. To improve the performance, a weighted model based on the two best-performing models was built and evaluated. Findings: Based on the TF-IDF, topic modeling, and LIWC methods, the authors find that older adults are more interested in the exterior, sound, and communication functions of mobile phones. Besides, the weighted model (Random Forest: Decision Tree = 2:1) is the best model for predicting the online review popularity, while random forest performs best in predicting the perceived usefulness of online reviews. Practical implications: This study’s findings can help e-commerce platforms and merchants identify the needs of the targeted consumers, predict reviews that will get more attention, and provide some early responses to some questions. Originality/value: The results propose that older adults pay more attention to the mobile phones' exterior, sound, and communication function, guiding future research. Besides, this paper also enriches the current studies related to making predictions based on the information contained in the online reviews.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2633-2660
Number of pages28
JournalInformation Technology and People
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2022


  • E-marketing
  • Information management
  • Information society
  • Online shopping
  • Quantitative method
  • Text analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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