Early in my technology writing career, I found myself standing in the graphics card aisle of a major computer superstore, contemplating the raft of 3D accelerators available. I noticed this guy walk in, carrying a Computer Gaming World magazine, back in that publication's heyday. He had the magazine turned to the my most recent roundup of 3D graphics card. So I waited and watched.
He walked up and down the row of cards, stacked on eight-foot high shelves. He would look at the magazine, flip through the pages, grab a package off the shelf, then put it back. The cycle of reading a review, looking at a card, then returning it continued for a good fifteen minutes. Finally, he snapped the magazine shut, looked at the rows of cards one more time. Then he picked up the cheapest card — one I hadn't even reviewed — and headed towards the cash register.
I felt a little deflated, needless to say. All that work benchmarking a dozen or more graphics cards. All that seemed to do was confuse the poor guy looking for an upgrade for his PC.
Fast forward to today, and benchmarking is practically a big business. Companies like Futuremark, Basemark, and Kishonti built businesses on creating benchmarks. Tech sites of all stripes, PC, mobile, and mainstream, run benchmarks and produce endless charts of results. I'm not criticizing their work; I've certainly run thousands of benchmarks over the years and learned a lot about system performance. I read a lot of what the modern enthusiast and tech sites put out, and check out the benchmark charts pretty frequently.
I think most users really don't care about "raw performance".
I think, however, most users really don't care about performance. They may care about responsiveness — how quickly the system responds to something they do — but not about raw performance. On top of not caring, most users find their performance perfectly adequate. Unless you're creating high end content, running performance-intensive games, or compiling most modern PCs and mobile devices have all the performance people need. For mobile in particular, users tend to value battery life above performance by a wide margin.
So while I might find benchmarks useful to me, I'm part of that tiny fraction of users who care about performance.