Survey Shows What American Consumers Think About Social Commerce And Buying Through Social Media

Social commerce is taking over social media and can be best defined as buying done by social media users directly on the platform. In other words, the entire product purchase experience happens on social media without ever leaving the app.

The United States Market Size

In 2021 United States’ social commerce sales would rise 35.8% to $36.62 billion and the number of social commerce United States buyers will increase to 96 million in 2022, according to eMarketer. Insider Intellgence forecasted, total United States social commerce retail sales to be $79.64 billion by 2025.

However, this forecast is only about one tenth of China’s social commerce market of $351.65 billion. We see this trend carry over for Livestream shopping, as in China in 2021 there is an expected $300 billion Livestream shopping industry. Whereas in the United States the Livestream industry expectation is to pass $25 billion by 2030. We only expect these emerging trends to continue growing in the US in future years to come.

The Influencer Marketing Factory Social Commerce Survey

The Influencer Marketing Factory completed a survey of over 1,000 United States based users between December 9, 2021 and December 14, 2021. The reach of the survey placed an emphasis on Gen Z and millennials, and largely 18 to 54 year olds. The survey was completed to understand users’ thoughts about social commerce, their experiences, and behaviors when buying through social media platforms.

Consumer Preferences

While many may say that there is no substitution for shopping in real-time in-store, consumers are indicating this isn’t true. Especially with new social commerce features such as live stream shopping, virtual try-ons, instant reviews, and the personalized shopping experience social media creates. The Influencer Marketing Factory’s Social Commerce report so far for 2022 shows the following:

40% of consumers prefer online shopping, while only 13% prefer in-store shopping, and 47% indicated they prefer both. Showing that in-store shopping is trending downward, we see this difference more starkly in younger consumers than older generations. For users over 45 years old, 30% prefer in-store shopping, 38% online shopping, and 31% both. Whereas for the younger generations we see only 8% under 18 years old prefer in-store shopping, 13% for 18-24 years old, 14% for 25-34 years old, and 9% for 35-44 years old.

When asked more in depth about their social media shopping behaviors, they found 7 out of 10 users prefer to checkout directly on a platform’s app instead of a third-party website. While 56% would rather shop on social media than traditional eCommerce because they find it faster and easier.

82% of consumers have discovered a product on social media and purchased it directly on their phone through the app. Additionally, 76% had done so during the 2021 holiday season, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Hannukah, and/or Christmas.

Also, 52% indicate they shop on social media once a week or more. Secondly, 15% said once a month, 14% every few months, 8% 1-2 times a year, 5% said they never have but plan to, and just 7% never have and do not have future plans to. When shopping on social shopping, they indicated that apparel/clothing is purchased the most (22%) when asked the type of products purchased more often, followed by personal care/beauty products (15%), home products (11%), food and beverage (10%), electronics (11%), pets (9%), fitness products (8%), office products (6%), toys (6%), and other (6%).

Live Shopping

The survey indicates an upward trend of Livestream shopping, as 57% of users said they have purchased something during a live stream shopping event and 39% strongly agree that they like to discover new products during live shopping events. 56% agree they like to shop during live shopping events, and 57% agree they are more likely to purchase something if it is showcased in a live streaming. Livestream shopping experiences have been the majority positive as over 7 in 10 respondents gave their experience at least a nine on a scale of one to 10.

Social Media and Social Commerce

It is clear there is a lot of interest in social commerce and it is not foreign to consumers and has become more common, but which platforms does this usually take place on? While there are numerous platforms that have introduced social commerce, the report by the Influencer Marketing Factory focuses on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook. We have seen many new shopping features introduced on these platforms as it creates benefits for brands, consumers, and influencers. As social media platforms begin to open up these features this will allow influencers and brands to increase their revenue while increasing promotion incentives for influencers. For consumers, besides the already mentioned incentives, they are able to access their favorite social media, share product purchases with friends and family seamlessly, and find discounts exclusively on brand accounts or influencer pages.
The survey finds that when users rank influencer/content creator, brand account, or family and friends as which helped them make a purchase through social media, first place went to brand accounts, second place went to influencers/content creators, and lastly family and friends.

When asked about their online shopping experience, 74% of respondents agreed when there are special discounts offered by brands they live to take advantage of these, while 66% agreed they enjoy taking advantage of influencers’ special discounts. 7 in 10 consumers agreed when online shopping they like to save and discover new products. 62% of consumers agreed that their chances of shopping increases if there are autofill payment options as opposed to having to manually enter information repeatedly. Lastly, 75% agreed they are more likely to purchase without having shipping costs included.

Product reviews can play a large part in a consumer’s shopping decision, on social media, it creates the opportunity for instantaneous product reviews. When asked about the importance of online product reviews on a scale of one to five, the study found 81% ranked them as a 4 or higher.

Read next: Infographic Shows Privacy Practices Being Maintained By Consumers Across The Internet
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