As many as 14 per cent of Britons have purchased an item through a social media channel within the last year, with fashion and beauty emerging as the two most popular sectors. However, almost half have bought something they had first seen on social media, through a different means.
Clearly social media channels are increasingly being used to inspire and make purchases online, with Instagram and Facebook emerging as the two most popular platforms. However, one in ten of those buying items through social media say they have fallen victim to a scam, with the item never arriving despite parting with money being the most common complaint.
The research was undertaken as part of an ongoing study into the habits of online shoppers, by the team behind global affiliate network, Awin, who polled 2,264 people over the age of 18. All respondents revealed that they regularly use social media, and have shopped online before.
Initially, it was found that just one in seven Britons has bought an item online through social media since April 2018, with items falling into the categories of ‘fashion/clothing’ (49 per cent) and ‘beauty’ (32 per cent) being the most popular. However, nearly half of Britons said that they had purchased an item that they had initially seen on social media, but had done so elsewhere.
The most popular platforms used to purchase items online were found to be Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, with the first two accounting for three quarters of the share between them, as shown within the infographic.
Almost one in ten of those who have bought an item through social media said that they had fallen victim to a scam, with ‘the item not arriving’ (36 per cent), ‘item different to advertised’ (26 per cent) and ‘seller stopped replying to messages’ (21 per cent) appearing as the top ways in which this happened.
More than three quarters of those polled revealed that they follow retailers on social media, shown on the map towards the bottom of the infographic. The most popular categories that followed were found to be ‘fast food’, ‘fashion/clothing’ and ‘supermarkets’.
When asked for the main reason for following the retailers, just one in ten said it was to shop through their social channels. Instead, the most popular reasons for following was ‘for funny content/memes’ (21 per cent), ‘to see pictures of the product/service’ (16 per cent) and ‘for information on the brand’ (13 per cent).
On the subject of social media influencers, 12 per cent said that they had bought an item after seeing it used or worn by a personality they follow, with just over half buying through the relevant affiliate link. Conversely, 52 per cent said that they are put off by sponsored influencer posts, and it subsequently puts them off buying the product.
These statistics come following the recent announcement from Instagram, that it is introducing a checkout feature, which will allow users to purchase products without leaving the network. Whilst it is only currently available in the USA with a limited number of partners, it is expected to be rolled out more widely in the future.
“This research supports what we are seeing, that social media is playing an increasingly important role as a retailing channel, and, when executed properly, its contribution to a brand’s success is unquestionable. Social media is more and more commonly becoming the first place consumers go to when searching for products, but it doesn’t always necessarily translate into buying, either due to concerns over fraud or shoppers hunting around to find a better deal. I expect to see an increase in the functionality offered to buy products through social media channels incorporating technologies like visual search and universal checkout.” – Ian Charlesworth, UK Country Manager, Awin
The infographic can be found here.