More consumers are turning to social media to find inspiration for purchases, obtain recommendations, research gifts and find promotional discounts, according to research from Crowdtap.
Sixty-four percent of shoppers surveyed by Crowdtap used social media to find inspiration for purchases, up from 51 percent last year, while television and magazines as a source for inspiration declined, according to the poll of over 3,000 people. Holiday gift discovery on social sites increased to 76 percent from 65 percent last year.
Recommendations from friends and family on social media influenced purchase decisions the most. Sixty-eight percent of survey participants ranked them as the top factor.
Which social media platforms most affect shopping decisions? You may be surprised.
Amazon Tops List
Sixty-three percent were influenced by Amazon reviews (a powerful and often overlooked part of social media), and 24 percent were swayed by blogger endorsements.
Among the major social media platforms, Facebook was the most important for holiday purchases, influencing 59 percent of the shoppers surveyed, up from 51 percent in 2013. Shoppers preferring Twitter plunged from 20 percent to 5 percent.
Although Facebook holds the most sway overall, different social media platforms have varying degrees of importance along consumers’ path to purchase. Consumers cited Pinterest (58) percent) and Facebook (57 percent) as the best social sites for finding ideas or inspiration. Both blogs and Facebook were cited by 55 percent of consumers as best for research, and Facebook was the favorite for seeking promotions and sharing purchases.
Going Mobile Shopping
Crowdtap noted that 67 percent of shoppers used social media on their mobile devices inside stores, a 24 percent increase from last year. Half of them to research prices online, and some took photos of products, shared deals via social media, and texted friends to validate purchase decisions.
Many of them were last-minute shoppers, indicated a poll by Retale, provider of a location-based mobile app.
According to the poll, 15 percent of all holiday shoppers wait until the last-minute to do their gift-buying, and 58 percent of all last-minute shoppers use smartphones and tablets to help them shop. Among this group, 88 percent use mobile devices to locate stores and check store hours as Christmas approached.
“Last-minute shoppers need all the help they can get,” said Pat Dermody, president of Retale. “They’re turning to smartphones and tablets to help them find stores and check hours while on-the-go. The latter is especially important since most retailers offer extended hours in the days prior to Christmas. Seasoned last-minute shoppers know this and are using their mobile devices to keep track.”
The Rise of Social Shopping
The growing use of “social shopping” will impact greatly how people shop, predicts Petra Junk, head of mobile shopping at eBay UK in a sponsored article for The Guardian. Retail sales directly via social media will explode as more retailers target consumers with personalized offers and deals on social networks.
Influencing and inspiring shopping decisions through social media presents the real opportunity for retailers in 2015. Billions will be up for grabs for retailers who can influence consumers’ shopping decisions through social media.
Bottom Line: More shoppers are using social media to help them reach purchase decisions. Successful retailers will be poised to exploit the trend.
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