One in 10 people won’t buy products online without first consulting the likes of Facebook for advice, revealing Britons’ dependence on social media when shopping online.

The research, from marketing platform Yotpo, found that 65% of shoppers use social media sites as research tools before committing to buying online - and Facebook is the most influential social site by far.

One in 10 people won’t buy products online without first consulting social media sites for advice first. And a quarter of young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 consult social media for research every time they shop. A third of 18-34 year olds research and discover products on Instagram.

Facebook and YouTube are most likely to be the most popular social shops - 64% of shoppers report they would buy directly through Facebook

Talia Shani, Yotpo’s UK director of marketing, said: “The social commerce report highlights the growing importance of social channels for consumers in the buying process, with over a third of the UK’s population now using social media to research products before making a purchasing decision. Retailers should take note - especially in the electronic, fashion and beauty industries.”

YouTube, which currently offers no shopping options, came next with around half of consumers saying they would buy directly through the site, potentially making vloggers and YouTubers even more influential than they are today. In the future, Facebook and YouTube are most likely to be the most popular social shops.

As the average Brit spends more time using gadgets than sleeping, it’s no surprise electronics are the most researched products on social channels, with two-thirds of people consulting the likes Facebook and Twitter before investing. Furthermore, over half of health & beauty, fashion and home purchases are researched on social media before shoppers splash out online.

Around half of shoppers search for customer photos on social sites, while two-thirds of buyers look for customer reviews. Women and young shoppers are most likely to be swayed by written opinions, with 40% saying reviews are ‘very likely’ to influence their decision and 69% saying that customer reviews are the most important info on social media.

However, celebrity endorsements on the likes of Instagram may not be as effective as you might imagine. In fact, 43% of would-be consumers research and discover products on social media via friends, compared to just 16% who look to celebrities and influencers such as bloggers.

You can find the full report here.


By Jonathan Davies, editor, Digital Marketing Magazine

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