Industry Stands To Gain Via Social Media

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The availability of information about consumer electronics through social networks has changed the way people get information about their purchases, but the practice is still new enough that companies have an opportunity to enter the equation.

According to a study from the Consumer Electronics Association, nearly a quarter of social media users say they “always or almost always” refer to their networks before purchasing a CE device, while 38% say reviews or comments by someone they know influenced their purchase decision.

“There’s a huge opportunity for the industry to get some of the people who say they rarely or never do [online social media research] to start doing so,” Chris Ely, manager of industry analysis at the CEA, tells Marketing Daily. “The fact that almost 6 in 10 say they don’t do it before [purchasing] is an opportunity for retailers and manufacturers.”

That inkling is borne out by consumers considered “high-engagement users” of social media (those who spend more than 13.5 hours a week on their social media sites). Among them, 65% say they “always or almost always” refer to their networks before purchase, while 84% were influenced by reviews or comments from someone they know.

High-engagement users were also more likely to be influenced by ads and promotions than overall users (71% vs. 23%), and more than half (53%) of those high-engagement users searched for a coupon code or discount on social media. However, fewer than half (42%) of all consumers who researched CE products on social media websites prior to purchase searched for a coupon or discount. Offering discounts or coupons via social media was also an enticing way to get consumers to like or follow their brand on social media, Ely says.

“Fifty-five percent of social media users said that discounts and promotions drove them to friend or follow a page, followed by contests at 42%,” Ely says. “We have a lot of opportunities out there, and I think people who are looking for bargains or discounts, there’s a great opportunity to use social media to promote products.”

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