Social media is a primary source of recommendations for millennials when they are shopping, according to a new global survey of 7,000 consumers ages 18-34 conducted by Demandware.
Overall, 77% of respondents said they had bought something after seeing it shared, liked, or “favorited” by a friend on social media. The proportion is higher among younger consumers, with 84% of respondents ages 16-19 saying they bought something after seeing it on social media, while 81% of respondents ages 20-24 did so.
Unsurprisingly, Facebook was cited as the most popular source of social shopping recs, with 59% of respondents saying they had purchased something after seeing it shared there, followed by YouTube, with 41% doing so. Next up was Twitter, with 29% of respondents making a purchase, followed by Instagram at 25%, WhatsApp at 20%, Google Plus at 15%, Pinterest at 14%, and Snapchat at 12%.
It’s worth noting that a higher proportion of younger respondents said they had been prompted to make a purchase after seeing it on newer platforms including Tumblr, Snapchat and Vine. Compared to respondents ages 30-34, three times as many respondents ages 16-19 said they bought something after seeing it on Tumblr or Vine, while twice as many made a purchase because of Snapchat.
The survey results did not specify what proportion of purchases were made online versus in visits to brick-and-mortar retail establishments. On that note, while social media may indeed influence purchase decisions, so far they are not a major factor in direct referrals and conversions, as separate studies have shown that social media platforms contribute a relatively small share of total e-commerce activity.
For example, back in September of last year BI Intelligence and Moovweb found that Facebook accounted for just 1.32% of all referrals to mobile e-commerce sites, while Pinterest generated just 0.16% of all referrals to mobile commerce sites, and Twitter contributed a paltry 0.04%.