Women's Purchasing Influenced By Social Media

Particularly among women, social media has become a major influence on consumers’ shopping habits, new research finds. 

Indeed, 81% of female consumers say they frequently buy items they’ve seen shared on social media, according to new findings from social consultancy Influence Central.

Similarly, 72% say the ability to check social-media recommendations takes the guesswork out of buying a new product, while 81% of female consumers say product reviews influence the way they shop.

In addition, full 86% of female adults agree with the following statement: “Social media content has become a chief source of online research when I’m thinking about making a purchase.”

In part, Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Influence Central, credits the convergence of mobile and social media for redefining commerce.

“Everyday, whether from our phones, laptops and tablets, we as consumers tune in (often for hours) to social platforms on which we discover a plethora of passionate first-person recommendations, often with product images, e-tail links and specific brick and mortar information,” said DeBroff.

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“Moreover, these recommendations from trusted sources come with compelling photos and videos, clever usage ideas, recipes, life hacks, and ‘how-to’s,’” DeBroff added. “Thus, a tidal wave of socially driven first person advocacy leading us to new product or brand discovery.”

By contrast, just 64% of those surveyed say they become more generally aware of a product when they see an ad for it on TV. A mere 1.9% of consumers say seeing a TV ad impacts their decision to buy the product.

Likewise, just 2.2% decide to buy a product when seeing an article or mention of it in a newspaper or magazine.

Despite its promise, however, social media has been slow to carve out a significant share of the ecommerce market. As of 2014, social media channels -- including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest -- contributed just 1.7% of total e-commerce sales, according to research firm Custora.

For its findings, Influence Central surveyed roughly 400 women, via an online, in-depth questionnaire, which looked at major behavioral trends in shopping.

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