Starting with research, 42% of Web users around the world now rely mostly on social networks to learn more about products, services and specific brands, according to GlobalWebIndex.
That represents a 39% increase since 2015, and puts social networks just 10-percentage points behind search engines like Google, according to the study of more than 110,000 Web users.
This trend is being driven by innovations in product search functionalities across platforms like Instagram, which recently introduced product tags to support native product discovery.
A separate study conducted by GlobalWebIndex found that 53% of US consumers and 49% of UK consumers are now converting through social platforms.
The most popular platform is Facebook, through which 42% of U.S .respondents said they have now made a purchase, according to the study of some 3,500 consumers in the US and the UK.
The same research highlights that when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns, social shopping tendencies are one-and-a-half times higher, with as many as 82% of U.S. consumers reporting they would buy a product or service through social media after seeing a sales offer during the discount weekend.
Among other factors, 31% of U.S. respondents cited better product previews as a reason for choosing one ecommerce platform over another.
This is probably why Instagram is the second-most-popular platforms for purchasing from ads, GlobalWebIndex suggests.
Social-media platforms have also reached a point of maturity when it comes to the payment process.
In fact, 27% of U.S. and UK consumers now agreed they can trust social platforms to handle the payment process in much the same way as a brand or retailer.When shopping via social networks, users also like the ability to see the latest trends and influencer posts, as well as what friends have engaged with or purchased.