Social commerce soars as 61% of 25 to 34-year-olds buys on social media

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated consumer adoption of online shopping, including shopping on social media. According to Mintel, more 39% of all US consumers say they have made a purchase on social media and would do so again.

The opportunity for engagement is huge with 90% of consumers aware of brand pages/accounts on social media, and only 10% saying they avoid brands’ social media pages.

Katie Hansen, Retail and eCommerce Analyst at Mintel, said: “Social commerce is the next evolution of eCommerce and will benefit from consumers’ heavy use of online shopping in recent years. As with the adoption of online shopping, it will take time for consumers to become comfortable purchasing items via social media. Although it will take time for them to do so on a regular basis, the category will see a boost as a result of increasing engagement from younger consumers as they grow into adulthood and earn more money. That said, social commerce will in no way replace traditional eCommerce or in-store shopping, but it will become a key part of their shopping repertoire,” stated Hansen.

Consumers need education and reassurance; they are concerned about their data or that they’ll never receive the item purchased

Security and trust barriers

While consumers are increasingly curious about social commerce, barriers such as data security and shipping hold some back from participating. Two in five (38%) consumers say they haven’t made a purchase directly on a social media platform due to the lack of trust in the security of their payment information. Another 23% say it’s because they are worried they will never receive their purchase. This signals that education on social commerce is still needed.

“As with any new concept, consumers still need a fair amount of education and reassurance on the process, as they are concerned that their data might not be secure and/or that they’ll never receive the item they purchase. Brands will need to demonstrate to consumers how shopping on social media is quite similar to shopping via a website or mobile app and how, in fact, social commerce can even further streamline the process,” continued Hansen.

Where brands and consumers connect

Mintel research shows that social media can be a seamless avenue for brands and consumers to connect. Consumers of varying backgrounds are interested in social commerce, most notable are:

  • parents with children under the age of 18 (81%)
  • Millennials (81%)
  • Gen Z (68%)
  • Black consumers (62%).

Nearly three in 10 Black (29%) and Asian (27%) consumers browse for products on social media but purchase on a website. This is true for around a quarter of White (24%) and Hispanic (21%) consumers. This showcases a notable percentage of consumers who are leaving social channels to make purchases and indicates how important it is for brands to represent consumers of all backgrounds to encourage a purchase.

Diversity now a must-have

“Diversity, equity and inclusion actions are not a ‘nice-to-have’ but a ‘must-have’ these days if brands want to connect with consumers. Brands need to be sure they are making their social feed diverse to show consumers that it takes diversity seriously, cares about its consumers; and offers products and solutions that meet a list of diverse needs. This could entail social media posts featuring diverse models, talking about charitable efforts that support communities of colour, or highlighting internal operations aimed to hire and promote employees of colour.

“Consumers want to see themselves portrayed in brands’ efforts as they are more likely to feel that the brand is for them, but a seamless, trustworthy experience is the first critical piece in encouraging them to shop. Brands should take note of this desire and make a conscious effort to highlight different individuals in their social posts in order to better connect with their consumers,” concluded Hansen.

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