Third of US Internet users are making purchases via social media

Anne Freier

In Mobile Advertising. August 28, 2019

When it comes to retail technology, US Internet users prefer social commerce over augmented or virtual reality and voice technologies. That’s according to a study by eMarketer conducted by Bizrate Insights.

Over a third of US consumers said they used social media to make purchases. Another 27% of respondents said they were interested in social commerce even though they had not tried it just yet.

The latest figures represent an increase of 2018 when 29% of respondents had made social media purchases and 71% had not.

The findings highlight that efforts to boost eCommerce features across Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram are paying off.

For example, Snapchat earlier this year tested individual stores for select accounts through a Shopify integration.

Meanwhile, Pinterest has made it easier for shoppers to discover products.

“Social commerce has definitely emerged as one of the recent growth stories of ecommerce, fuelled by social platforms making it easier for brands to showcase their merchandise and for shoppers to follow, browse and buy products,” said Andrew Lipsman, principal analyst at eMarketer. “Despite the added features, the real driver behind this trend is that social media is providing contextual relevance to shopping in a way it didn’t previously.”

Visual search is another technology consumers are highly interested in (56%), even though not many are actively using it (13%).

AV/VR shopping interests 39% of users, but has only been trialled by 4% of shoppers.

“The reality is that social commerce took a full decade to catch its stride, and new technologies like visual search, AR and VR are still very early in their adoption curve,” Lipsman said. “As these visual enhancements get introduced into social media environments, they will eventually find useful applications for shopping—but will take some time before becoming mainstream.”