Social channels are where consumers spend an increasingly significant amount of time. The average person spends more than 17 hours per week on social media. That number has continually grown over the past five years with no sign of slowing down, which would help explain why the top 500 retailers reportedly generated a staggering $6.5 billion from social in 2017. Considering this, it should come as no surprise that 92 percent of marketers believe social media marketing is important to their business.
In the big picture of e-commerce, though, social media currently more about recognition than buying instantly. For example, a study by Cowen and Company found consumers who discover brands on Instagram are more likely to make a purchase on the brand’s website (40 percent) or Amazon (29 percent) than doing so on the social platform where they found a product (19 percent). Research also shows the majority of Millennials (54 percent) use social media to research products before completing a purchase. Additionally, 58 percent of all consumers stated social channels directly influence their buying decisions.
While social media is quite clearly a useful tool for e-commerce businesses, the simplicity of completing sales directly off those channels isn’t yet widely accepted. A survey conducted by SUMO revealed 82 percent of consumers have never used social buy buttons.
However, the future of e-commerce is becoming far more open to the idea of buying directly off social. A 2016 report showed 33 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds would like to make purchases directly from Facebook. But just 10 percent of 54 to 65-year-olds feel the same way.
As younger consumers become increasingly open to social buying, marketers and social channels are regularly evolving their plans to help drive sales. So while the direct buying numbers aren’t eye-popping just yet, it very much appears to be the next essential layer in driving sales via social and e-commerce as a whole.