Over the last year, the customer shopping journey evolved to include a larger reliance on social commerce — the practice of building online relationships and selling directly through social media — as a channel for finding new products and inspiration. Social platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest have heavily invested in technology enhancements to engage users and capture sales within consumers’ natural virtual habitats.
Recent catalysts like improved conversion tools and, of course, a pandemic-related inability to shop in-person, have resulted in improved sales capture rates and increased customer comfort levels with social shopping and integrated social e-commerce. Now, with 72% of younger generations preferring digital interactions with businesses over more traditional methods, the importance of building social commerce into your marketing strategy is indisputable.
Social Commerce Is Evolving
Industry trends, statistics, and forecasts can — and should — shape your 2021 marketing strategy. Capitalize on this year’s unique opportunities by employing tactics tailored to the following social e-commerce trends and data.
Note: when we refer to a “Socially-Engaged Shopper,” we’re talking about a shopper who follows influencers or engages in online conversations with brand(s) or retailer(s).
- Approximately 70% of all US-based internet users follow influencers. These influencers are bloggers, category experts, and trend-setters with dedicated followers.
- 98% of socially-engaged shoppers use social media for personal use. These shoppers are using social media to connect with friends and family, engage in social commentary, find inspiration, and discover new products.
- 62% of socially-engaged shoppers follow brand(s) or retailer(s) on social media. 44% of all shoppers, ie. those who do not follow influencers or converse with brands, follow brand(s) or retailer(s) on social media.
- 55% of Baby Boomers would prefer to do business in person, while 72% of younger generations prefer digital interactions with businesses. Digital interactions with Generations X, Y, Z, and Alpha will be more successful, though nearly half of the older age group is willing to conduct business online via social and e-commerce platforms.
Using Trends to Construct a Social Commerce Strategy
- 17% of internet users report purchasing a product in the past month because of an influencer social media post. Influencer guidance motivated consumers as much as or more than newsfeed ads and temporary story ads.
- 52% of socially-engaged shoppers have made a purchase through a social platform. 35% of non-socially-engaged consumers purchased via social commerce.
- Purchases on smartphones accounted for 39% of e-commerce purchases. Furthermore, conversion rates on smartphones reached an impressive 3.31% on Cyber Monday 2020.
- 98% of consumers aged 30-49 and 100% of consumers aged 18-29 are used to conversational interactions with brands. Messaging is a familiar experience that eliminates barriers quickly and often leads to purchase through an integrated e-commerce platform.
- In fact, 40% of shoppers have chatted online with a brand in the past year. Taking advantage of the growing digital relationship between brand and consumer is a no-brainer.
- Consumers open text messages five times more frequently than emails. Capitalize on opportunities to communicate with customers via text - especially younger audiences - to improve open rates.
- For 29% of users, a purchase is more likely to be completed on the same day as the user visits social media. Simplify the path to purchase with social commerce and motivate customers to act immediately upon exposure to your content.
Does Platform Matter?
- 30% of online shoppers report being likely to make a purchase from a social media network like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat. Convenience is key; introducing social e-commerce paths within consumers’ regular social media experiences plays on impulse and results in sales.
- The largest percentage of users, 18.3%, that completed a purchase on a social media platform came from Facebook. Facebook users are open to purchasing opportunities and make use of in-feed promotions, ads, reviews, and more to make purchasing decisions.
- 60% of Instagram users report finding new products on the platform. The Instagram community is motivated by new trends and interesting content and engages with product-related content often.
- 84% of shoppers look for insights on at least one social media platform before purchasing. Availability of reviews and supplemental information can make or break a sale opportunity on any social commerce or e-commerce platform.
Where Will Social Commerce Go in 2021?
- Social commerce sales in the United States are expected to rise to $36.09 billion this year, an increase of 34.8%. Regular industry growth combined with e-commerce trends and pandemic-related changes to shopping norms results in a positive outlook for social commerce in 2021.
- After increasing 25.2% in 2020, the number of social commerce buyers in the US will grow another 12.9% in 2021. Consumers are more comfortable with online shopping and brand, retailer, and influencer interactions, and will purchase via social channels more frequently this year.
- 42% of surveyed brands plan to sell directly through social media sites, compared to 30% in 2020. As consumers become more comfortable engaging with brands through social channels, more businesses are taking advantage of convenient sales opportunities.
- Consumers will engage in digital customer service interactions 40% more in 2021, according to a Forrester report. A larger number of social commerce interactions also means that consumers will jump into brands’ digital inboxes to solve problems.
- In 2021, 91.9% of U.S. marketers in companies with more than 100 employees were expected to use social media for marketing purposes. This is expected to rise to 92.1% by 2022. This is a 6% increase since 2013; social commerce is the new gold rush, with opportunities attracting industry professionals in droves.
Ready to join the social commerce revolution? Download a free copy of our Embracing Social Commerce Report today.