- About 39% of U.K. online shoppers ages 16 to 24 have used Instagram Shopping to buy a product, indicating the image-sharing platform's power to drive impulse purchases, per a survey by data and analytics firm GlobalData. That percentage of Instagram Shopping users is higher than for older age groups, such as 25 to 34 (34%), 35 to 44 (21%) and 45 to 54 (8.4%).
- Instagram Shopping is a powerful selling tool because of personalization features, such as letting shoppers follow retailers and hashtags or using the app's Explore function to discover fresh content, per GlobalData. Those personalization features help to create a more customized experience than may be available through a retailer's website or app, the researcher said.
- The popularity of Instagram Shopping among younger online consumers means that retailers need to be prepared for a possibly higher volumes of orders to avoid creating a negative perception of their service, according to the survey.
GlobalData's research indicates that Instagram has gradually transformed itself from an image-sharing app into a transactional platform. Instagram Shopping, which lets retailers tag items featured in their posts to indicate that they're available for purchase, has the power to drive direct-to-consumer sales among consumer groups who use the app to find ideas and inspiration in such product categories as fashion, beauty and interior decorating. An Instagram presence that includes shoppable tags is becoming essential to sell to young adults who are typically more comfortable than older generations with completing transactions on mobile or social platforms.
As part of its effort to promote social commerce, Instagram this month created a special account called @shop that brings together shoppable posts from online merchants. The curated account aims to showcase top shopping categories and highlight up-and-coming brands that haven't received much exposure elsewhere. The @shop account was the latest step in a series of advancements to Instagram's shopping features in the past year. Instagram in March rolled out a native checkout feature with 23 U.S. brands that let shoppers pay for products without leaving the app, and extended the tool to 55 creators and five publishers for testing last month.
Brands are recognizing the power of social commerce, especially on Facebook-owned Instagram. Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted said in a quarterly conference call that the brand's 40% jump in online sales in Q1 2019 from a year earlier was largely attributed to Instagram's direct-selling features. Adidas in the past year has been active on several social media platforms, including Twitter and Snapchat, but Instagram had the biggest effect on direct sales.
Instagram is especially popular with teens, not only in the U.K. Ninety percent of U.S. teens reported using Instagram at least once a month, according to Piper Jaffray's semiannual "Taking Stock With Teens" survey. Among the teens surveyed, 70% said they prefer brands to contact them about new products through Instagram, with Snapchat following as the preferred method for brand engagement at about 50%. As for commerce, Amazon has grown more popular in the past year, with 50% of U.S. teens naming the e-commerce giant as their most preferred shopping site, up from 44% in 2018.