- While social media have a greater effect on what consumers buy now than two years ago, most people haven't actually purchased anything through platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, according to a study by digital commerce firm Sumo Heavy. More than of half of U.S. adults (58%) said social media influences their purchase decisions, compared with 45% in 2016.
- In addition, 80% of shoppers are familiar with social commerce, though 82% have yet to transact using buy buttons or other forms of social commerce. Most people are wary because of security and privacy concerns.
- Consumers are warming up to chatbots, however, with 74% saying they're now open to making a purchase through a chatbot, compared to 55% in 2016.
Sumo Heavy's report indicates the growing importance of social media to affect the shopping habits of U.S. consumers. That greater impact on their purchase decisions may reflect the power of targeted advertising, the opinions of trusted social influencers and the shift in product browsing habits toward social platforms.
Social commerce is set to grow as consumers become increasingly comfortable shopping through platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, especially if they work to address mounting security and privacy concerns. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Google continue to add more shopping features to their platforms to engage users and lure advertisers. Facebook's Instagram this week made two shopping features broadly available to let people more easily buy products that brands and social influencers show on the image-messaging app, which has about 1 billion users worldwide.
The study also suggests that mobile marketers should invest in chatbot technology as nearly three-quarters of consumers are amenable to making purchases through the informative, text-based assistants. The firm's findings support other research that shows growing consumer adoption of chatbots. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of consumers globally would like to use messaging services like WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger or Apple's iMessage to securely interact with organizations, according to an Opinium Research survey commissioned by Salesforce's MuleSoft.