Young adults, in particular young women, are increasingly interacting with retailers through social media but most do not purchase goods through the medium, new research has revealed.
The report from consumer research group Shoppercentric, found only nine per cent of consumers are following brands or retailers on social media and just six per cent make purchases through it, although 16 to 24 year olds are the most active on social media with 38 per cent of them following retailers.
Facebook and retail websites are most popular amongst women yet females are less likely to buy products through these sites, and they are also more reluctant to engage in m-commerce with only eight per cent using mobile shopping apps compared to 14 per cent of men.
Danielle Pinnington, Managing Director at Shoppercentric, said: “The use of social networking and mobile commerce in the business context is still in its early stages of development.
“However, as these figures are suggesting, the gender and age divides between these social and mobile platforms could be put to good use by retailers to better target and engage their customers.”
One reason for the disparity between usage and sales on social online platforms may be down to consumer’s skepticism over retailer’s intentions.
Over half (54 per cent) of shoppers believe that retailers are using social media to sell products to them whereas 32 per cent of respondents said they used the media to feel part of a group and 29 per cent said they used it to share thoughts or join a forum.
A report from Retail Gazette last month looked into how retailers are beginning to invest in social media platforms like Facebook and hope to turn huge follower numbers in to huge sales figures.
Retail websites are a much more established way of selling products at present, the research reveals, with three out of four respondents saying they visit these sites and 63 per cent saying that their main motivation for doing so is to buy something.
“This latest report gives us valuable insight into how different customers today are embracing social media and the impact that it is having on how they both search for product information and make buying decisions,” said Dr Susan Rose, Associate Professor in Marketing Management, Henley Business School.
“As we move to a truly connected world, retailers are faced with a bewildering array of new media such as Twitter and Facebook. This report helps us to understand this new customer meeting place