UK retail sales via social shopping are set to rise by 44 per cent in the next two years to £290 million, according to research released today.
A study commissioned by e-tailer eBay and conducted by retail experts Conlumino found that the value of social shopping will more than double by 2014 to an estimated £3.3 billion, with 46 per cent of social media users already using social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter while considering a purchase.
Nearly half of social media users are currently using such platforms to interact directly with retailers, highlighting the opportunity available to businesses to strengthen brand awareness via online channels.
Petra Jung, Head of Mobile Shopping at eBay, highlighted the importance of social media’s ability to allow consumers to interact with friends during shopping trips.
“Many shoppers, particularly women, want fun and inspiration as much as information when they shop, and social networks are a great way to seek out a friend’s advice, see other people’s style, and get ideas,” she said.
Last year, eBay announced a partnership with internet giant Facebook, allowing the social media company’s Open Graph system to be integrated into eBay’s X.commerce open commerce ecosystem, allowing the e-tailer to source data from users instantly.
Earlier this week, growing social media sharing site Pinterest announced plans to remove its invite only policy and said it would be launching a series of new apps to broaden its scope and this likely significant increase in its visitor numbers will accelerate the value of social shopping, according to the research.
Jung explained: “There’s a billion pound prize for UK retailers in using social to help customers make up their minds when they’re looking to buy something.
“Generating direct sales is part of the prize in social shopping but using peer-to-peer networks to influence purchasing decisions is the far bigger opportunity.”