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From “Like” to “Buy”: Social Commerce Enters the Mainstream

By Michael Ro | July 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

MarketingCustomer Acquisition and Retention

Consumer Adoption of Social Commerce Increases

You already knew many consumers tried out various online shopping channels for the first time amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But did you know a sizable chunk of those purchases were made via social channels? Quit thinking of social commerce revenue as mere loose change found in your digital commerce diversification strategy couch cushions. Over a quarter of social media users within the Gartner Consumer Community (GCC) say they’ve made a purchase as a result of engaging with brands and influencers on social media since the coronavirus outbreak. Even when you only consider direct purchases off social media platforms or purchases from first and third-party websites after seeing a brand’s post on social, 14% of consumers had used social commerce in the last 30 days as of October 2020.

Bar chart illustrating percent change in consumers who saw a brand’s post and then visited third-party shopping site to make a purchase, clicked through a brand’s post to their site and bought something, and saw a brand’s post and then visited their site to make a purchase, from 2019 to 2020

Moreover, eMarketer projects that the number of social commerce users will hit 101.1 million by 2023. And it’s not an unrealistic number. Over half of GCC respondents who have ever tried social commerce say they plan on using it again. Spurred by these impressive numbers, social media platforms beyond major players like Facebook and Instagram have begun making moves. Pinterest recently announced expanding its partnership with Shopify to serve more countries. Likewise, TikTok has become a mainstay for brands eager to promote discount codes.

Play to Social Commerce’s Strengths

It’s clear brands should look to turn social media followers and users into shoppers. But they must put in the work by proactively building on the strengths of social commerce in order to capitalize on the promise of bold industry projections. We mentioned TikTok-exclusive discounts. Turns out, there’s nothing like monetary incentives to draw in new users. According to Gartner’s Consumer Advertising & Content Marketing Preference Survey, 41% of consumers seek out promotional content about sales and discounts from brands on social media. This makes digital commerce promotions the most desirable brand content on social.

In addition, a deeper dive into the attitudes of social commerce shoppers through Gartner’s Values and Lifestyle Survey revealed that these users put heavier emphasis on convenience and choice as values versus the general population. When partnering with social platforms, “one-click-shop” is the name of the game. Brand marketers must guarantee a swift, flexible shopping process for their customers.

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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