While there is plenty of research out there looking at social’s role (or lack thereof) as an e-commerce traffic driver (with the focus on the last click likely undervaluing social’s role in the purchase journey), there has been less analysis of late on purchases made directly on social networks. The social commerce space was projected to be a burgeoning one; new data from Javelin Strategy & Research suggests that almost 1 in 5 social network users will make a purchase directly through a social platform this year.
The question was fielded among consumers who have accessed a social networking website, asking them how likely they would be to make any type of purchase on such a site in the following 12 months. Overall, 18% of respondents said they would be very likely (9%) or likely (9%) to do so. Interestingly, only 15% were neutral on the subject, with a solid majority unlikely (12%) or very unlikely (55%) to do so.
While that indicates a significant aversion to shopping on social networks, there’s reason to believe this may change over time, as youth are (predictably) far more open to doing so. Among Gen Y respondents (born 1980 through 1995), slightly more than one-quarter claimed to be either very likely (13%) or likely (14%) to make a purchase on a social network this year. That figure was matched by Gen X respondents (born 1962 through 1982), of whom 26% are likely to make a purchase.
While women appear to be the more active gender on social media, it’s men who are more interested in shopping on the platforms, according to the Javelin survey results. In fact, 23% of male respondents reported being at least likely to make a purchase directly through a social network this year, compared to 14% of female respondents.
Based on its survey results, Javelin says that 62 million Americans made a purchase on a social network during the past 12 months, with those purchases more likely to be of physical items such as apparel than of virtual items.
About the Data: The data concerning expectations of future purchases on social media comes from a survey of 3,509 consumers collected online during November 2013.
Javelin notes that:
“This report examines consumer behavior based on three segmentations by generation. Putting labels on entire generations can place exaggerated emphasis on specific birthdates, suggesting that someone born on New Year’s Eve is somehow likely to think and act differently than someone born on New Year’s Day. To minimize that effect, Javelin applies slightly overlapping 20‐year periods to define the generations.”