PwC has released a new study [pdf] examining the behavior of online shoppers across 11 countries on social media. The study – which argues that social media is unlikely to soon become an important retail channel – finds that only 12% of online shoppers surveyed in 2012 reported having bought an item through a social media site, and less than 1 in 5 had bought a product due to information found on a social media site. The survey results also show that social media users are attracted to brands’ social sites primarily by deals, promotions, and sales (49%), while few are there to research products before buying them (10%).
The study dubs these respondents “deal hunters.” Those who visit brands’ social media sites because they are interested in new product offerings (28%), because they shop with the brand (17%), because they’re interested in interacting with the brand (9%), or because they’re interested in interacting with others that follow the brand (7%) fall into the “brand lovers” bucket.
Interestingly, these respondents are more likely than the overall online shopping sample to shop via several channels, including in physical stores, via PC, or via smart device. PwC indicates that this means that “despite its inability to lead directly to a purchase, social media activity is a pretty strong indicator of how much some shoppers will buy, both online and in stores.”
- 7 in 10 online shoppers surveyed said they never shop through social media.
- Only about 5% said they would be shopping more via social media over the next year.
- Just 5% of respondents said they visit brands’ social media sites to access customer service, a low number compared to recent reports, such as this one from NM Incite.
About the Data: PwC surveyed 11,067 online shoppers during July and August 2012. Respondents in each market were chosen to reflect the national profiles in terms of age, gender, employment status, and region. The study includes US, UK, China, Switzerland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Brazil, Canada, Russia, and Turkey.