About one-third of US online shoppers say that social networking sites influence their purchasing decisions, according to the latest annual Pulse of the Online Shopper study from UPS and comScore. On the heels of Twitter’s announcement that it is abandoning buy buttons, the UPS report finds fewer than 1 in 4 respondents having purchased products via social media sites, with a separate survey from SUMO Heavy reporting even lower use of buy buttons.
Online shoppers surveyed by SUMO Heavy were asked how they feel about making purchases online on social media platforms like Facebook and Pinterest (i.e. social buy buttons). Only 1 in 10 professed to having used them before, with about one-quarter of those (2.6% overall) saying they won’t be doing so again.
On a positive note, close to 1 in 5 respondents said they were open to making purchases on social media platforms. However, more than twice as many (45%) would not use buy buttons. Additionally, more than one-quarter (26.4%) said they had never heard of making purchases on social media sites.
The UPS and comScore study takes a look at the reasons for making online purchases on social media sites, finding that the top reasons are:
- Enjoyment in looking at a range of products from multiple areas and social commerce’s greater speed; and
- It being faster as the respondent is frequently on social networks.
In other retail technology-related results from the SUMO Heavy and UPS surveys:
- Respondents to the SUMO Heavy survey are about as likely to find virtual customer service agents useful (19.5%) as to not find them helpful (22.2%);
- Respondents are most excited about the potential for virtual reality-powered online shopping experiences in the clothing and apparel (51.7%) and consumer electronics (48.5%) categories, seeing lesser appeal for them in the household appliances (27.1%) and groceries and household products (21.8%) areas;
- A majority – 55% – of respondents would not download a mobile app that alerted them with special offers on products they walk by in physical stores, though the remaining 45% would do so;
- Fewer than 1 in 3 (31%) of respondents to the UPS survey are aware of in-store beacons, and only 1 in 4 are receptive to in-store mobile messaging.
About the Data: The SUMO Heavy survey was conducted among 1,029 US adults (18+).
The UPS/comScore study is based on a survey of more than 5,000 US online shoppers in January and February 2016. All respondents had made at least 2 online purchases in a typical 3-month period.