Social Media Will Become A Top Channel For Purchasing In 2021

social media top channel consumer purchasing ecommerce selling

Social media has grown immensely over the last decade and has become an integral part of people’s lives regardless of how publicly or privately they live. It is sometimes hard to wrap one’s mind around the quick rise of social media. Just think about it - Instagram did not exist until 2010. Now, it is not only the go-for place for stalking celebrities and gym crushes but also a massive commercial platform. 

The Rise Of Social Commerce 

The phenomenon of social commerce, meaning shopping via social media, is a relatively new one. Until recently, people used Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms for researching products but mostly bought them elsewhere. Now, everything is way easier. You can press ‘shop’ on a picture on Instagram and purchase what you liked instantly. 

Last year was especially great for the growth of social media shopping. Because of the pandemic, even the most conservative customers had to switch to e-commerce, and social commerce was no exception. According to research done by GfK, almost one-fifth of American consumers purchased something via social media in 2020. This is up from 13% in 2019, and the trend will continue in 2021 and following years. 

If you are looking for investment opportunities, opt for e-commerce. Sadly, the pandemic is not over. The restaurant industry, brick-and-mortar retail, and offline entertainment struggled throughout 2020 and will keep struggling for at least the first half of 2021. In contrast, everything ‘e-’ benefited from the lockdown. For example, online gambling revenues grew by 101%. This will not stop in 2021. 

Platforms Used for Social Commerce 

● Instagram 

The top platform for social media shopping is Instagram. Since as many as 70% of consumers use Instagram for researching products, it is only natural that the platform becomes a go-for place for shopping as well. The company is well-aware of the trend, hence the new Instagram Checkout feature. 

● Facebook 

Facebook is much less popular than it used to be among younger demographics, but it is still widely used for social commerce. Facebook Shops is a very convenient feature, and brands rely on it to set up an e- commerce business. One thing to consider, though, is that Facebook’s popularity is expected to keep shrinking. If you are looking for the right platform for your online retail business, Instagram is definitely a better choice. 

Other social media, including the fastest-growing of them, TikTok, are gradually getting into social media shopping as well and may soon replace Facebook as Instagram’s competitors in the social commerce field. You can't count Snapchat out yet for social commerce potential, but at this point it's been largely replaced by TikTok and Instagram.

Who Is The Target Demographic? 

When it comes to social commerce, age obviously matters. With Instagram being the top platform for social media purchasing, its most active and progressive users are the main demographics. A survey reveals that 37% of Instagram users aged 15-22 purchased something using the ‘buy’ button in 2019. However, as it always is with new trends, these are only the early birds - soon, older audiences will grow comfortable with social commerce and join. Concerns about privacy and security are the top reasons why some are wary of online shopping and social commerce. It takes time for them to embrace the idea, but once they do, social commerce may well become the next Amazon. 

What’s Next? 

● In short, social commerce will continue to grow in 2021. 

● TikTok is predicted to become a popular platform for social media shopping not only because it is getting increasingly well-liked but also the purchasing power of Gen Z-ers will keep growing as they age. 

● In turn, platforms will try to facilitate the process. Currently, many users consider social media shopping inconvenient, so platforms will keep adjusting their shopping functions to enhance the customer experience. 

● Business-to-business marketing experts will pay more attention to social commerce, and understanding it will soon become a must-have skill for everyone in the profession.

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