Buying through social media offers huge opportunity for brands, report says

The report was produced by media agency Essence, its first major research dive into social commerce.

Brands have significant opportunities in social commerce, with three-quarters of consumers saying they will buy via social media, a report from media agency Essence has revealed.

From a survey of 2,200 individuals from across the globe, approximately 75% said they would be likely to buy through social media in the future, a proportion that fell marginally to 70% for U.K. consumers.

In the U.K., the most purchased categories via social commerce were apparel (23%), beauty (20%) and home electronics (20%). Just over half of Brits (52%) took part in live shopping and conversational commerce events, with 85% of those people saying they enjoyed the experience.

Respondents were quizzed from across 11 countries, including the U.K., U.S. and Japan. Worldwide, 41% said they had made purchases, or intend to make purchases, via social platforms.

High-value transactions were mostly transactions driven by men (35%) and millennials (72%).

Livestreaming also emerged as a major driver of social commerce spend. Four out of five respondents said they were likely to buy on social media if they had viewed a livestream or been involved in "conversational commerce." Livestreaming is increasingly popular, with brands such as Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Burberry all launching their autumn and winter 2021 collections online.

Aniket Basu, senior director of technology and ecommerce at Essence, said: “We expect that the future of online shopping, and not just social commerce, will be discovery-driven. Customers tend to be exposed to new and innovative products as they browse more on social media or encounter algorithmically mediated recommendations from friends and family on social platforms. 

“Ecommerce is maturing as a field, with social media giving brands and retailers new ways to reach audiences and new growth opportunities. In this environment, social commerce serves as a key future-proofing method for the next five years and beyond," Basu added. 

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