Retail social commerce sales in the US are projected to more than double 2020 levels at $56 billion by 2023 and will reach $80 billion by 2025, according to eMarketer

According to Sprout Social’s latest research, 65 percent of shoppers have already made purchases directly through social media. The firm surveyed 1,000 US consumers to understand their motivations for buying on social media, as well as how brands can remain competitive as they start investing in the new frontier of social commerce.

Brand Awareness: Key To Driving More Social Media Purchases 

This year saw 71 percent of consumers spend more time on social media than they did in 2020. Of those Sprout Social surveyed, 34 percent reported using social media to learn about brands, products and services.

Many consumers turn to social channels for a quick and easy resource to learn about a brand and conduct product research, which is one reason why maintaining a consistent and prominent social presence (and reputation) is imperative for brands.

The research also shows that to earn a greater ROI on social, brands should prioritize discoverability by incorporating paid and organic strategies. That’s because 80 percent of consumers state that brand familiarity (i.e., knowledge of the brand) makes them more likely to buy on social. In addition, Sprout Social’s data found a positive correlation between time spent on social media and purchase likelihood based on familiarity with a brand.

It turns out audiences are very receptive to paid media as respondents ranked in-feed ads as the most common method of finding new products to buy, followed by discovery pages and story ads.

Consumers Use Social Commerce To Treat Themselves

Social commerce provides users some respite from reality, according to Sprout Social. Seventy-one percent of consumers are most likely to resort to retail therapy when on social media while 16 percent are more likely to shop for family when buying directly from social media. Only one percent reported shopping for friends via social media.

Many US consumers are now shopping for the lifestyle they envision for themselves post-pandemic. Of the products that consumers are most likely to purchase through social commerce, apparel (45 percent) tops the list followed by media (26 percent). Apps subscriptions, books, food and beverages and jewelry and other accessories are tied at 23 percent followed by cosmetics at 22 percent. Men are less likely to shop for arts and crafts, cosmetics and jewelry, but more likely to shop for app subscriptions and electronics.

Rethink Product Listings

Sprout Social found that user-generated content (UGC) is the most effective method of converting prospects into customers. Viewing a product in action is the second-most effective approach, followed by pricing information, polished photography and coupons and promo codes.

According to the data, Facebook (75 percent) is the platform consumers are most likely to buy from, followed by Instagram (41 percent), YouTube (40 percent), TikTok (21 percent) and Pinterest (21 percent). Of the platforms included in the survey, Twitch (6 percent) was the one that consumers are least likely to use for social commerce. 

Facebook and YouTube’s shoppable live video formats help brands disseminate an engaging home shopping experience for consumers in the modern age. Brands can rethink product listings by repurposing existing social content to make it more shoppable while also producing higher quality complementary resources that can be engaged in the future.