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Consumers increasingly influenced by social networking sites, finds eDigitalResearch and IMRG study

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The latest research from eDigitalResearch and the IMRG shows that consumers are increasingly influenced by what they see and read on social networking sites – especially through mobile. Of the 2000 UK consumers surveyed, 15% said that they have been influenced to make a purchase by adverts, groups and discussions on social networking sites.

According to the study, 48% of smartphone owners have used soclal sites to browse and research products before a purchase and 50% of UK consumers are now browsing and shopping with international retailers.

The results also found that mobile will continue to play an increasingly important role in consumers shopping and browsing habits. Over half of UK consumers (53%) now own a smart device, with a considerable amount already shopping online from their mobiles. Encouragingly, another 35% intend to do so in the near future, increasing by a dramatic 16% in just four short months.

Similarly, the research also shows that just under half (48%) of smartphone owners have already used their mobiles to browse and research products before a purchase, whilst another 16% intend to so in the near future, representing a huge opportunity for retailers.

The eCustomerServiceIndex (eCSI) also highlights the gradual uptake of Fcommerce, with almost 4% stating that they had already made purchases from retailers directly from Facebook stores.

Derek Eccleston, Research Director at eDigitalResearch, explains: “This is an exciting time for retailers and eCommerce, as they begin to branch out into new channels and gain from developments in technology. The fact that almost 4% of UK consumers have already made a purchase directly through Facebook, despite there only being a limited number of Facebook stores, indicates the extent at which consumers are eager to use emerging channels to browse and shop with retailers. We are witnessing the continued rise of MEcommerce, where consumers now have the power to dictate to retailers where, when and how they want to shop, and it is important that retailers put into place the necessary steps to facilitate this.”

He continues: “Consumer research increasingly indicates that mobile shopping is becoming more and more popular with UK shoppers. It is therefore essential that retailers begin to think about, or continue to develop, their mobile and multichannel strategies. With mobiles, consumers are literally holding access direct competitors in the palm of the hands, including those retailers from across the globe. The challenge now for retailers is to ensure that they differentiate themselves from others, creating a seamless customer journey in store, online and on their mobile sites”.

The results also show that 50% of UK consumers are now browsing and shopping with international retailers in a bid for a better deal, with 22% of these shoppers having increased their online purchases from abroad in the past 6 months.

David Smith, Managing Director at IMRG, adds: “With 1 in 11 human beings now on Facebook, the opportunity for engagement with retailers is massive; Lady Gaga’s Facebook shop page already has a staggering 31 million followers. It is also interesting to note that such a large percentage of UK consumers are comfortable with purchasing from foreign retailer sites, not surprising considering the popularity of online shopping in the UK, and a clear indication of the huge potential offered by international expansion.”

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