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Lockdown has led to a 95% sales increase in social commerce

Social Commerce: consumers turn to social during lockdown

During lockdown, UK consumers have flocked to Facebook, Instagram and Google Shopping for their spending sprees and research now predicts a 95% increase in sales of products discovered on social media and says potential growth is unlimited if UK platforms introduce checkouts.

According to ParcelHero’s latest research, 16% of UK consumers had purchased items via social media at the beginning of the year, and that figure has soared to 20% during lockdownBy the end of 2020, nearly 11 million British shoppers will have purchased something after first seeing a product on social media.

That’s despite the fact that, unlike the USA, most platforms still don’t have a checkout here in the UK.

“Almost 30% of millennials and one in four Generation Zs have bought an item online during lockdown that they first saw on social media,” says ParcelHero’s David Jinks. “Instagram, Facebook, Google and You Tube have all inspired purchases, often after viewing posts from bloggers, celebrities and friends.”

Back in December 2019, long before the lockdown hit, research released by the social commerce specialist Curalate revealed a 79% increase in UK shoppers discovering new products on social media compared with 2017. Instagram alone enjoyed a 64% increase in UK surfers using the platform to find shopping inspiration. We believe this growth continued exponentially as lockdown dragged on this year.

“It’s jaw-droppingly hard to believe, but there’s still no checkout on Instagram here in Britain, nor is there on Facebook Pay,” says Jinks. “Also, in another slap in the face to UK stores venturing into social media selling, Google continues to charge retailers to place their products on the Google Shopping search page here in the UK, despite dropping these charges in the USA.|

Nonetheless, 24% of UK businesses were selling products via social media at the beginning of the year. That’s likely to have risen to around 30% following lockdown as desperate sellers sought new ways to reach consumers.

Plus, just in case you think social media shopping isn’t, well, sociable enough, there’s even a new app enabling friends to clothes shop on a site together. Users of the new Squadded Shopping Party browser extension can invite their mates to shop on a site with them and create a poll, share favourite designs and create outfits. In the UK, it works on stores including ASOS, Boohoo, Misguided, Zara and Topshop.

“UK retailers who are still not using social media need to rethink their strategies fast,” concludes Jinks. “The impact of Covid-19 on shopping routines is likely to last many more months. Every retailer needs to be a social climber. It’s shocking that there is still very little opportunity to buy direct from social media platforms in the UK, but nonetheless, the likes of Instagram and Facebook now inspire many thousands of purchases a day. No trader can afford to remain anti-social.”

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