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A new report has found only 2% of European ecommerce consumers don’t use any social media for product research, with YouTube (47%) the most favoured platform followed by Facebook (43%) and Instagram (40%).

The research, published by financial service provider Mollie, is based on an online survey of 5,000 consumers during July and August 2023, evenly distributed across Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.

It found 99% of European online shoppers have changed buying behaviour in the last 12 months, with half feeling negatively about their country’s economy. Some 47% did predict improvements in the next six-12 months, with nearly half (47%) expecting to spend more online in the next year.

The research also highlighted the importance of free shipping, with 83% of consumers describing it as essential. The same amount said it would factor into their decision to return to a retailer. This is up from last year where 61% of consumers stated high shipping fees would deter them from a retailer.

Furthermore, not offering free returns could lose merchants almost half (42%) of their potential sales. 27% of consumers are a lot less likely to buy from a retailer who charges for returns, and 21% definitely wouldn’t purchase from a retailer that does not offer free returns.

“In our 2022 study we saw a great deal of uncertainty from European consumers as rising inflation and the cost of living crisis followed the Covid-19 pandemic. Although we don’t face quite the headwinds we did last year, economies across Europe remain in a precarious position. The good news for online retailers is as economic confidence returns, so is the confidence of consumers who expect to spend more online this year than last year,” said Ken Serdons, CCO at Mollie.

“As spending increases, ecommerce businesses need to evolve their customer acquisition and retention strategies. This involves providing diverse payment choices, streamlining the checkout experience, and ensuring their products are discovered and well-reviewed on consumers’ preferred social media platforms. It’s clear that buying behaviour is changing rapidly, and ecommerce companies need to know how to successfully navigate the ever-evolving economic landscape, convert customers, build loyalty, and supercharge business growth.”

Social commerce will be discussed in length at this year’s ChannelX World, taking place on Wednesday 11 October 2023 in London.

Fiona Macpherson, influencer marketing lead, Wild; Emily Heath, global brand engagement director – Rexona/Sure, Unilever; Ross Allsop, head of ecommerce, Loci Footwear and James Hirst, founder & director, The Intelligence Brief, will look at Social Commerce, Insights & Influencer Evolution 2.0, register for this session, and the packed programme, now!