Only 5 percent of U.S. shoppers have ever made a purchase on a social media site, but 20 percent said they would consider it, according to a DigitasLBi study conducted online by Harris Poll.
Social commerce sales in the United States are expected to reach $14 billion by 2015. With this in mind, social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are ramping up their commerce capabilities. Twitter has been rumored to be testing e-commerce in its mobile settings and Facebook users spotted a "Buy Now" button on some brand pages.
"Our study reveals tremendous untapped potential for growth in social commerce, especially among younger consumers," said Tony Weisman, CEO, DigitasLBi North America. "The 5 percent of Americans who have made a purchase on a social media site equates to around $14 billion in online retail revenue. If we can reach 20 percent, that figure scales to $56 billion. To activate that potential, brands and social networks need to provide social shopping experiences that meet the needs of consumers, including security around financial data, privacy, and a seamless buying process."
What is holding consumers back? Of those surveyed, 42 percent said they would more likely shop on social media if they knew their credit card information was secure. Another 38 percent of consumers wanted to know that their purchases wouldn't be shared; 33 percent wanted the purchase price to be under $25; 26 percent wanted to complete their transaction without leaving the social network; 24 percent wanted the ability to save payment information within the site.
It seems trust issues over financial security, though still a major concern, have lessened since 2012 when 55 percent of consumers were not comfortable using their credit card information on a social network.
The study reveals consumers ages 18 to 34 are three times more likely than consumers 35 or older to make a purchase on a social media platform. And 9 percent of those who have purchased on social media have a child under the age of 18.
These numbers all amount to one last important finding: 85 percent of consumers would rather make purchases using an online retailer than via social media, meaning the new e-commerce initiatives underway at Twitter, Facebook and Instagram will still need some serious leveraging.
See this DigitasLBi press release
Social media leads to a surge in coupon searches
Amazon launches wearable technology store
Amazon launches Prime Pantry
New Amazon Fire takes aim at Apple
Amazon's Vine.com relaunches as online grocer with a twist