Study: Young consumers drive social shopping trend

Roughly one-third of U.S. consumers use social media to discover products to buy, but that percentage rises for shoppers under 35.

Thirty-two percent of U.S. consumers said they use social media for product discovery, according to the 2021 Shopper Experience Index from digital marketing platform Bazaarvoice, However, broken down by age, that number climbs to 43% of 18-to-24-year-olds and 47% of 25-to-34-year-olds. 

Consumers also appear to be carrying their interest in social media-type shopping over to traditional e-commerce sites. When shopping on a brand or retailer’s website, 42% of consumers won’t purchase if there isn’t user-generated content available on the product page they’re on. And nearly half (49%) of shoppers look on product pages for customer photos, followed by other websites where the product is sold (47%) and search engines (35%). 

The survey also demonstrates 36% of surveyed shoppers say they have reduced their in-store trips, 18% said they’re only going in-store for essentials, and 20% said they are not shopping in-store at all right now. In Bazaarvoice’s client network of over 11,500 brands and retailers, online ordering was up 39% year-over-year in 2020 globally. 

However, slightly under half (49%) of surveyed shoppers would choose in-store shopping over buying online for the next year. Over half (52%) of surveyed shoppers say what they value most about an in-store shopping experience is the ability to touch, see, and try on products, while 47% say shopping at a brick-and-mortar store is how they feel most connected to the brands they love. 

More than eight in 10 (82%) shoppers like the idea of receiving free samples, while 53% are willing to write a review of the free products they’ve received, and 28% say they will post a review on social media. 

Bazaarvoice also surveyed consumers about their private label shopping habits, finding 53% have made a private label purchase. The top reason for doing so was liking the product (59%), followed by the product being cheaper (56%). Grocery is the most popular vertical that shoppers will buy private label (57%), followed by apparel and accessories (47%) and home goods (46%). Forty-seven percent of shoppers have intentionally purchased private label products in the past year.

The Shopper Experience Index is based on data from over 11,500 brand and retailer websites in the Bazaarvoice Network, Bazaarvoice’s Influenster community of more than six million members, and a global survey of more than 6,000 consumers. 

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