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Survey: Consumers skeptical about social media shopping

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Social media purchases
Six-in-10 (63%) consumers said they are deterred from making purchases through social media because they’re worried about illegitimate merchants/scams.

More than half of American social media users are skeptical about buying products via social media.

U.S. social media users have a hard time trusting products sold through social media (53%), even many who fall within the Millennial and Gen Z age brackets (52%), according to Aibuy’s 2023 Social Media Shopping Report.

More than one third (38%) of total respondents stated they trust TikTok the least to purchase directly from. Six in 10 (63%) said they are deterred from making purchases through social media because they’re worried about illegitimate merchants/scams, while another 57% are uncomfortable sharing check out information (credit card number, address, phone number, etc.) with a merchant through social media.

Other reasons consumers noted for why they’re not shopping via social media include: 

  • Concerns about counterfeit or low-quality products (55%)
  • Lack of privacy and data security safeguards (47%)
  • Unclear return and refund policies (46%)
  • Inadequate customer reviews and ratings (38%)
  • Unregulated products being made at home (25%)

While there is skepticism about personal information safety, product quality and more with shopping through social media, nearly three-in-10 consumers (29%) agree that social media shopping offers a more personalized experience than traditional online stores. A quarter (24%) say they make more impulse purchases through the platforms.

Aibuy added that it is wise for retailers and e-commerce platforms to understand the motivating factors behind user purchases, including:

  • Exclusive discounts or promotions offered by the creator or platform (27%)
  • Advertisements targeted based on interests (21%)
  • Finding the cheapest available option (23%) 

“While social media has been around for nearly two decades, the concept of shopping directly through social platforms is still very new, so it comes as no surprise we’re seeing this reluctance to purchase,” said Randy Bapst, CEO of Aibuy. “With 45% of social media users in the U.S. open to the concept, there is ample untapped opportunity for brands who are not already leveraging the space, and for those that are, to tailor their approach moving forward. We’re hopeful that as new technologies emerge to strengthen the customer path to purchase and overall user experience, trust will increase, and this concept of social shopping will become more mainstream.” 

Aibuy’s survey was conducted via Censuswide, which spoke to 1,014 nationally representative American social media users.

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