14 per cent of Brits have made a purchase via social media in the past year

Tyrone Stewart

Instagram shoppingOne in seven UK consumers has brought an item online through social media over the last year, mainly within the fashion and beauty categories, but one in 10 of those consumers was the victim of a social media scam.

According to a survey of 2,264 UK adults by Awin, though only around 14 per cent of consumers had made a purchase through social media in the last 12 months, almost half of shoppers had purchased an item elsewhere that they had initially seen on social media.

Despite the positive signs, nearly a tenth of those who have bought an item through social media have been hit by a scam. The top ways in which they were scammed were the item not arriving (36 per cent), the item being different to what was advertised (26 per cent), and the seller not responding to messages (21 per cent).

Interestingly, just 10 per cent of consumers are following retailers to shop through their social channels. The most popular reasons for following a retailer are funny content (21 per cent), to see pictures of a product (16 per cent), and to find information on the brand (13 per cent).

Meanwhile, 12 per cent of respondents said that they had bought an item after seen it worn by an influencer they follow, with just over half buying through the relevant affiliate link. However, 52 per cent of UK consumers are put off by sponsored influencer posts.

“This research supports what we are seeing, that social media is playing an increasingly important role as a retailing channel, and, when executed properly, its contribution to a brand’s success is unquestionable,” said Ian Charlesworth, UK country manager at Awin. “Social media is more and more commonly becoming the first place consumers go to when searching for products, but it doesn’t always necessarily translate into buying either due to concerns over fraud or shoppers hunting around to find a better deal. I expect to see an increase in the functionality offered to buy products through social media channels incorporating technologies like visual search and universal checkout.”