By 2021, 41 per cent of the UK’s consumer population will be influenced by or using social media to make a purchase, according to research from Barclays. Unsurprisingly, that figure is much higher for 25 to 34 year-olds, 45 per cent of whom are already engaged in social commerce – by 2021, the number is expected to reach 73 per cent.
This growth, says Barclays, will be driven by the popularity of social media sites and advances in mobile technology, with sales influences by social media more than doubling, to £3.3bn within the next 5 years, and direct sales rising to £300m, from the current figure of £200m.
“Shopping has always been a social activity right back to the days when people bartered rather than paid for goods. It wasn’t until the arrival of eCommerce that the social aspect of shopping was removed,” says Richard Lowe, head of retail & wholesale at Barclays. “For most consumers the social element is fundamental so being able to reintroduce this aspect into the online purchasing process is a powerful tool for retailers.”