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Social media influences how we shop

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It’s easy to forget that social media is only about 10 years old. Its phenomenal growth in that time has changed consumers’ lives in many ways – not least when it comes to how they shop. It also continues to evolve and staying close to its innovation is vital for marketers.

Our recently released research reveals that 81% of social media users regularly use coupons, vouchers and deals when shopping, compared to 69% of consumers who haven’t engaged with social media in the last 30 days.

We’ve written a short article Social media influences how we shop where we identify three key trends that influence consumers globally - in the context of social media, and highlight the key lessons for brands using social media promotions.

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Social media influences how we shop

  1. 1. Social media influences how we shop Brands need to be in the right place with the right message
  2. 2. Social media influences how we shop The phenomenal growth of social media has changed consumers’ lives in many ways – not least when it comes to how they shop. Our recently released research reveals that 81% of social media users regularly use coupons, vouchers and deals when shopping, compared to 69% of consumers who haven’t engaged with social media in the last 30 days. Here we highlight three key trends from the research that link to other behaviours and attitudes we’ve identified in two studies; one among more than 3,500 consumers and another among 37,000 consumers across 25 markets.
  3. 3. Social media influences how we shop 01 TREND ONE We’ve identified a variety of trends that influence consumers globally. In the context of social media and consumer choice, three of these macro trends stand out as being particularly relevant: 1. The first is Considered Consumption, the idea that consumers want an open and transparent relationship with a brand, so they can make a purchase with a clear conscience. Social media gives them the power to know about a brand, to connect with it, and to build a dialogue with it. 2. Secondly, we look to Redefining Value. In today’s challenging economy, this is about people getting the best value with the least compromise possible, rather than the cheapest product. In this relationship, value becomes more important than price. 3. Thirdly, and perhaps the biggest challenge for marketers, is the trend of We’re All Influencers Now! Consumers are increasingly sceptical of marketers and advertising and they look more not only to their friends and family for recommendations and advice (both offline and online) but also to people ‘like me’, people who they may not know, but who are connected to via social media and whose opinions they trust. Technology may not have created the desire but it does provide the methods for people to be more involved with brands, and to define that relationship in their own terms - and this brings us neatly to savvy shoppers. Social media gives consumers the power to define brand value
  4. 4. Social media influences how we shop 02 People are increasingly turning to social media to find out about companies and facilitate their search for the best deals. According to GfK’s findings, one quarter (27%) of social media users who took advantage of promotions found them via social media, and 17% of social media users who use promotions found offers from companies they follow online. In comparison, digital word of mouth lags behind – 8% tapped into a promotion by a friend “sharing” it and just 4% through a friend posting a “like” or comment about it. Our research suggests that social media is an enabler of the use and sharing of promotions, rather than a driver of it, as Digital Consultant Richard Bussy explains: “social media offers new possibilities to marketers seeking to find modern day bargain hunters. Here we believe technology is acting as a driver of change, working as a catalyst to allow other pre-existing trends to flourish. Regular users of social channels aren’t acting in different ways because of social media, but rather are enabled by it to pursue their interests more easily and to a greater degree.” TREND TWO Social media enables savvy shoppers
  5. 5. Social media influences how we shop 03 Social media is impacting how brands communicate with their customers, and vice versa. And when we talk about ‘customers’ here, we really do mean a wide range of people because while you might not be surprised to learn that younger social media users are the most likely to be tapping into promotions online (take-up is highest at 89% amongst 16 to 24 year olds), you might be interested to know that the bargain hunting impulse remains strong amongst respondents of all ages – participation rates remained high at 78% amongst the oldest respondents in the survey, those aged 65+. The path to purchase now is much more social – it’s about reviews, recommendations, and direct contact with a brand – and far less so about TV, and advertising pushing out messages. TREND three brand interaction
  6. 6. Social media influences how we shop 04 Key learnings In conclusion, we think there are three key lessons for brands using social media promotions: 1. Think about targeting and planning offers and promotions beyond demographics to deliver the best return on investment. Social media is not only fast-moving; it provides data and insight that can be maximised for planning. Brands need to target their offers to customers using attitudinal and behavioural data alongside their own brand segmentations if they are to maximise social platforms. 2. Redefine the path to purchase. People expect brands to be on every channel they use, and to be consistent. In social media it’s about being in the right place with the right message when you are needed. 3. If something on social media is good – i.e. it’s involving and fun – the platform itself will let it grow. Users will “share, like and retweet”, but to achieve this viral growth brands must gain in-depth knowledge of the channels and who uses them, what their consumers like to do and where they go to do it, and of course what it is people like about their brand. Overall, to succeed in social media, brands must stay close to it. References Roper Reports® Worldwide – consumer behaviour and attitudes in 25 markets New Digital World – Social Media Insight, syndicated reports from GfK Consumer Trends GfK Digital Market Intelligence – bespoke research from more than 3,500 UK consumers, February 2013
  7. 7. www.gfk.com/uk Babita Earle Head of DMI | UK babita.earle@gfk.com T +44 (0)20 7890 9467 For more information on how Digital Market Intelligence can help your business please contact: More About Digital Market Intelligence Our global Digital Market Intelligence (DMI) practice provides insight into the digital marketing landscape, as well as expertise in applying digital research techniques. With a deep understanding of the digital market, coupled with methodological expertise and flexible technology platforms, we help brands optimise touchpoints (experience points) with target audiences. Our portfolio of solutions is designed to address your digital marketing challenges, from evaluation of consumer journeys through to cross-media campaign measurement and media channel optimisation. Our unique research solutions utilise big data techniques in an intelligent way. We ask, observe and listen to digital consumers to build a complete understanding of what they do and why. But understanding the digital consumer in isolation is not enough. We also need to consider the wider environment, and the role of digital within it, to truly deliver on the challenges that marketers face today.

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