Nearly half of US consumers say they have made a purchase through social media

April 20, 2023
  • Nearly half (47%) of US consumers have made a purchase through social media, while 6 in 10 (58%) are interested in doing so.
  • Another 39% of US consumers have made a purchase through social media and would do so again.
  • 34% of consumers would be more interested in shopping on social media if they knew how their data was being kept secure.
  • 46% of US consumers have made a purchase through a livestream event and would do so again*.

Social commerce made up about 5%** of US eCommerce sales in 2022 and is expected to inch up to nearly 7%*** by 2025, according to Mintel research. The sector is growing at a much slower pace compared to other countries. China, for example, saw an estimated $327 billion in livestreaming sales in 2021, accounting for 10% of overall eCommerce sales. However, new Mintel data shows that US consumers remain engaged with social commerce opportunities. Half (47%) of Americans say they have purchased through social media, 58% say they are interested in doing so, and 39% have made a purchase on social media and would do so again. 

Katie Hansen, Senior Retail and eCommerce Analyst, Mintel Reports US, said:

“Social commerce is growing in the US, albeit at a much slower pace compared to the rest of the world. This, however, does not mean that brands should ignore the emerging shopping option. Our research shows that nearly half of consumers have made a purchase via social media and 58% are interested in doing so, showcasing that this channel is not going away. Brands have the opportunity to establish and refine their social commerce strategy now, when the channel is still new, by educating consumers about the process of shopping via social media, communicating the safety and security of their data, and leveraging the high engagement opportunities the platforms offer.”

Consumer concern over data security

For social commerce to grow significantly, consumers need to understand and feel confident in the safety of a brand’s social media sites. Less than one in five (17%) consumers say they are more comfortable purchasing from a brand’s social media compared to its website (41%) and 40% say they lack trust in the security of their payment information. However, 34% say they would be more interested in shopping on social media if they knew how their data was being kept secure. Additionally, it seems that Americans are willing to extend trust to brands online as 35% say they would purchase from a brand’s social media channel if someone they trusted recommended it.

“Consumer interest in social commerce is shining a bright light on the future of the shopping channel. Brands need to consider what consumers need to move past current hesitations and barriers. For example, getting more for less is always appealing; brands could look to offer special prices for first-time social commerce buyers. Even simple measures such as offering money-back guarantees or highlighting free returns could give consumers the confidence they need to give social commerce a try.

Trust in data security is a key concern among US consumers shopping on social media. Brands that provide testimonials to showcase the validity of their products and the security of the purchasing channel will further instill trust and win over consumers,” continued Hansen.

Leveraging livestreaming

When examining social media platforms, 75% of US consumers say they have shopped on Facebook, 50% on Instagram, 29% on YouTube, and 18% on TikTok. The popularity of video  content on social media is undeniable as 31% of consumers say they often watch videos brands post on social media and nearly a quarter (22%) pay attention to livestreaming from brands. In fact, nearly half of Americans (46%) have purchased through livestream and would do so again. This indicates that video, particularly shoppable video, is a key success factor in driving social commerce.

“While Facebook holds the lead when it comes to where consumers shop, largely influenced by Facebook Marketplace, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are making strides. Brands will need to be patient as consumers adjust their behaviors while providing education and safety reassurances to encourage consumers to shop and buy via social media. Brands can optimize the livestreaming option by bringing in experts and leveraging value-focused offerings such as exclusive discount codes for those who join to increase overall participation in events,” concludes Hansen.

Additional research on US consumer attitudes toward social commerce and interviews with the analyst are available upon request from the Mintel Press Office. For those interested in purchasing the full report, please visit the Mintel Store.

*699 internet users aged 18+ who frequently use social media platforms and shop online and who have participated in a livestreamed social media event.

***Insider Intelligence, Dec 2022

Katie Hansen
Katie Hansen

Katie is Mintel’s Senior Retail and eCommerce Analyst. She has experience in researching consumer behavior and
enjoys observing the ever-evolving retail landscape. Prior to Mintel, Katie was a strategist at an agency working on brand
and shopper marketing projects. She has a background in writing and marketing.

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