How Much Are Social Networks Really Impacting Shopping Habits?

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Credit: Corbis / Rick Gomez

If you read about the impact of social networks and deal sites on how people shop and what they buy when they are shopping, you would think that everyone is doing it on a regular basis.

A study conducted by Performics and ROIresearch gives the impression that while many people are using social networks and other online shopping options like deal and shopping sites to influence purchases, it may not be as prevalent as we might like it to be. Look at the results that examine what percentage of those surveyed use any of the mentioned techniques on a daily basis to influence their shopping activities.

Granted, there are a lot of people using social networks so upwards of 19% of a very large number is still a very large number. It’s just that the hype around social networks’ influence on purchasing decisions would have you believe that everyone is involved in this activity all the time. That’s just not the case …. yet.

Another interesting piece of data shows the influence of social networks at the point of sale. This is the retailer’s “make or break” moment so knowing that there could be 1 in 4 of your customers looking for last minute validation of their purchase through social networks is important. The second piece of this slide shows that people are willing to wait for an answer. In this day and age, that is saying something.

So yes, social networks are influencing purchases on a daily basis. What is important to understand is that marketers need to keep the actual impact in proper perspective. Sure it seems like everyone is go-go-go all social all the time especially when it comes to commerce, but the impact on sales is still only felt by a minority of customers.

What is your take on these numbers? Are they what you expected? Do you think they truly reflect what is going on in the marketplace?

Frank Reed is the managing editor of Marketing Pilgrim. He also provides consulting, speaking and education services relating to local Internet marketing through Local Basix. Frank contributes weekly to Mike Moran’s Biznology blog and he writes even less frequently at his original home base, Frank Thinking About Internet Marketing.

This article originally appeared in Marketing Pilgrim.

1 Comment

Beth Granter

I think the ‘how long do you wait for feedback’ stat is not really the right one to focus on. When looking for advice and opinions on social networks, most people will search for reviews / comments that have already been made around a product, rather than posting a new question and waiting for a response to their query. So in that sense, they’re not really waiting for feedback at all.

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