August 28, 2012

Social commerce is gaining popularity among UK consumers and is expected to become more prominent over the next couple of years, according to new research from eBay and Conlumino.

The study predicts that by 2014 the value of sales made via social shopping in the UK will increase by 44% and will reach £290 million. Worldwide, sales are expected to more than double, with a total value of about £3.3 billion. Figures show that almost half of all users of social sites consult Facebook and Twitter when making their purchase choices, interacting with brands directly.

Petra Jung, head of mobile shopping at eBay, commented that social shopping is important not just because it allows brands to directly connect with consumers but also because these platforms can be used by consumers to share their shopping experiences with friends. This activity is especially popular among female shoppers, as it allows them to compare style and ideas, she adds.

Business opportunities seem to be opening even further for retailers, as social media sharing site Pinterest announced recently that it will open up to more users by abandoning its invite-only policy and will present a number of new apps which will contribute to a significant increase in user base.

Jung believes that UK retailers which embrace social media as a means to help consumers make their purchase decisions will benefit immensely, not just from direct sales but also from consumer recommendations to friends.

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