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Facebook could make £3.1 billion a year for UK retailers

07 August 2012 - 12:12 by Sarah Collinson

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There have been many questions raised over the validity of social networking site, Facebook, as a platform for safe shopping online, but a recent survey suggests that it could become very valuable to UK businesses.

It is estimated that £3.1 billion will be generated by so-called f-commerce, between now and 2015, equating to around 6.1 per cent of the UK's total e-commerce spend, according to Ecwid.

Four per cent of consumers in the UK have used Facebook as their conduit for safe shopping online at the moment, but the report shows that at least 40 per cent of us would happily part with our cash via Mark Zuckerberg's social monster.

Perhaps most interesting is the news that a quarter of those questioned in the study reported that they would be happier to buy online with Facebook, than they would via auction site eBay.

Implicit in this is the suggestion that people want to use Facebook to sell items of their own, not just buy them from retailers.

Whether or not Facebook will become a one-stop swap shop for people's unwanted products remains to be seen, but the fact that it might threaten eBay is certainly interesting.

Ecwid spokesperson, Ruslan Fazylev, said that while Facebook's entry into the online shopping market was still in its early phases, there is likely to be a surge in its usage, which will lead to it having a major impact in the UK and further afield.

Mr Fazylev said that retailers are actually easily able to establish themselves as a presence on Facebook, which is a doubly attractive proposition, because advertisers are able to use personal user information to better target their marketing.

The ultimate impact of Facebook on e-commerce remains to be seen, but writing it off now would show a real lack of foresight.