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Impact of social media use on shopping habits analysed

11 May 2016 - 13:34 by Graham Miller

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Social media services like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a great way of communicating with friends and family, as well as building a following among your peers and keeping up with celebrities. So it is unsurprising that these platforms have started to change the things that people buy online, as evidenced in a new report from Lithium.

Forty per cent of British adults now admit to putting their trust in rich and famous social media users who endorse products on their official accounts. This is almost twice the proportion who held these views back in 2014, indicating that consumers are now more comfortable with the idea of endorsements, playing into the handset of marketers.

In spite of this shift in trust, 70 per cent of shoppers are still keen readers of online reviews and will not commit to purchasing a product unless they find that it has been well received by professional reviewers or other customers.

Interestingly, the rise of social media has also changed the way that people respond to ads, with the majority of respondents stating that they have deliberately reduced the amount of time they spend on popular platforms because of just how many promotional posts and pop-ups they encounter.

In combination with the growing trust of celebrity endorsements, this shows that consumers are willing to swallow subtler forms of advertising, but are actively against the most blatant promotions, especially if they get in the way of enjoying social media.

Websites which offer shopping online must also feature product reviews and the integration of social media services or forums, to ensure that consumers are confident in their ability to get accurate information about items as well as after sales support from customer service agents.