Shopping on TikTok sees 553% increase during the pandemic

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New research from Bazaarvoice’s Influenster community reveals that shopping on TikTok has grown exponentially in popularity during the pandemic, with a 553% increase in the last 12 months – almost three times the growth of shopping on Instagram (189%) and Facebook (160%).

As a prime destination for visual content, Instagram is ahead in the social commerce game, with 64% of consumers shopping from the platform in the last year, followed by Facebook (45%) and TikTok (24%). The popularity of TikTok’s short-form video content sees it challenge the Facebook monopoly for consumer spend and attention. Another platform to watch out for is Pinterest, which has seen a 356% growth in consumers making purchases in the past 12 months.

Social commerce driving e-commerce

The research of 3,272 UK consumers finds that the influence of social media on consumers’ shopping preferences has grown significantly over the last year, with social platforms increasingly becoming the first port of call for shoppers looking to discover products and make purchases. There continues to be growing potential for social commerce, with over three quarters (79%) of consumers now more influenced to shop on social platforms than they were a year ago. This comes as the number of those ‘always’ shopping from their smartphone increased by a significant 214%, and those who ‘always’ shop from social media increased by 146%.

Ed Hill, SVP EMEA at Bazaarvoice, comments, “The impact of the pandemic on social commerce is significant. Over the past year, commerce has become a cornerstone feature for social platforms, as consumers have spent more time on social apps. Brands that have realised this opportunity have succeeded, as consumers are now more likely to see – and be influenced by – brand advertising, user generated content (UGC) and influencer posts.” 

Out with the old, in with the new

The ability to browse and discover new products and brands online has often been stumbling block for ecommerce in recent years, however 70% of consumers indicated that they had used social media to shop for a new brand in the last year. In fact, almost half (49%) had actually opted for a new brand over their go-to-brand thanks to social media. The relevancy of a product (47%) is the top driver behind why consumers chose a new brand from social media, followed by a product’s benefits, features or ingredients (41%), the visual content produced by the brand (27%), and ultimately price (27%).

Brand loyalty has been knocked somewhat in recent months as demand overtook availability, and now over half of consumers (56%) noted that they are ‘sometimes’ influenced to buy from an unknown brand based on having seen it on social media. For unknown brands, a product’s benefits, features or ingredients becomes increasingly important (45%), ahead of relevancy (43%) and price (29%).

Hill continues, “Product and brand discovery on social media is growing, and while this provides retailers with new opportunities to reach consumers, it also makes it all the more challenging for brands to build and maintain customer loyalty. To stand out on these platforms, brands and retailers must distribute content to all the places shoppers find their products, from in-store to search to social.”

“By incentivising consumers to buy their products on social, retailers can take them from the point of product inspiration and discovery, all the way through to purchase without even leaving an app. Social commerce isn’t simply about making posts shoppable though, retailers need to take customers from just buying online to truly shopping online with an engaging and inspirational shopping journey.”, Hill concludes.