Social Media Not Much of an Influence on Holiday Shoppers

January 8, 2013

Baynote-Key-Influences-on-Holiday-Purchases-Jan2013When it came time to make their holiday decisions this past season, online shoppers mostly ignored social channels as purchase influencers, according to survey results from Baynote. Pinterest and Twitter influenced online and in-store purchases for just 1 in 10 shoppers surveyed, with Facebook garnering only slightly more interest. Instead, online ratings and reviews were most likely to influence both online and in-store purchases (33% and 24%, respectively), with Google search results including a pictured product available by the retailer coming in next for online purchases (26%) and paper catalogs (21%) second for in-store purchases. Not surprisingly, social channels were most influential among younger consumers (aged 25-34), while paper catalogs got the attention of the 45+ crowd.

The relatively small influence of social channels overall aligns with data from IBM, which found that on Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day ever, social media sites referred just 0.8% of e-commerce site traffic and accounted for only 0.4% of sales. Meanwhile, the high influence of online ratings mirrors recent research from Weber Shandwick and Ipsos.

In other Baynote study results, tablet owners demonstrated higher shopping engagement than smartphone owners. Smartphones influenced more shoppers overall than tablets, across a range of activities, such as browsing prior to making purchases (28% vs. 22%), searching for coupons or offers (25% vs. 16%), and making a purchase on a retailer’s website (27% vs. 18%). But those discrepancies are due to higher smartphone adoption than tablet adoption among the respondent sample. When looking solely at incidence of these activities among device owners, tablet owners emerge as more engaged. For example, while only 28% of smartphone owners browsed on their device before making a purchase, 40% of tablet owners did the same.

About the Data: Baynote’s 3rd Annual Holiday Online Shopping Survey, conducted in partnership with the e-tailing group, surveyed 1,000 US online holiday shoppers between Nov. 24 and Dec. 5 in order to gain insight into consumer behavior and key buying influencers across various retail channels, including physical stores, e-commerce websites, social networks, tablets and mobile devices.

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