Britons segregate social and shopping

4 March 2014
LONDON: A significant proportion of Britons shopping online are not interested in seeing retailers on social media and may actually trust them less as a result, a report has said.

For its E-commerce: Trust in Online Transactions report, market researcher YouGov SixthSense commissioned a survey among 1,096 UK adults aged 16 and over who shop online. More than half (55%) of respondents said that a store's presence on a social networking site made them trust the retailer less. Conversely, 27% indicated that they trusted a retailer more.

Facebook and Twitter emerged slightly ahead of other social media, with 33% of Facebook users and 37% of Twitter users saying they trusted a retailer more if they were on such a site, but there was still widespread scepticism as 55% and 52% respectively said their trust was reduced.

One in four (39%) indicated a preference for keeping social media and shopping activities separate. And in a related finding, a similar proportion (42%) said that social networking sites were for contact with friends, not for shopping.

Perhaps surprisingly, these attitudes were more prevalent among younger consumers: some 57% of 16-24 year olds were opposed to sites such as Twitter and Facebook linking with their purchasing history and three in five (61%) preferred to keep their social networking and online shopping activity separate.

James McCoy, Research Director at YouGov, noted the simultaneous rise of social media and online shopping in recent years but said the survey showed consumers liked to keep the two separate.

"What is worse for retailers is that younger, more social media savvy consumers are the ones who have the greatest objections to using their Facebook and Twitter accounts for shopping," he said. "This is something they will need to address if they are to affectively deploy online marketing budgets."

In addition, social networking sites appeared low in shoppers' online research priorities, with just 10% saying they went there for information. They were far more likely to look at reviews on a retailer's own site (60%), shopping comparison sites (48%) and consumer reviews on third party sites (40%).

In this context the traditional media of TV advertising (26%) and newspapers and magazines (15%) also lagged some way behind.

Data sourced from YouGov SixthSense; additional content by Warc staff
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