Social commerce uptake slow in US

14 February 2012

NEW YORK: Web users in the US remain reluctant to embrace social commerce due to fears over payment security, a study has shown.

Digitas, the agency network, and Harris Interactive, the survey firm, polled 2,247 social media users about such payments, finding that just 20% were willing to buy goods from their "favourite brands" on platforms like Facebook.

Another 34% of interviewees said they were "more likely" to share information about purchases made on social media platforms with friends than was the case for traditional ecommerce sites such as Amazon.

Moreover, 75% of the panel said a friend's "open endorsement" of a product on social media would have a greater impact on probable purchase intent than "following" a brand themselves.

Exactly a fifth of the sample said they would make group buying purchases from these services, and 18% were more likely to make such acquisitions in this way than from more established online retailers.

Elsewhere, 74% of the sample displayed little or no interest in using virtual currencies like Facebook Credits and Bitcoin for social commerce transactions.

Moreover, 55% of the participants were not "comfortable" entering credit card details on social sites, whereas 45% were at least "somewhat" relaxed about providing a "known brand" this data.

A 49% share of male contributors would be willing to make payments in this way. This total fell to 40% of females.

Differences also emerged between income groups, as 50% of people with household earnings over $35,000 a year would consider social payments. But just 38% of less affluent users said the same.

Age was another differentiator, with willingness to make social commerce payments standing at 49% and 35% respectively for 18-54 year olds and over-55s.

In all, the typical social media user signing in via a computer spent 56.3 minutes using these services per day. This dropped to 50.7 minutes for those using the sites via the mobile web.

As previously reported, Booz & Company, the consultancy, has estimated that social commerce will be worth $3bn in the US this year, from a global total of $9bn.

Data sourced from Digitas; additional content by Warc staff