NEW YORK: Consumers engage with retailers on Facebook more than they do on retailers' own websites, according to new research which also shows that most consumers' spending levels are affected by social media engagement with a brand.

'Rethinking Retail' from Infosys, a specialist in consulting, technology and outsourcing, was based on interviews with 1,000 consumers and 50 retailers across the US and looked at the impact of social media on spend and retailers' efforts to create a consistent and personalised experience online and in store.

Some 38% of consumers indicated they interacted with retailers' Facebook pages, compared to 36% who did so via websites. This difference was significantly more pronounced for younger consumers.

In addition, 89% of those interacting with a retailer online through any social media outlet said that the interaction had an impact on their purchase.

But there were distinct variations depending on the particular social networking site, as, for example, women were twice as likely as men to be influenced by Pinterest, while YouTube influenced twice as many men as women.

The location-based social networking site FourSquare had very little influence on anyone, with only 2% of all respondents reporting it had swayed them in any way.

The research also highlighted the importance of brand consistency across channels. Almost two-thirds of consumers (63%) said this affected their inclination to spend with a brand. Further, 34% stated that a high level of consistency would would mean a greater spend, while slightly more (39%) said a lack of such consistency resulted in a reduction in their spending.

Retailers might also be concerned by the disparity between the in-store personalised offers they claimed to be advancing and the number actually seen by consumers. Although 62% of retailers said they promoted such offers, just 20% of consumers could recall seeing one. But a majority of consumers (59%) who had experienced personalisation believed it had a noticeable influence on their spending.

Personalisation was more regularly used with online shoppers, with 48% of organisations supplying offers or promotions based on customers' previous purchases only online, while 45% had both online and in-store offers.

A separate study by Internet Retailer found that many consumers clicking from social networks to retail sites were ready to buy. It valued their purchases in 2013 at $2.7bn, a 62.5% increase from a year earlier, and said that small- and mid-sized, web-only e-retailers dominated its social media rankings.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff