HONG KONG: Social media and mobile e-commerce are going hand in hand this festive season, as more and more peer recommendations drive leads to online merchants.

A recent study by predictive marketing platform Custora, reported in Digital Market Asia, highlighted that mobile traffic to e-commerce sites has increased. While mobile traffic remains at around one third in Westernised markets, in mobile-first Asia it is much higher. Sales data from Alibaba indicated that more than 70% of its traffic for this month's Singles Day was from mobile phones.

The trend looks set to continue into the end-of-year festive season as brands prepare for the busiest time of the year.

The power of peer-to-peer recommendations is stronger than ever, putting social media squarely in the spotlight as a key lead generator.

Brands can no longer hide from bad reviews – a Nielsen survey showed 92% of consumers trust product recommendations from their peers. Consumers are using live-update travel review sites like TripAdvisor to plan their holiday season trips, pushing brands to put a focus on customer service year-round.

With a massive influx of sales happening online, around-the-clock customer service is also an increasing priority for brands. Research by Twitter indicates that online shoppers are more likely to shop outside of store opening hours, with purchases peaking between 8pm and midnight. Shopping buzz surges 83% during these hours.

For brands, the busy holiday period is also a huge opportunity for brands to capture shopper data and engage customers through the rest of the year.

Research by content delivery technologists Akamai, reported in Enterprise Innovation, shows that 78% of shoppers are allowing the use of their information gleaned from their in-store purchases so that retailers can provide a more personalized experience through the year.

Akamai also noted websites with an effective personalization feature are able to achieve a growth of 210% in terms of completed purchases while clicks to the purchase page are up by 30.4%.

Data sourced from Digital Market Asia, Enterprise Innovation; additional content by Warc staff