Study: 42% of Americans use social media to shop

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A slide from Leo Burnett's SocialShop study
A slide from Leo Burnett's SocialShop study

A new study from Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide found that 42% of Americans ages 18 to 49 used social media sites like Facebook and YouTube as part of their shopping experience within the past year, said Nick Jones, EVP and head of retail marketing for Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide.

Using social media to shop includes everything from searching for an item and comparing and researching products before purchase, Jones said. Fifty-one percent of those social media shoppers used twitter, 20% used social media with geo-location services included and 23% used social media on their mobile phones as part of their shopping experience, the study found.

The study, officially called SocialShop, found that 42% of Americans are using Facebook for shopping more often than they did a year ago, while 46% of shoppers said they have increased their usage of review sites and forums within the last year, Leo Burnett said in a statement.

“The study and the framework it yields show marketers what the shopping needs are in their category and therefore what social media will best help fulfill those needs,” Jones said. What was surprising about the findings was “how varied are people's shopping needs in different categories, and how poorly aligned to these needs are most marketing strategies,” he said.

“E-commerce retailers can assess the different shopping needs in the various categories of goods they sell and leverage different forms of social media to drive traffic to those categories,” said Jones.

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