Rakuten, the e-commerce marketplace and owner of UK marketplace Rakuten's Play.com, has released insights from its E-commerce Index, an independent global survey into shopping trends, which shows that consumer interest in social shopping is up around the world, with almost half of consumers (45%) actively recommending products on social media sites.
When it came to social shopping, the UK saw the second highest international growth, with just over a third of Brits (36%) sharing products with their social network, up 11 per cent since August 2012. However, it was the US in pole position for growth in social shopping adoption, with 39 per cent of shoppers sharing products with friends on social platforms, up 20 per cent since 2012.
Brits were also found to be the biggest online spenders, parting with an average of £1,088 per person each year, ahead of the US, France, and Germany. On average, spend across the markets surveyed was £464 per person in 2012. At the other end of the spectrum Indonesians had the lowest average spend, parting with somewhere in the region of £220 per person in 2012. Please see the diagram below for details of the full spend figures:
"At Rakuten's Play.com, social platforms were responsible for generating £1.8 million of direct sales in 2012, and this growth has been boosted by a 122% increase in orders from social networks specifically over the last six months. Social is set to become increasingly important, for example Gartner predicted earlier this year that 50 per cent of information on new customers will be based on social network identities, such as 'login with Facebook', by the end of 2015, which is up from less than 5 percent today. As an industry we need to build consumer confidence in social shopping platforms, as well as allowing shoppers to easily share content through these channels."
Mobile vs. in-store vs. online
When it comes to shopping on mobile, Indonesians continued be the most mobile shoppers, with 14 per cent of consumers reporting that they mostly shop online using a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device. The UK leads the usage of mobile amongst Western countries with over one in ten (12%) people regularly using a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device to shop, followed by the US (10%), and Spain (9%).
Austria (46%) and Germany (46%) lead the way in preferring to stick with the bricks-and-mortar experience. However, the survey also found that consumers in Brazil and Taiwan prefer the shopping experience online to in-store (29% of Taiwanese and 26% of Brazilian respondents). In the UK, consumers are increasingly enjoying the online shopping experience to in-store, with just under a quarter of consumers (23%) preferring online, which is up 3 per cent on August last year. However, slightly more (27%) still prefer to visit a bricks-and-mortar store to make their purchase, with the remaining consumers reporting that the experience 'was the same' or 'depended on the situation'.
Stewart added: "Whether online, on mobile, or in-store, consumers are coming to expect a high level of customer service and an integrated brand experience across all available channels. It's no longer enough to merely have a website that compliments your brick-and-mortar presence, retailers must start to develop interactive experiences which merge physical and digital channels."