Social media and influencers still dominate our online shopping habits

The coronavirus is changing the way we buy goods as we turn more and more to online shopping. But even in these unusual times, influencers can persuade us to purchase.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Online shopping will surge in popularity as we hunker down to ride out the COVID-19 pandemic by staying indoors. But we are influenced by others far more that we would like to admit.

Redwood City-based social commerce platform Poshmark recently released its 2020:the year of social shopping report. It gained insights from 8,573 shoppers across the US and Canada, and Poshmark's community of 60 million users.

It wanted to discover the impact of social shopping, and understand how this is fuelling larger industry changes

Social media and influencers still dominate our online shopping habits zdnet

Almost three out of five consumers (57%) discover new brands from friends, family, and word of mouth -- and two out of five (41%) discover them through the influencers they follow. Less than one in five (16%) discover new brands through advertising or email campaigns.

Commerce activities around the globe show that nine out of 10 (90%) have visited an online retail store, and almost three-quarters of consumers (74%) have purchased a product online. According to Hootsuite's Digital 2020 report, three from five of us use mobile first when using the web.

According to a benchmark report published by Tel Aviv-based performance measurement platform Contentsquare, 55% of visitors get to a site using their mobile phone, with luxury topping the mobile traffic table (67%).

The energy sector, which has been lagging in the smartphone traffic boom, recorded an 11% increase in mobile traffic since 2019, and travel saw a 5% increase.  

Almost three out of five (58%) of consumers said they are comfortable purchasing items through social media platforms instead of a company's website, and 75% are comfortable purchasing items directly from people online.

Shopping and selling have become more fluid, accelerating the opportunity of a circular economy. When unable to return an item online, 92% of Poshmark users and 35% of non-users would sell it online.

Around three-quarters (76%) consider an item's resale value before purchasing, and 66% consider the resale value when shopping for luxury items.

Manish Chandra, founder and CEO of Poshmark, said: "Looking ahead to 2020, consumers are emerging with an inherent desire for connection, redefining what it means to buy and sell, making social shopping synonymous with retail itself."

However, it's not all about primarily shopping online. According to San Francisco-based store communication platform Zipline, almost seven from 10 (69%) of Gen Z shoppers will take fashion advice from in-store associates when shopping in stores -- only 7% of Gen Z look to celebrities for style inspiration.

As more and more countries go into lockdown with closed shops and nowhere to go outside, consumers will turn to online shopping. As this happens, the impact of influencers will lessen as consumers focus on daily necessities as opposed to nice-to-haves. 

Previous and related coverage

Most Americans start their e-commerce journey on the couch

We are demanding more from our online shopping with free shipping and same-day delivery -- all from the comfort of our couches.

Amazon shipment missing? 6 ways to reduce the odds of stolen packages

Over four out of five Americans have been victims of -- or are worried about -- package theft. And these times of the week and hot spot areas are the most vulnerable.

3 out of 5 Americans use mobile first for surfing the web

The internet plays an increasing role in our lives today, with social media spanning half the world's population -- but there are still significant challenges for us all

Complaining users call out businesses on social media for better service

Customers in the digital age expect instant responses when they complain to brands. But what prompts their personal frustrations with a product or service?

Editorial standards