Social media commerce not yet trusted by the British consumer, study finds


Social commerce is the use of social media in the context of e-commerce transactions. In other words, it’s using platforms like Instagram and Snapchat to shop.

More and more social platforms are adapting their apps to allows consumers to shop directly from them, but a study by British retailer reveals UK citizens are sceptical about social commerce and don’t yet feel they can shop this year.

The results illustrate Britons are far less trusting of shopping on social media, compared to countries like China where 70% of Gen Zers now opt to buy direct from social.

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If they were going to shop on a social platform, British consumers are most open to purchasing items directly from Instagram (59%), followed by Facebook (27%) and Pinterest (20%.)

However, over a third (34%) of Brits say they would not be open to purchasing items through social media and only 17% of British consumers have used a social buy button.

When asked, “If you have never used a social buy button, why haven’t you?” respondents revealed several concerns. Fears over security (58%) and privacy of account (32%) were found to be the two greatest concerns surrounding, while doubts over its “legitimacy” came in third (32%.)

Tellingly, 85% of respondents claimed they are sceptical that brands who offer social commerce might be fake or untrustworthy.

However, consumers did detail the factors that would make them more likely to indulge in the service. It seems 64% of Brits’ would feel encouraged to use a social buy button if they could see images from customers who previously bought the product.

Other factors include the ability to access customer reviews (59%), an easy payment system (49%) and access to video tutorials or demos of products. In fact, per Hootsuite’s latest Social Media Trends report, 74% of people draw a connection between social video and making a purchase – so it’s no surprise consumers are looking for verification in this way.

Cas Paton, managing director of, comments: “Social commerce is a relatively new service, which is still in its infancy in the UK. Naturally, it will take time for British shoppers to trust in it. Afterall, we all like to stick with what is familiar. But times are changing. If shoppers don’t try new advancements, they could miss out on fabulous deals, sales and launches. Plus, great insight into favourite brands.

“From our research, we know British consumers are most concerned with factors like security, privacy and legitimacy. Brands should therefore concentrate on producing a social commerce service that is 100% transparent. Be clear on cost. Reassure your audience you are there to contact and to answer any qualms or queries. Guidelines should be exact and loophole free. It’s a must to make shoppers feel safe online; the extra work needs to be put in to make it a success for every party.”

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Tags : e-commercesocial media
Stacey Hailes

The author Stacey Hailes