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BizReport : Ecommerce : January 24, 2012

How social will begin impacting ecommerce

The difference between crowds and buying habits between Q4 of one year and Q1 of the next has always been a sticking point for retailers. With the holidays consumers are naturally willing to spend a bit more and then tighten those belts through the next quarter to catch up. One way some brands are coping is through social media, which research shows is impacting traffic and sales.

by Kristina Knight

soccommerce.jpgConsumer confidence is up and that means retailers - both online and offline - are looking for more ways to engage. According to the Consumer Reports Index that, although the overall mood is still not great, Americans are slightly less stressed out about job and economy woes. The 'Sentiment Index' found a nearly 3% increase in how consumers were feeling

The new study conducted by comScore and Buddy Media over the 2011 holiday season. Their findings show that the value of social media is in more than simple profile pages - it's in the way social fans of brands interact online and drive traffic. For the week of November 30th, for example, their research shows 64% of Amazon's social network 'fans' visited their website, nearly double the rate of 'friend of fan' and 'total Internet' traffic. Traffic to Best Buy's website was 5% higher for social network fans.

The social media approach is likely to become even more important to retail brands over the next year. According to new data from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, the number of US tablet owners grew from 10% to 19% over the 2011 holidays; nearly one-third (29%) of Americans now own a tablet or ereader, and as research has shown tablets, especially, are being used to shop and research products.

Who owns tablets? The Pew report found:

• 16% of men, 21% of women own e-readers
• 18% of Caucasian, 20% of African American and 19% of Hispanics own e-readers
• 42% of those ages 18 - 49, 31% of those over age 50 own e-readers

Strategy& predicted social commerce would reach $1 billion in 2011; eMarketer is expanding on that, estimating social commerce will reach $14 billion by 2015.

Tags: Booz & Company, Buddy Media, ecommerce trends, Pew Internet & American Life Project, social commerce, social marketing, social media trends, social networks

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