Social commerce sales in the United States are expected to grow 24.9% to $45.74 billion, with more than half of U.S. adults making a purchase on social media. It is forecast to be a $79.64 billion industry in the U.S by 2025.
Social commerce falls under the larger umbrella term “e-commerce.” It refers to a person’s shopping experience taking place directly on a social media platform.
It can also include clicking links on a social network that direct the consumer to a retailer’s product page that offers a direct purchase option.
Fashion, including apparel and accessories, is the largest category for social commerce. Lifestyle brands that market electronics and home accessories are also major players.
Social buying is a growing trend in the U.S. However, it’s not yet as popular as in China and Russia, where 51.5% and 49.5% of social media users, respectively, have purchased through a social channel.
But the pie is big enough for everyone to get a piece. A new report predicts that the size of the global social commerce market will nearly triple by 2025, from $492 billion in 2021 to $1.2 trillion in 2025.
The growth of social commerce is driven by Generation Z and Millennials, who are digital natives. Millennials are expected to account for 33% of the social commerce market by 2025, but Gen Z spending will grow faster.
Another contributing factor is that platforms, brands, and retailers have made significant investments and partnerships in this area in recent years.
Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat have launched shopping features and partnerships to drive consumer and brand adoption. Walmart has also formed several partnerships to expand its social commerce capabilities.
Trust in social commerce is one of the biggest obstacles in this space. Half of respondents to a recent survey said they were concerned that purchases made through social media platforms wouldn’t be properly protected or refunded.
So what does the rise of social commerce mean for retailers, brands, and platforms? Why should they embrace this model?
For retailers, social commerce offers the opportunity to develop new types of shopping experiences, especially by engaging influencers and content creators. Brands can engage directly with consumers through social platforms and grow from small businesses to household names. And new revenue streams open up for the platforms.
As retailers, brands, and platforms ramp up their social commerce efforts, they should remember to put one thing at the center of their strategies—and that’s people.
This is because social commerce represents a shift in power from businesses to people and is underpinned by the trust and authenticity that social connections provide. As Accenture puts it, “It’s nothing short of a people-powered democratic retail revolution.”
All industry players should also make a serious effort to close the trust gap and allay customers’ concerns. That’s the only way they can capitalize on the growing interest in social shopping.
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