Social networks have transformed multiple aspects of people's daily lives, including the way they spend and make money. When social media meets e-commerce, social commerce is born. Around the world, China is well ahead in the adoption of social media shopping. However, the coronavirus outbreak pushed this trend forward in many other countries, notably the United States. In 2020, there were almost 80 million social buyers in the U.S., a 30 percent surge from the previous year. Given its massive reach and potential for monetization, marketers have doubled their efforts to include social media in their business model. A couple of months into the pandemic, social commerce was one of the main sales channels to attract increased investment from companies in the U.S., right behind online and mobile commerce.
A world of opportunities ahead
Social media has traditionally been used by businesses as a marketing tool to build their brand, increase their visibility, and connect with current and potential customers. In the United States, at least nine of every ten companies were estimated to use this channel for marketing purposes in 2020. While advertising campaigns remain fundamental to targeting and engaging the right audience, generating conversion through them has become increasingly difficult. As a result, a growing number of brands and retailers started offering the possibility to make purchases directly from their social networks. According to a survey conducted in early 2021, nearly eight out of ten U.S. businesses anticipated selling on social media in the next three years. Social commerce has sparked the interest of all sized businesses. But for small and medium-sized companies, it is proving to be a game changer. Social commerce allows them to test their idea directly in the market without the hassle and commitment of an e-commerce site.
Gen Z and millennials, drivers of social commerce
Social media advertising influences U.S. consumers’ shopping behavior, regardless of their age. The leap to purchase from these platforms, however, has been primarily driven by newer generations, namely Gen Z and millennials. During a 2020 survey in the United States, almost half of social network users aged between 14 and 34 had bought at least one product through this channel in the previous year. The ability of social media algorithms to detect user preferences and provide personalized recommendations has been key to winning over shoppers in this age range. For many Gen Z and millennial shoppers, these platforms have even become the go-to place for discovering new products. In fact, more than 50 percent of them prefer social media over traditional online search.
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In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 32 most important statistics relating to "Social commerce in the United States".