98% of Consumers Plan to Make a Purchase on Social Media in 2022

New research from Sprout Social reveals key trends for brands looking to leverage social commerce and the channel’s $1.2 trillion potential

Social media has changed how we communicate, learn and connect with others—and now it’s redefining how we shop. As commerce migrates from physical experiences to virtual ones, customer values and preferences are evolving with them. According to new data from Sprout Social, more than two-thirds (68%) of consumers have already purchased directly from social media and nearly all (98%) consumers plan to make at least one purchase through social shopping or influencer commerce this year. With social shopping set to become a $1.2 trillion channel by 2025, the data showcases the growing opportunity brands can’t afford to miss out on.

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Sprout Social, an industry-leading provider of cloud-based social media management software, surveyed nearly 1,000 consumers in the U.S. to determine how they plan to shop on social media in 2022. The data outlines their preferences, perceptions and attitudes about social commerce, and offers recommendations for brands to embrace social to gain a strong competitive advantage.

According to the data, digitally immersed Gen Z shoppers (18-24 years old) anticipate using visual-first social networks like Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat to make purchases in 2022, while Gen X (41-56 years) and Baby Boomers (57-75 years) plan to increase their purchases on Pinterest and Facebook.

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Additional findings from the survey and key trends related to social commerce include:

  • Consumers are embracing immersive features, including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), for social shopping: As the metaverse begins to take shape, social shoppers are embracing features like VR and AR to make purchases. More than 85% of consumers who currently use VR and AR have already started social shopping, and plans to embrace this new modality of shopping skew heavily toward Gen Z (32%) and Millennial (30%) consumers.
  • Inclusivity matters to social shoppers: Sixty percent of shoppers report that they’re more likely to buy from brands that highlight inclusivity in their content, for instance featuring different races, ethnicities or gender identities in ads and feeds. Inclusivity is especially important to younger shoppers, with 73% of Gen Z and 72% of Millennials citing this as a purchase factor.
  • Friends remain influential in consumer purchasing decisions: Recommendations from friends rank high in impact across all age groups, serving as the primary source of influence for consumers ages 18-40, even ahead of influencers. The same is true for Baby Boomers who still trust friends and family the most.

“Our survey findings make it clear—the opportunity has never been greater for brands to leverage the social storefront to create powerful, frictionless connections with customers,” said Jamie Gilpin, CMO, Sprout Social. “As the majority of consumers have already made a purchase on social media or plan to do so this year, brands that embrace social commerce as a key part of their omnichannel strategy will more effectively peak the interest of consumers, help drive revenue and outpace the competition in 2022 and beyond.”

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