UK consumers unconvinced by Facebook commerce

Almost half of UK consumers are not interested in buying products via social commerce, such as Facebook stores, according to a study.

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The study, conducted by Havas Media Social and Lightspeed Research, suggests that despite the retail industry hailing social commerce as the “next big thing”, 89% of people have not bought a single product through Facebook and 44% are not interested in doing so.

Retailers and brands including HMV, Asos, Bulldog and French Connection have all launched Facebook stores in recent months.

Consumers cite a lack of reassurance about security as one of the main reasons they would choose not to shop via a social network, highlighting the need for more consumer education about social commerce.

About two thirds of consumers (65%) say they would not be willing to buy big ticket items via social networks and would only be prepared to spend between £1 and £50, with only 6% of people saying they would be willing to buy a holiday on the platform.

Product exclusivity is the key factor in persuading consumers to purchase products via social networks, with one quarter of consumers saying they would buy a product through Facebook if it was not available anywhere else and 11% saying they would buy something if it was offered only to “fans” of the brand.

The majority of consumers (70%) also feel that targeted advertising based on interests or shopping behaviour, similar to Amazon’s model, would make them more likely to buy products on social networks.

The most preferred place for consumers to redeem special offers, regardless of if the offers were advertised on Facebook, still remains the brand’s official website.

Amy Kean, director of social media for Havas Media Social, says: “Based on industry predictions and the rate of innovation in this space, social commerce is likely to become a reality – but there’s still a lot more work for brands to do to help consumers get their heads around it. It is the understanding of social behaviours – not the technology – that we need to prioritise.”

The study represents the responses of a survey to a representative sample of 1,007 UK social networkers.

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