Consumers Slow to Embrace Social Media As Shopping Resource

The Compete Online Shopper Intelligence study provides powerful insight into the complete online shopping experience. Please contact Matt Pace at or Debra Miller at for more information.

According to a 2008 Rosetta study, in April of 2008, less than 1/3 of US e-retailers had a Facebook page.  By November 2008, that number had doubled.  Last quarter, Softpedia reported that 86 percent of US online retailers have a Facebook page, and they expect that number to reach 99 percent soon.  With the vast majority of online retailers flocking to Facebook and other social media sites, the question I have to ask is: are consumers paying attention?

According to the Q3 Compete Online Shopper Intelligence study, consumers have been slow to embrace social media as a shopping resource.  Social networking sites were ranked as the least used online shopping resource; 60 percent of all consumers surveyed said that they do not use social networking sites while shopping online.  When questioned further, an even larger percentage said that they never visit retailer pages on Facebook or follow retailers on Twitter.

So how can retailers attract more consumers to their social media pages?  Give them a highly compelling reason to visit"”provide shoppers with discount information.  In the study, shoppers overwhelming said that they visit retailer Facebook pages and Twitter feeds in order to learn about promotions and sales.  Many retailers now offer Facebook Fans exclusive discounts and coupon codes for online and in store purchases.  A few have even added a storefront to allow consumers to purchase products using those discounts without ever leaving Facebook.  The bottom line is if retailers are looking for an ROI on social media, give shoppers the same thing.  Below are some more interesting study findings:

  • 61 percent of respondents indicated that they never visit a retailers Facebook page; 23 percent said they visit retailer pages less than once a month
  • Among consumers who are fans of retailers on Facebook, 68 percent are fans of 3 or fewer retailers
  • 70 percent of shoppers said they do not follow any retailers on Twitter
  • Among consumers who follow retailers on Twitter, almost 2/3 of them follow 3 or fewer retailers
  • Among those that do use these outlets, 2 out 3 responded that they use these tools to keep up to date on retailer sales and promotions

About Debra Miller Arbesman:
Debra Miller Arbesman is senior associate, retailer and consumer products at Compete, a Kantar Media company that helps brands improve their marketing based on the online behavior of millions of consumers.