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Shopping on TikTok sees 553 percent increase during the pandemic

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

26 May 2021

Business

Image: Pexels by Cottonbro

New research has revealed that shopping on TikTok has grown in popularity during the pandemic, with a 553 percent increase in the last 12 months, almost three times the growth of shopping on Instagram (189 percent) and Facebook (160 percent).

According to 3,272 UK consumers from Bazaarvoice’s Influenster community, the #tiktokmademebuyit trend and social commerce are driving e-commerce increases as social platforms become the first port of call for shoppers looking to discover products and make purchases.

Over three quarters (79 percent) of consumers are now more influenced to shop on social platforms than they were a year ago, showing the increasing power of social. Instagram is ahead when it comes to social commerce, with 64 percent of consumers shopping from the platform in the last year, followed by Facebook (45 percent) and TikTok (24 percent).

However, when it comes to percent growth, the popularity of TikTok’s short-form video content is challenging the Facebook monopoly for consumer spend and attention, with an increase of 553 percent. This could increase even more if recent reports that TikTok is testing an in-app shopping feature in Europe are correct.

Another social platform to watch is Pinterest, second only to TikTok in terms of percentage growth, it has seen a 356 percent rise in shopping in the past 12 months.

Ed Hill, senior vice president EMEA at Bazaarvoice, said in a statement: “The impact of the pandemic on social commerce is significant. Over the past year, commerce has become a cornerstone feature for social platforms, as consumers have spent more time on social apps.

“Brands that have realised this opportunity have succeeded, as consumers are now more likely to see – and be influenced by – brand advertising, user generated content (UGC) and influencer posts.”

Social commerce to drive e-commerce, according to new research from Bazaarvoice

The future of e-commerce has now become increasingly social, adds Bazaarvoice, with research showing that the number of those ‘always’ shopping from their smartphone increasing by 214 percent, and those who ‘always’ shop from social media specifically increasing by 146 percent.

Consumers are also using social to browse and discover new products and brands, with 70 percent of consumers stating that they used social media to shop for a new brand in the last year. While almost half (49 percent) said that they opted for a new brand over their go-to-brand thanks to social media.

The relevancy of a product (47 percent) is the top driver behind why consumers chose a new brand from social media, followed by a product’s benefits, features or ingredients (41 percent), the visual content produced by the brand (27 percent), and ultimately price (27 percent).

Brand loyalty has also been knocked in recent months as demand overtook availability and over half of consumers (56 percent) said that they are ‘sometimes’ influenced to buy from an unknown brand based on having seen it on social media. For unknown brands, a product’s benefits, features or ingredients becomes increasingly important (45 percent), ahead of relevancy (43 percent) and price (29 percent).

Hill added: “Product and brand discovery on social media is growing, and while this provides retailers with new opportunities to reach consumers, it also makes it all the more challenging for brands to build and maintain customer loyalty. To stand out on these platforms, brands and retailers must distribute content to all the places shoppers find their products, from in-store to search to social.

“By incentivising consumers to buy their products on social, retailers can take them from the point of product inspiration and discovery, all the way through to purchase without even leaving an app. Social commerce isn’t simply about making posts shoppable though, retailers need to take customers from just buying online to truly shopping online with an engaging and inspirational shopping journey.”