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Lockdown research shows a fifth of Brits are “social shoppers”

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

16 Jun 2020

Lockdown has led to a 95 percent increase in social commerce, according to new research from home delivery firm ParcelHero, which suggests that a fifth of Brits have become “social shoppers”.

The research reveals that British consumers have been adapting their sale habits, instead of hitting the high street they have been flocking to Facebook, Instagram and Google Shopping for their spending sprees.

ParcelHero predicts a 95 percent increase in sales of products discovered on social media, compared to 2017, and has added that the “potential growth is unlimited” if UK platforms introduce checkouts.

Even with the reopening of most non-essential shops, ParcelHero is suggesting that sociable shopping will remain off-limits thanks to continuing social distancing measures. However, the research reveals that online shopping has become an increasingly sociable activity, as almost 30 percent of millennials and one in four Generation Zs have bought an item online during lockdown that they first saw on social media.

The latest research found 16 percent of UK consumers had purchased items via social media at the beginning of the year, and that figure has soared to 20 percent during lockdown, with ParcelHero adding that by the end of 2020, nearly 11 million British shoppers will have splashed the cash after first seeing a product on social media. That’s despite the fact that, unlike the USA, most platforms still don’t have a checkout here in the UK.

ParcelHero head of consumer research, David Jinks, said in a statement: “Back in December 2019, long before the lockdown hit, research released by the social commerce specialist Curalate revealed a 79 percent increase in UK shoppers discovering new products on social media compared with 2017. Instagram alone enjoyed a 64 percent increase in UK surfers using the platform to find shopping inspiration. We believe this growth continued exponentially as lockdown dragged on this year.

“It’s jaw-droppingly hard to believe, but there’s still no checkout on Instagram here in Britain, nor is there on Facebook Pay. Also, in another slap in the face to UK stores venturing into social media selling, Google continues to charge retailers to place their products on the Google Shopping search page here in the UK, despite dropping these charges in the USA.

“Nonetheless, 24 percent of UK businesses were selling products via social media at the beginning of the year. That’s likely to have risen to around 30 percent following lockdown as desperate sellers sought new ways to reach consumers.”

ParcelHero is suggesting that all UK retailer who are still not using social media need to “rethink their strategies fast” - as no brands can afford to remain “anti-social” as the impact of Covid-19 on shopping routines is likely to last many more months.

Image: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels