Over half of all consumers find social media comments helpful when shopping online, with user reviews (48%) and friend recommendations (52%) carrying the greatest clout, according to research published by Reevoo.
The survey found that such information streams are now far more important than sales assistants (22%) and advertisers (24%) when it comes to making a purchase.
A large majority, 88%, of those surveyed stated that they always consulted reviews before proceeding to checkout with 60% adding that they were more likely to purchase from a site that carries such reviews – trends which were particularly prevalent in the vehicle and holiday sectors.
Reevoo also found that shopping and researching products via mobile has increased from 38% to 46% within the past year alone as multichannel shopping becomes increasingly entrenched.
Facebook is becoming an increasingly important sector of this market, increasing its reach as a shopping and research tool by almost 40%. A majority of the sites users now use their accounts to research purchases and seek the advice of friends.
Richard Anson, Founder of Reevoo commented: “Our research reveals an increasing sophistication in consumers’ use of multi-channel and social shopping tools. As well as the tools and technologies becoming more innovative, people’s browsing and buying behaviour is also changing. Whereas when social commerce was in its infancy people were happy to take reviews at face value, now consumers are becoming more discerning about who they’ll trust and which information sources they find most valuable for them.”