A study has shown women increasingly look to their own social network for purchasing decisions

Influence Central

With epic shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday upon us, brands might be wise to consider the impact of social media recommendations and online reviews impacting female shoppers.

A recent study by Influence Central suggests that 96% of female consumers seek out opinions and recommendations from others – including friends and 'other moms' – before buying a product, trying out a service, restaurant or store.

Additionally, online influencers help to inform a woman's decision, the report suggests, with 86% of agreeing that they tap members of a trusted social media network for their opinions, advice and recommendations.

The study included more than 400 US women who answered an indepthquestionnaire recently. Women also rely on three categories of influences, the report suggests including friends/family (59%), extended family/family friends (47%) and former school friends (39%). Furthermore, women consumers continue to share their own information on social channels with 93% describing themselves as "skilled" at determining which information to trust. While trusting their own judgement, women still seek out a consensus with 86% saying they then effectively evaluate the opinions or recommendations they receive about products, services, restaurants or stores in terms of their credibility.

"Because we live in a constantly available information culture, we value recommendations –but ultimately we want someone to curate within all the options. We really want shortcuts to recommendations that resonate with our personal situation –and when you find a source of recommendations that do resonate with you, it becomes highly valuable," Stacy DeBroff, founder and chief executive for Influence Central.

The survey also suggests that 93% of women consumers seek out more types of information because its easier to access. Further, 88% of women consumers say that the Internet and widespread use of social media has given them a vastly wider range of sources than they had 3 to 5 years ago. The top sources still remain close to home, the study finds, with close friends and family, other Moms, web searches and social media communities listed as the top choices in that order.

"As social surrounds us, we've discovered that we've never had more on-call peers to advise us - including peer advisors, experts, niche experts and trend-spotters," DeBroff said. "Through social media, we've encircled ourselves within the web, immersing ourselves in a circle of opinions that we welcome."

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