The number of UK businesses selling on social media sites and apps is predicted to double in the next six months, according to research commissioned by PayPal.
The findings were published in PayPal’s fourth annual commerce index, which focused on the supply and demand of social commerce between small businesses and consumers. It mapped the various shopping habits of 11 different countries. The research was conducted by Ipsos.
For the UK findings, Ipsos interviewed a sample of around 2000 consumers aged 18-74, who owned or used a smartphone, alongside 300-400 business influencers or decision-makers who sell or take payments online to consumers.
As the popularity of mobile shopping expands to new sites and apps, the study confirmed that social commerce is exponentially on the rise. It forecasts that British shoppers will be able to shop on the social media channels of a further 600,000 UK businesses. They will join the 24% of British businesses already on board.
Yet, despite this growth, when you compare the UK with the rest of the world, it is undoubtedly lagging behind. While the global average is at 35%, the proportion of UK businesses selling through social media is only 24%.
There are currently 8.4 million British consumers shopping via social media, with Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat being the most popular channels.
Early to the party, back in 2016 Facebook launched its marketplace - making a formal entry into the online marketplace sector with the launch of a dedicated service that allowed people to buy and sell in their local communities.
Earlier this month, Facebook launched new payments system ‘Facebook Pay’. Available across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, it is designed to facilitate payments across Facebook’s Users, who can send money to friends, shop, or donate to fundraisers.
And just this week, the short-form video app TikTok announced it would be tested out social commerce.
Commenting on the findings, Nicola Longfield, senior director of small and medium businesses at PayPal UK, said: “As Brits continue to lead increasingly busy lives relying on their smartphones more than ever to help them make the most of their time, it’s important that businesses are in a position to cater for this. Our data reveals a substantial rise in the number of businesses that plan to sell through social media over the coming six months, capturing a consumer’s attention in the very place they go to for inspiration.
“However, the UK falls some way behind the global average for selling via social, something which must be addressed if businesses are to compete and make the most of their selling potential. Security remains key for consumers shopping on social and companies of all sizes must address these fears, offering mobile-friendly payment options like PayPal to help instill trust from shoppers and ensure purchases are made securely.”