Digitas Study Finds Security is Key to Social Commerce Growth; 55% of Social Media Users Not "Comfortable" Giving Credit

"Younger" Male Social Media Users with Higher Household Incomes ($35K+) More "Comfortable" Giving Credit Card Information via Social Network

Digitas Infographic on Social Commerce Study
Digitas Infographic on Social Commerce Study
  • Digitas Infographic on Social Commerce Study
    Digitas Infographic on Social Commerce Study
    Digitas Infographic on Social Commerce Study
    Digitas Infographic on Social Commerce Study

NEW YORK, NY – February 10, 2011 —Social media users’ attitudes towards security will be a critical component to driving the expected growth of social commerce, a market estimated to reach US$30 billion globally in the next five years (Booz & Co), according to key findings from a new survey commissioned by Digitas, the top global integrated brand agency, and conducted online by Harris Interactive. Almost half (45%) of social media users would be at least somewhat comfortable giving their credit card information to a known brand through a secure payment process on a social media site like Twitter or Facebook. Of these users, those that are male (51%) are more likely to give their credit card information to brands on a social network than females (40%). Social media users with a household income of $35K+ (50%) indicate that they are more likely to give their credit card information than those making less than $35K (38%). In addition, social media users age 18-54 (49%) are significantly more likely to do so than those age 55+ (35%).

“Throughout 2011, we saw social marketing and social commerce connect consumers in new ways with sellers, services, vendors and brands,” says Beth McCabe, VP, Social Marketing & Technology and social commerce expert of the Social Marketing Practice at Digitas. “As we enter into the next phase of social commerce, the survey findings show social networks must address security concerns. The results also show that brands and retailers should focus more of their social commerce efforts on male social media users and connect with them via mobile devices – the primary connection point to consumers in the post-PC digital era – as they move their strategies even deeper into their consumers' graphs.”

The survey also revealed insights into the amounts of time spent on social networks via mobile devices and spikes in mobile usage patterns across age and gender.

  • Social media users that use their mobile phones to access social media sites spend close to a full hour per day on average (50.7 minutes) on them via a mobile device. Social media users that use their computer (e.g. laptop or desktop) spend just under a full hour per day on average (56.3 minutes).
  • Two in five (38%) social media users that use their mobile phones to access social media sites cite general browsing (e.g. scrolling through updates, visiting brand pages, “liking” or “following” posts) as their primary social media activity.
    • Males age 45-54 (53%) are significantly more likely than any other male age subgroup to cite this [18-44 (35%), 55+ (42%)].

Other insights from the survey reveal tips brands and retailers should consider, including:

- “Likes,” “Follows” and Virtual Currencies Have Little Purchase Influence:

  • Three-quarters (75%) of social media users indicate that they agree that they would be more likely to purchase a product or service that a friend openly endorses (i.e., write about and/or make recommendation of) on a social media site, than one they just “like” or “follow.”
  • Almost three-quarters (74%) of social media users indicate that, given the option, they wouldn’t use virtual currency, such as Bitcoin or Facebook Credits to pay for a purchase made on a social media site.

- Social Media Brand Sites Give Traditional Sites a Run for their “Money”:

  • One in five (20%) social media users agree that, where possible, they would purchase products or services from their favorite brands on a social media site.
  • Almost one in five (18%) social media users agree that they are more likely to make a group purchase (i.e., planning and paying for a trip with friends or purchasing a joint gift) using social media than from a traditional e-commerce site.
  • Over one third (34%) of social media users agree that they would be more likely to share information about a purchase they made on a social media site with friends than one made on a traditional e-commerce site.
  • One in five (20%) social media users agree that if they were able to, they would make group purchases from a brand on a social media site with friends.

Digitas defines social commerce as the practice of driving sales or revenue-generating transactions by leveraging the social media dynamic.

The findings announced today represent the second wave of “Digitas’ Data Digests,” a series of quarterly survey-based studies on timely topics related to digital media and advertising.

Methodology: The survey was conducted online with the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Digitas from January 12-16, 2012 among 2,630 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older of which 2,247 were identified as a social media user. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact julian.mcbride@digitas.com.