Social media not significant sales driver, study finds

Feb. 6, 2013

While digital technology continues to reshape the way companies and consumers interact, social media is not replacing the in-store shopping experience, according to a new report by PwC titled "Demystifying the Online Shopper: 10 Myths of Multichannel Retailing."

Based on a survey of more than 11,000 shoppers globally, the study challenges conventional wisdom about online consumer behavior and potentially could help companies better measure their approach to multichannel retailing.

According to the report, 49 percent of survey participants said they use social media every day, but only 12 percent are using social platforms to shop. Instead, 59 percent use social media to follow, discover and give feedback on brands and retailers. PwC found that social media is not a major traffic driver to online stores, as 45 percent of consumers continue to shop in a physical store daily or weekly.

"Retailers should have realistic expectations when it comes to channels and devices, as shopping trends may not change drastically and social media and tablets are likely not taking over any time soon according to our survey respondents," said Susan McPartlin, PwC's U.S. retail and consumer sector leader. "While many forecasts point toward devices and social media dominating in retail, companies today need to utilize their multiple channels to engage with consumers and use social media as a marketing and communication tool to create value. Our report finds that the physical store remains the centerpiece of the purchase journey, while devices are used significantly for product research and deals."

Read more about social media in retail.

Topics: Consumer Behavior , Online Retailing , Social Media

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