Social media platforms have long transcended their original purpose of sharing pictures, memes, and personal updates. Today, these platforms have become bustling digital marketplaces where billions of users buy and sell goods and services. This phenomenon, known as social commerce, is rapidly reshaping the way we shop. From individual sellers getting rid of unwanted items to companies leveraging the platforms to reach a wider audience, social commerce has become an integral part of our digital lives. With nearly 5 billion people using social media, it’s no wonder that this form of commerce is experiencing a meteoric rise.
According to Statista, global sales via social media are projected to reach a staggering $1.3 trillion in 2023, and this figure is expected to nearly triple to $3 trillion by 2026. The popularity of social commerce is especially pronounced among younger generations like millennials and Gen Z, who increasingly use social media platforms as search engines for items they wish to purchase. This trend is not limited to the western world; in fact, social media selling is incredibly popular in Asian countries, with nearly 90% of people in Thailand having made a purchase from a social media platform. As the world of commerce continues to evolve, social media platforms are poised to play an even more significant role.
The Future of Social Media: The Rise of Social Commerce
With nearly 5 billion people globally using social media platforms, it’s no surprise that these platforms have evolved from purely social interactions to bustling marketplaces. This phenomenon, known as social commerce, is reshaping the way people buy and sell goods and services. Whether it’s clothing, cars, or even landscaping materials, you can find it on sites like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.
Social Commerce: The Digital Marketplace
Social commerce involves individuals or companies using social media platforms to sell their products or services. While these platforms initially served as spaces to share pictures, memes, and personal updates, many have now integrated commerce features. This includes popular platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.
Global sales using social media are estimated to reach $1.3 trillion in 2023, according to Statista, and this figure is expected to rise to nearly $3 trillion by 2026. Notably, younger generations, such as millennials and Gen Z, are increasingly using social media platforms as search engines for products they’re interested in buying.
The Global Trend of Social Commerce
Social media selling is particularly popular in Asian countries, with nearly 90% of people in Thailand having made a purchase from a social media platform. In the UK, 54% of buyers have made a purchase from TikTok. Meanwhile, in the United States, 36% of social media users are expected to buy from social media platforms, according to Statista.
The Social Media Shopping Experience
From celebrities promoting products to digital stores and marketplaces, shopping experiences on social media platforms are diverse. The 2020 pandemic led to the rise of "entertainment selling," where influencers endorse or recommend products via live streams, often resulting in their followers making purchases. Short-form videos that appear in users’ feeds or "suggested for you" sections encourage faster buying decisions. Moreover, machine learning algorithms target these videos to relevant audiences, increasing the likelihood of purchases.
Making the Most of Social Commerce
For those considering expanding their operations to include selling on social media, there are some key considerations. Making it easy for buyers to transition from your social media page to your website or storefront is crucial. Building a customer base and a community on social media can help increase brand awareness and customer interaction.
Statistics show that social media is currently one of the best ways to increase brand awareness, with 79% of TikTok users discovering new brands on the app. It’s also possible to buy established social media accounts through platforms like Fameswap, which can provide access to a pre-existing target audience.
Selling on social media can complement your website and open new channels for buyers to find you and your brand. It creates awareness of what you have to offer, can drive your sales, and increase your customer base. By watching trends, you can improve your marketing to drive further sales and find new customers. It takes time and effort to set up a shop, but the potential dividends make it a worthwhile investment.
The rise of social commerce signifies a significant shift in the way businesses operate and consumers shop. As technology continues to advance and social media platforms evolve, it’s crucial for businesses to adapt and leverage these platforms to reach potential customers. However, it’s also important to approach social commerce strategically, understanding its nuances and potential challenges. As with any business venture, success in social commerce requires planning, adaptability, and a keen understanding of your target audience.