Social Media Not A Big Factor in Holiday Purchases [STATS]

The power of social media to influence purchase decisions may be overstated, according to a new survey.

The survey, conducted by market research firm ForSee Results, found that only 5% of online holiday shoppers report that they were primarily influenced to visit top retailer sites by social media channels. Meanwhile, 19% were prompted by promotional e-mail and 8% were driven by search engine results.

While social media may be an underwhelming driver, according to the report, mobile is increasingly becoming a factor. Fourteen percent of shoppers have used their phones to access the website or mobile app of a major retailer. However, only 2% of mobile shoppers actually bought something over their phones.

The report paints a picture of a series of media outlets that contribute to purchases. Nearly half of the visitors to an online retailer’s website go to research, not to buy. About one-fifth of shoppers research online and then buy in a brick-and-mortar store.

ForSee’s survey was based on about 10,000 responses from consumers from November 29 to December 15. The report also found Amazon.com and Netflix tied for the highest satisfaction score and six online retailers, including BestBuy.com and Target.com, tied for last. The results are tabulated on a 100-point scale. Here is the full list:

This just proves that mobile devices such as smartphones is crucial for retailers. One inhibiting factor to making purchases with our mobile devices is the UI on mobile devices. Over the past weekend, I made several purchases using the Amazon.com iPhone App while in Fry’s. Amazon had the better deal and with Amazon Prime (free 2 day shipping) it made the decision that much easier.

If more retailers provided better mobile websites or apps then I would have easily gone to Best Buy to comparison shop as well.

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