Social media and search engines are neck and neck in guiding young shopper habits

Whether it’s influencer recommendations, trending products or reviews of services, will social media take over the likes of Google?

Social media has now caught up to search engines when it comes to influencing shopping habits of the youngest members of society, revealed a new study from Artios. 

A quarter (25.2%) of those participating in the study said they used social media to find a new purchase, compared to the 26% that make use of a search engine to find what they want to buy.

By contrast, 46% of those aged 55+ use search engines for finding new purchases, whilst just 13% use social media to do so.  

The same age group also has an outlying spike for shopping in store (33%), showing that younger age groups are predictably adopting more tech-led shopping options.

Artios’ study asked 2,001 UK adults about how they look for new products and services in 2022, providing the following options: 

  • Search engines (e.g. Google or Bing);
  • Ask friends for recommendations;
  • Go to a brick and mortar shop;
  • Go directly to a specific retailer/company's website;
  • Use social media to look for recommendations/providers;
  • Go to a directory website (e.g. or similar) to find providers;
  • Buy from providers I've seen advertised on the TV; and
  • Buy from providers I've heard advertised on the radio.

But it’s not just Gen Z that are favouring social media for their shopping journeys. Andreas Voniatis, Founder of Artios, explained: “It turns out that social media is now more popular than brick and mortar shops for finding new products and services amongst people aged 16 right through to 44. 

“So clearly, social media is beginning to play a vital role in the shopping experiences of a wide range of demographics in today’s society. It’ll be interesting to see in the future just how far this progresses and how technological advancements in social media platforms help to further aid the consumer journey.”