Meta tops the ranks as most used e-commerce platform but TikTok reach is on the up

New research reveals that despite tech giants pulling out of live shopping in the UK, almost two-thirds of surveyed customers bought more than one thing through a social platform over the summer.

Almost two-thirds of people made more than one purchase through a social media platform last summer, but almost half of these ‘treat’ buys cost £20 or less.

Meta topped the ranks for the most purchases through a social platform. More than nine in 10 consumers surveyed as part of research by Spark Foundry said they bought something through social media through Meta – 55% of these used Facebook, with 39% turning to Instagram.

But TikTok is growing when it comes to social commerce with penetration growing to 20% in Q3 2022, from 17% the previous three months, according to the datasara. This is exacerbated among younger consumers, with more than a third (34%) of those aged under 25 having bought something on TikTok.

But even among this age group, the platform lags slightly behind Facebook (37%) and more still behind Instagram (44%), the research found.

Social shopping is ‘a-live’

Spark Foundry’s latest Insights Accelerated report highlights that 71% of people who hadn’t used live shopping said they were likely to in the next three months. This is despite a number of platforms pulling the plug on their live shopping ventures.

Marcos Angelides, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at Spark Foundry UK said: “Despite cost-of-living worries, consumers are currently still willing to buy themselves a ‘treat’ purchase. This should give confidence to brands as the economy continues to stumble. But as ever, price point and platform are key, and this report shows that interest in e-commerce continues to grow, especially on Meta and TikTok.”

Metaverse mentions

Alongside the survey, Spark Foundry’s Social Sparks social listening tool found that mentions of the term ‘metaverse’ had declined by 19% over the past three months. The agency noted that the term is “being quickly appropriated by those within the NFT community”, with most mentions linked to ‘minting projects’ as opposed to connections to AR, VR, gaming and decentralised communities, alongside other areas associated with Web3.

Mentions of the ‘metaverse’ were more heavily linked to professionals rather than consumers, the research added, with commentators six times more likely to work in finance, and five times more likely to work in sales and marketing.

But discussions around gaming are growing, according to the findings, with the volume increasing by 10% over the past quarter. While this indicates that Web3 has a role to play in the future of gaming, the biggest trending topic over the past three months was Amazon – with the retail and tech giant winning out as the marketplace for gamers. Angelides said: “Brands need a bespoke approach to gaming that incorporates the unique habits, media behaviours and interests of this community. That will take a little work, but for the brands who do it right, it offers a huge advantage to stand out from the competition. Those brands looking to get into the gaming category should look to align it with their wider Amazon strategy as gamers are using the retailer for most of their purchases, which offers all sorts of branding and sales opportunities for complimentary brands.”

Searches up for sustainable fashion

The report also included findings from a semantic analysis of Google search data, which found that while most sectors, including food and automotive, saw a dip in searches around sustainability, within fashion volumes jumped 44% over the past three months. A third of these were related to behaviours, while eBay saw 64% of searches relating to the resale market.

Four in 10 of the sustainability searches in the automotive sector were linked to consideration, such as price or key features, while 22% were connected with intent. The research found that most (85%) of searches were related to SUVs – indicating that people are looking to offset the environmental impact of a larger car by searching for an electric model.