Social commerce to grow 3 times as fast as e-commerce, Accenture predicts

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • The global social commerce industry is expected to grow three times as fast as traditional e-commerce, from $492 billion in 2021 to $1.2 trillion by 2025, a new Accenture report titled “Why Shopping’s Set for a Social Revolution” revealed.
  • The growth will be driven by Gen Z and millennial consumers who will account for 62% of global social commerce spend by 2025. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of social media users — an estimated 2 billion social buyers — said they made a purchase on social media in the past year.
  • The predicted growth of social commerce from 10% of all e-commerce to 17% by 2025 comes as platforms, brands and retailers continue to make significant investments and partnerships in the space.

Dive Insight:

Social commerce — which Accenture’s report defines as the integration of social experiences and e-commerce transactions in a single path to purchase, enabled by a platform — is poised to be a larger priority for brands and retailers as consumers spend more time on social media platforms for news, entertainment and communication.

“The steady rise in time spent on social media reflects how essential these platforms are in our daily life. They’re reshaping how people buy and sell, which provides platforms and brands with new opportunities for user experiences and revenue streams,” Robin Murdoch, global software and platforms industry lead at Accenture, said in the press release.

As expected, the growth in social commerce will be driven by Gen Z and millennial consumers who are digital natives. While millennials will account for 33% of the social commerce market by 2025, Gen Z spending in the space will grow at a faster clip. The report also found that clothing (18%), consumer electronics (13%) and home decor (7%) will make up the highest number of purchases globally, with fresh food and snack items sales (13%) nearly exclusive to China.

However, trust in social commerce remains a high barrier to entry, with half of surveyed social media users concerned that such purchases will not be protected or refunded properly — a similar challenge when e-commerce first emerged. The trust gap suggests brands, platforms and retailers still have more work to do to alleviate customer concerns and capitalize on interest in social shopping.

Platforms have taken the lead on social commerce, with Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok rolling out shopping features and partnerships that seek to increase adoption by brands and consumers. Similarly, Walmart has made several partnerships as it continues to ramp up its social commerce capabilities.

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