2022 was supposed to be the year of “social shopping”

Shopping, Ecommerce

Social networks, from Instagram to Pinterest, have added features to facilitate in-app purchases, affiliate marketing tools, and live e-commerce technology in hopes of becoming the new shopping malls. Some experts in the sector predicted that these bets would bear fruit, and eMarketer predicted a year-on-year growth of 24.9% in social shopping in the US, with which the market would go from 36,167 million euros to 45,159.

But, halfway through the year, the platforms have seen mixed reactions from creators, brands, and consumers.

TikTok and YouTube advertisers explain that the conversion is not significant at the moment, and some influencers who have been able to test Amazon’s live shopping function (several have abandoned it permanently) available in the United States comment that it cost them find an audience on the platform.

In July, Instagram ditched certain social shopping features. Meta stated that it is “ending the current test” of its affiliate marketing program (based on paying creators a commission for sales made within the Instagram platform).

For its part, TikTok’s experiment with UK shopping fell apart earlier this year after the company reportedly set unrealistic sales targets, calling into question its ability to make it work. this new formula of electronic commerce in the rest of the countries, according to a report by the Financial Times.

But the problem may go beyond platform and features: creators and consumers may not be ready for social shopping. “Consumers are still not thinking about opening TikTok to make purchases,” says Ian Whittaker, CEO of media consultancy Liberty Sky Advisors.

Although 45% of consumers say that social networks influence their purchases, only 11% have purchased directly through them, according to a McKinsey report from May 2022 carried out in the US.

The concept of using social networks to buy is not new

Recently, platforms like Instagram and TikTok have made moves to take ownership of the checkout process by adding integrated checkout features, product tagging, and other e-commerce tools.

All hope to replicate the success of companies in China and Southeast Asia, where social shopping accounted for almost half of the €107 billion e-commerce market in 2020.

Social networks are hungry for buyers, but consumers do not appear

Although social shopping is still in its infancy in the US and most of the West, and consumption habits could change in the coming years, platforms face a series of challenges when it comes to introducing purchases in their applications, according to experts explain to Business Insider.

“Consumers in Western markets, when they want to buy something, they think of specialized sites. In places like Russia and China, they are more used to buying all their needs through social networks,” Whittaker analyzes.

The willingness of American consumers to hand over payment information to big tech platforms, some of which have failed to protect user data in the past, could be another roadblock.

Still, TikTok, along with Instagram, are still important marketing tools for your business.

Still, TikTok, along with Instagram, are still important marketing tools for your business.