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Buy buttons and social commerce a £900m UK marketplace?

23rd Sep 2015
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New research from YouGov and Bronto Software states that social commerce is currently an ‘untapped market’ in the UK, and already has the potential to be worth £900m to UK retailers.

The new consumer research, ‘Are We Ready to Use the Social ‘Buy’ Button?’ finds that 32% of consumers say they are keen to start making purchases directly through social networks, and already engage with one or more retailers through social media. The average amount consumers are willing to spend on a single item is £55.68, which the survey says, represents a £900m UK marketplace.

In July, Pinterest announced it would be introducing ‘buyable pins’ to monetise the site and improve the likelihood of retailers making sales through the platform.

That followed announcements from Facebook that it had created a buy button for retailers after testing last year, and Twitter, which only last week made the same declaration, having spent the latter stages of 2014 and early 2015 testing its own social commerce tool.     

Georges Berzgal, managing director Europe of Bronto Software believes the recent announcements are likely to signal a shift in social commerce thinking among UK consumers, despite social networks having already been a platform for retailers for a number of years:

“The time for social commerce in the UK has most certainly arrived,” he said. “While many retailers may choose to wait until this new channel grows beyond the early adopters, a potential £900m marketplace is something brands shouldn’t overlook.

“While it’s no surprise that younger age groups are more active on social media, there is also ample opportunity to target households with children and those aged 35-44 years old. The key to success for UK retailers will be to begin testing the waters now, before they miss the boat and lose ground to more socially aware competitors.”

Indeed, YouGov and Bronto’s report highlights that 35% of 35-44 year olds are “engaged in one or more social media activity a day”, compared with 55% of 18-24 year olds.

While there’s no denying the interest in social commerce from both retailer and consumer, YouGov’s statistics about the size of the UK market is open to debate, given contrasting figures from other market research groups.

YouGov’s forecasted figure represents around 3% of the global forecast for social commerce sales, according to Statista, which says the global market is set to be worth around $30 billion by the end of the year.

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