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The buying and selling of goods on social media platforms is no longer a new concept in the world of digital commerce. Social commerce has already proven its staying power, and now it’s growing: The number of retailers selling goods on social channels in 2022 increased 10% from 2021, according to Square Future of Commerce data.
As more consumers use social media to search for, discover, and purchase products, it’s more important than ever for businesses to be present on these platforms. Here are the top social commerce trends to know about in 2023, based on the Square Future of Commerce report and Afterpay’s Gen Z report findings.
More retailers and consumers are engaging in social commerce.
An omnichannel commerce strategy that helps businesses reach customers across all the platforms they shop on is becoming the new norm, and social media is an integral part. A full 91% of retailers are using social media to sell, and the number of retailers selling goods on social platforms is up 10% from 2021 to 2022.
Consumers are fueling this trend, buying an average of four products directly from social media platforms each month. Seventy-nine percent of consumers are making purchases directly from their mobile devices, and younger consumers are the most likely to buy while they scroll — 95% of Gen Z and 94% of millennials said they’re using their mobile phones to shop.
Facebook and Instagram are the top sales platforms for retailers.
As retailers turn to social commerce, the most popular channels for social sales are Facebook and Instagram. Sixty-nine percent of retailers reported selling on Facebook and 59% on Instagram, followed by Twitter (43%) and TikTok (24%).
Even as TikTok holds strong as a popular product discovery tool for younger generations, Facebook and Instagram offer eCommerce integrations that allow retailers to sell on social platforms and simplify the social commerce experience.
Gen Z is still spending time on YouTube.
According to Afterpay’s Gen Z report, Gen Z consumers spend plenty of time on social media channels — 88% use at least one social platform multiple times per day, while 74% use at least two social platforms multiple times per day.
And while retailers may be making sales on Facebook and Instagram, Gen Z is spending the most time on YouTube. In terms of daily social media use, Gen Z reported using YouTube the most of any social media platform (67%), followed by Instagram (65%) and TikTok (58%).
Recommendations sell on social platforms.
Younger generations place more trust in reviews and recommendations from their peers, but for Gen Z in particular, social media influencers hold significant conversion power. According to Afterpay’s findings, 43% of Gen Z consumers would purchase a product based on an influencer’s recommendation.
Leveraging a social media influencer (or even a micro-influencer) can be an effective way to generate social commerce sales, especially among younger consumers who use social platforms for shopping inspiration, trend following, and community building.
Customers want to make reservations on social media.
Social commerce extends beyond just retail businesses. Young consumers are using social media apps as search engines to discover services in their area — whether that’s a popular salon or a place to eat and drink.
The Square Future of Commerce report found that 78% of restaurants reported using a social media app or social media messaging to communicate with customers — Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, specifically. And as more customers want to make reservations without picking up the phone, 45% said they prefer to make their reservations online or through a social media app.
Social promotions and discounts drive conversions.
Consumers love discounts, and that holds true on social channels where users are discovering and purchasing new products. Afterpay’s Gen Z report showed that offering good discounts and sales was the top reason for all generations — including Gen Z, millennials, and Gen X and older — to keep purchasing from a brand.
On social platforms, 20% of consumers participated in a giveaway or contest, and another 20% have used a promotion code they saw on a social media post.
Customers want to engage with businesses on social channels.
Square Future of Commerce data revealed that a whopping 86% of consumers want to communicate with the businesses they frequent, and 46% want to communicate with those businesses through social media platforms.
Customers are using social channels to connect with brands, including following brands’ social profiles, leaving feedback and reviews, and DMing a business directly with questions or comments. Social channels offer a unique platform to foster connection and engagement, so leveraging social channels to interact with customers can help build brand loyalty and sales.
Businesses need to go where their customers are.
Even as social commerce grows, some businesses remain hesitant to adopt social platforms into their marketing and sales strategy. According to Square Future of Commerce data, a top concern holding businesses back from adopting social commerce is whether customers will be interested in those new channels.
But as younger generations’ buying power grows, social platforms may be the key to reaching new customers. The millennial and Gen Z global share of retail spend is projected to increase to 48% in 2030, according to Afterpay’s data, and Square found that 43% of retailers use or are planning to use a different marketing approach to attract Gen Z customers.
More businesses are adopting social media to reach a new consumer cohort, engage existing customers, and make sales in new places. Learn more about what goes into creating a successful social commerce strategy.