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February 28, 2013

Social Shopping Surges Globally: Almost Half of Shoppers Across the Globe Reported Recommending a Product on Social Media Sites — Use of Social Tools by U.S. Shoppers Increased by 20% Since 2012

This week, e-commerce marketplace Rakuten released insights from their E-commerce Index, an independent global survey into shopping trends, which shows that consumer interest in social shopping is up around the world, with almost half of consumers (45%) actively recommending products on social media sites. The biggest global rise in social shopping is in the U.S., with 39 percent of shoppers using social tools (up 20% compared to August 2012).

The research also found that the average spend across the markets surveyed was $725 per person over 2012. However, there were big differences between countries, with the UK leading the way spending an average of $1,700, while at the other end of the spectrum Indonesians only spent around $239 per person in 2012.

"At Rakuten.com Shopping we have seen traffic from social networks increase 477% year over year, which is a trend highlighted by the research as social is set to become increasingly important in the coming years," Bernard Luthi, CMO and COO of Rakuten.com Shopping said, in a news release. "For example, Gartner predicted earlier this year that 50 per cent of information on new customers will be based on social network identities, such as 'login with Facebook', by the end of 2015, which is up from less than 5 percent today. As an industry, we need to build consumer confidence in social shopping platforms, as well as allowing shoppers to easily share content through these channels."

Mobile vs. in-store vs. online

When it comes to shopping on mobile, Indonesians continued be the most mobile shoppers, with 14 percent of consumers reporting that they mostly shop online using a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device. Top Western markets were the UK (12%), the US (10%), and Spain (9%).

Austria (46%) and Germany (46%) lead the way in preferring to stick with the bricks-and-mortar experience. However, the survey also found that consumers in Brazil and Taiwan prefer the shopping experience online to in-store (29% of Taiwanese and 26% of Brazilian respondents). In the U.S., more than 26% of respondents prefer to shop in a store versus online.

"Whether online, on mobile, or in-store, consumers are coming to expect a high level of customer services and uniform brand experience across all available channels," Luthi added. "It's no longer enough to merely have a website that compliments you brick-and-mortar presence, they must ensure that they are offering shoppers all the information they require through their website or mobile offering as well."

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