Study: Only 5% of Americans have made purchase on a social media site

New York -- With U.S. social commerce sales expected to reach $14 billion by 2015 and social networks like Twitter and Facebook ramping up their commerce capabilities, a survey by global marketing and technology agency DigitasLBi, and conducted online by Harris Poll, shows that while only 5% of Americans have made a purchase on a social media site, 20% would consider doing so.

"Our study reveals tremendous untapped potential for growth in social commerce, especially among younger consumers," says Tony Weisman, CEO, DigitasLBi North America. "The 5% of Americans who have made a purchase on a social media site equates to around $14 billion in online retail revenue. If we can reach 20%, that figure scales to $56 billion. To activate that potential, brands and social networks need to provide social shopping experiences that meet the needs of consumers, including security around financial data, privacy, and a seamless buying process."

The survey reveals would make social media users more likely to make a purchase on a social network:

• Knowing their credit card information was secure (42%).

• Knowing their purchase wouldn't be shared (38%).

• A total purchase price under $25 (33%).

• A "click to buy" feature that would allow users to complete their transaction without leaving the social network (26%).

• The ability to save payment information within the site, so users wouldn't have to reenter it each time they make a purchase (24%).

When looking at who has made purchases on social media, the 2014 study shows that age and region play a role:

• Those ages 18-34 are more than three times as likely as those ages 35 or older to have made a purchase on a social media site (11% vs. 3%, respectively).

• Nearly one-in-10 parents with a child under age 18 has made a purchase on a social media site (9%).

• Those in the South are more likely than those in the Northeast to consider making a purchase on a social media site (24% vs. 15%).

• Over a third (35%) of social media users would use a hashtag when purchasing on a social media site if it offered a discount on a purchase.

Among social media users, a strong majority (85%) still report they would rather make purchases from an online retailer (e.g., Amazon.com, Walmart.com) where sharing is not a central function of the site. Despite these findings, a deeper look reveals that those ages 18-44 (33%) are more than twice as likely as those ages 45 or older (18%) to say they would consider making a purchase on a social network.

Additional results from the study include:

• 79% of Americans use social media.

• Women are more likely to be social media users than men (84% vs. 75%, respectively); that figure rises to 91% for those ages 18-34.

• Women are more likely than men to use social media on a daily basis (58% vs. 39%).

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