45% of internet users research social media before buying, says Hootsuite

Global purchasing habits changed significantly in 2020, with almost half (45%) of all internet users around the world now using social media platforms to research purchases before they choose to buy goods or services.

Hootsuite’s Digital 2021 Global Report by Kepios, a marketing strategy consultancy, highlighted many behavioural shifts in the digital space last year, but significantly pointed out the need for brands to start looking beyond product reviews, and create “inspirational social experiences” across a multitude of platforms. 

Kepios CEO Simon Kemp, who authored the report, said “the new ecommerce habits people adapted during lockdown will last well beyond the pandemic.

“The ways in which people discover new brands and decide what to buy are evolving… with 7 in 10 internet users saying that they now go beyond search engines.”

The shift is already evident on the marketing side too, with global social media spend by marketers increasing by 74% between February 2020 and June 2020.

The report predicts that social media investment will remain as high as 23.4% of total marketing budgets throughout 2021.

2020 was also a big year for the fastest growing segment of social media users; Baby Boomers, with Hootsuite calling on marketers to tap into the demographic on the platform they use most, Facebook.

According to the research, Australia is the fourth highest country for median monthly Facebook ad clicks globally, behind Israel (#1), Denmark (#2) and Romania (#3).

Although 98% of social media users spend time on more than one platform, the report suggested that doesn’t mean developing a multi-channel strategy that utilises every single platform available.

It surmised: “Having a presence on one to two of the larger platforms offers the potential to reach almost all the world’s social media users.”

Kemp predicted that 2021 is likely to see more shifts in the behaviour of internet users and how they make purchases online, so brands need to pay close attention to trends.

Issues relating to individual privacy and political sovereignty will likely add to the complexities of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in 2021, resulting in another year of change, uncertainty and disruption,” he said.

The full report is available to view here.


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