Gifts Today magazine

Britain becoming nation of ‘social media shoppers'

Future Thinking, the business intelligence research consultancy, has today revealed the findings of the 2015 Shopper Barometer, an annual independent study of current trends and future consumer habits of UK shoppers.

The research showed that 44% of British shoppers follow brands on social media in the hope to receive discounts and rewards for their loyalty. The survey, now in its third year, monitors the sentiments of more than 1,200 consumers to determine future shopping trends.

Social media plays an important role for shoppers, with over a quarter (26%) following retailers on social media. The biggest group of users following brands on social media are under 35s (60%), followed closely by families (59%) and women (51%). More than half (52%) “like” or “follow” brands on social media, with Facebook (93%) and Twitter (52%) being the most popular platforms. Significantly, a third (32%) of UK shoppers use social media platforms to seek advice or leave an opinion about a product or brand.

Future Thinking’s research found that the most popular “new technology” is card-only checkouts in supermarkets – 69% of shoppers would use this self-serving checkout technology. Its popularity is possibly because many shoppers are already using contactless card payments, and can easily see the need for further innovative technology. The next highest ranked was barcode technology (59%), followed by click & collect hubs (57%). Indeed, the most popular technologies are all, to some extent, currently in existence.

Noreen Kinsey, Head of Shopper Insight at Future Thinking, comments on the report findings: “Despite the well-documented ‘buzz’ around rapid advances in technology, including ‘delivery drones’ and mobile payments, it is interesting to see that this hype is not generally reflected amongst consumers. The biggest opportunity for consumers and retailers appears to be on social media, where users are engaging in the hope of receiving discounts, and retailers can employ more effective marketing to a ‘captive’ audience.

“When it comes to loyalty schemes in the traditional sense, their prevalence renders them less than special. Retailers need to be more relevant in order to connect to consumers on social media as there is a huge market out there for these sorts of incentives. People want to spend less on their weekly shop, with 63% of consumers using a discounter store regularly; but more messaging around range and overall quality is needed to transform discounters into main shopping destinations.”

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