Social commerce trends: Where is the journey heading on TikTok, Instagram, etc.?

Social commerce is a shopping revolution! The phenomenon isn’t all that new, but it is now taking on unprecedented dimensions. Read here how the megatrend is advancing!

Social commerce is taking over social media.
Image: © amenic181 / Adobe Stock

What is social commerce?

Social commerce, also referred to as social shopping, is when customers shop directly on social media platforms. Providers can advertise their products and services there and sell them directly to customers without redirecting them to another website. That creates a seamless customer experience without media discontinuity.

An additional plus: customers and providers can directly interact with each other through likes, comments, or direct messages.

Where is social commerce at today?

The big advantage that social commerce offers product providers is obvious: it reaches customers where they spend a lot of their spare time. On average, German users are active on social media platforms for around 90 minutes a day.

Worldwide, social commerce is currently progressing at varying degrees. In summer 2021, the international consulting firm Accenture surveyed social media users all over the world about their online shopping habits in order to gauge the level of interest and current use. Here are the results:

  • In China, India, and Brazil, eight out of ten users already utilize social shopping to make purchases.
  • In the UK and U.S., the trend has barely taken off yet.
  • People in the 16-25 age group are most interested in social shopping. They are drawn in by live streams and take other buyers’ reviews into account before they buy themselves.

Particularly in China, the shopping trend is already generating sales in the billions. Influencers regularly present products from various lifestyle categories during live shopping events and encourage viewers to buy them. Earlier in the year, live streamers Li Jiaqi and Viya managed to rack up a record 3 billion dollars in sales in the space of 12 hours, mainly by promoting cosmetics from big brands – L’Oréal alone made the equivalent of 115 million dollars from this event.

The most popular platforms for these events are Taobao and Douyin, China’s TikTok counterpart. TikTok is also expanding its social selling activities in other countries, Germany included: thanks to a collaboration with Shopify, product providers who don’t have their own online shop can easily link their catalogs to the video portal. The creative platform Pinterest has been offering similar options since 2021.

What does the future hold?

Accenture believes that social shopping will reach a global volume of 1.2 trillion dollars by 2025. Gen Y and Z will account for 62 percent of social commerce spend. The consultancy giant predicts that most purchases will be attributable to clothing (18 percent), consumer electronics (13 percent), and home décor (7 percent) by 2025.

To get in on the action, Instagram is currently testing an in-app checkout for Instagram Shopping. The new feature will enable providers to process their sales from start to finish on Instagram and achieve quicker conversions. The service is already available to all retailers in the U.S.; it hasn’t been given the go-ahead in Europe yet. Similar plans are also expected from TikTok and Pinterest – especially considering the enormous success that other Chinese platforms have already had with this approach.

How to use social commerce to boost your brand!

If you want to jump on the trend and sell your products on social media, it can pay off to collaborate with influencers. Never before has marketing been so geared toward interaction and engagement as now! If you want to break through on TikTok, you should avoid being too “corporate” and try out different formats. That will make your brand seem more approachable and you’ll appeal to your (young) target group’s taste. Formats incorporating user-generated content, such as Branded Hashtag Challenges, are ideal in this respect.

When collaborating with influencers on TikTok, we also recommend swipe-up shopping links that can be placed in the videos and lead directly to your profile.

As an online shop, you should also actively interact with your social media community and encourage them to share your content. That will significantly increase your organic reach – as long as your content is relevant to the target group, creative, and worth sharing. Try it out for yourself – you’ll be amazed at what impact Instagram and TikTok shopping can have on your sales!