Fifty-eight percent of consumers say social media will influence their holiday buying decisions, according to McKinsey’s 2021 holiday survey. Younger consumers were found to be particularly open to social for gift-giving inspiration.

McKinsey’s survey taken in early October showed 87 percent of Gen-Z respondents expect social media to have a “significant” or “some” influence on their holiday purchases. The platform they think will influence their holiday purchasing behavior the most is YouTube, cited by 67 percent; followed by Instagram, 63 percent; and Facebook, 44 percent.

In contrast, only 25 percent of Boomer respondents (including Silent Generation members) expect social media to influence their holiday purchase decisions. Asked about influence by channel, Facebook scored highest among Boomers, at 66 percent; along with YouTube, 35 percent; and Instagram, 25 percent.

Another recent bullish report on social commerce came from Brightpearl, which found 59 percent of overall shoppers (77 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds) prefer to shop online via non-traditional channels, such as social media platforms, livestream and voice commerce, because they’re fun, sociable or easy to use. Among Gen-Z respondents, Instagram (47 percent) takes the lead as the shopping platform of choice for holiday shopping, followed by Facebook, 40 percent; Amazon Alexa, 35 percent; Pinterest, 32 percent; TikTok, 29 percent; and livestream shopping, 25 percent.

Other studies this year likewise pointed to a stronger link between social media and commerce:

  • An NPD survey taken in March found 51 percent of consumers agreeing Facebook and Instagram content resulted in fashion purchases. Favorite platforms for discovery were Facebook, cited by 41 percent; Instagram, 35 percent; Pinterest, 21 percent; Twitter, 17 percent; and TikTok, 15 percent.
  • A survey from CreditCards.com taken in July found 56 percent of social media users indicating social media influenced their shopping decisions. Of those users, a third were influenced by posts by friends and family, 31 percent by social media advertisements and 13 percent by posts from celebrities or influencers. Millennial were the most likely to be influenced, 72 percent; followed by Gen Zers, 66 percent; Gen Xers, 49 percent; and Boomers, 45 percent.


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