Who Needs Santa When You Have Social Media?

‘Tis the season for social media. Seventeen percent of U.S. consumers plan to leverage social media sites to assist in their holiday shopping this year. The majority (60 percent) will do so to seek discounts and sales, according to Deloitte’s 24th Annual Holiday Survey.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> More than half of social media users reported that they will also use these sites to research potential gift ideas (53 percent) and view their friends and family members’ wish lists (52 percent). Forty-six percent will research products reviews and 30 percent plan to share their own wish list. The study, which was conducted online by an independent research company, surveyed more than 10,000 individuals.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Mobile phones are also getting the call. Nineteen percent of consumers plan to use their mobile devices and apps to aid in their purchasing decision. Of this group, 55 percent plan to use their handsets to locate stores, 45 percent will research prices and 40 percent will look up product information. About a third will also seek discounts (32 percent) and research product reviews (31 percent), while 25 percent plan to make purchases with their mobile phones.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> This is only the beginning said Scott Testa, professor of business at Cabrini College. “The ability to do a lot of things around the shopping experience with Smartphones is only going to grow and I think those numbers are going to go through the roof.”<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> The most avid social media and mobile adopters were those aged 18 to 29 years old. However, older generations are also getting on board, as 33 percent of those 30-44 and 12 percent those 45-60 are embracing digital tools during the holidays.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> “Consumers are trying to find any way possible to find value and being connected via social media is a new way to find these deals and the values of the season,” said Stacy Janiak, vice chairman and Deloitte’s U.S. retail leader. “There’s a convenience factor in staying connected with your friends and family in terms of knowing what they’re interested in.”<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> The increase in social media and mobile tools mirrors recent upticks in online shopping growth. Almost a quarter (22 percent) reported in the Deloitte study that online will be their primary shopping venue, with 42 percent of consumers overall planning to conduct some shopping online. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Top shopping activities will include using coupons obtained online (44 percent) and consulting peer store and product reviews (39 percent). Additionally, 34 percent said that online reviews hold sway over their buying decisions, with 25 percent saying that they are likely to purchase an item due to a positive online recommendation. Seventy-eight percent have purchased an item in-store after conducting online research or reading an online review.