The latest study published by the consulting firm Accenture shows the growing importance of social trade in the world. The report is based on a survey of 10,053 social media users in China, India, Brazil, the United States and the United Kingdom, between August and September 2021.
Social platforms, the eldorado of e-commerce of the future
Social commerce, which consists of using social networks as a sales channel, is experiencing real success. In fact, transactions on social platforms are currently estimated at more than $ 492 billion worldwide. According to the survey, 64% of social media users surveyed said they made a purchase through social commerce in 2021, which the consulting firm said would represent 2 billion customers worldwide.
Accenture also predicts exponential growth, with revenue expected to triple in 2025 to $ 1.2 trillion. At the same time, some countries have already taken the lead, such as China, where more than 80% of social network users have embraced social commerce.
And social platforms have understood their growing role in online commerce and the problems that arise from it. Thus, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram or even Pinterest offer more and more features dedicated to social commerce: virtual store, live shopping, recommended products, etc.
The trend of social trade may particularly affect the new generations. In fact, by 2025, Millennials and Generation Z are expected to account for 62% of global e-commerce spending on social platforms.
The largest consumption from social trade should be at:
- clothing, with more than 18% of global spending,
- consumer electronics, with 13% of the cost,
- interior design, with 7% of the cost.
Note that the category “beauty and personal care” will also occupy an important place in 2025 with a total of 40% of online consumption, although the total revenue will be lower.
The constant increase in time spent on social media reflects the essential nature of these platforms in our daily lives. They transform the way people buy and sell, and provide platforms and brands with new opportunities for user experiences and revenue streams, said Robin Murdoch, global head of software and platforms at Accenture.
A real opportunity for small businesses
Social commerce has the advantage of drastically reducing costs and barriers to access to the e-commerce market. In fact, the mere presence of the company on the social network is enough to open a virtual store or start a live shopping. Thus, independent creators, VSEs and SMEs can more easily engage in social trade. In addition, the survey revealed that 59% of respondents would be more likely to support small and medium-sized businesses through social commerce rather than traditional e-commerce sites. 63% of them also confirmed that they would be more likely to buy from this seller again. Social trade therefore seems to guarantee a certain degree of consumer loyalty.
Social trade is a leveling force driven by human creativity, ingenuity and power. It empowers small brands and individuals and forces big brands to re-evaluate their relevance in a market with millions, said Oliver Wright, global head of consumer goods and services at Accenture.
Olivier Wright also explains that it is necessary to create a synergy between creators, retailers and brands, to bring products and services to where consumers are, via a “dynamic ecosystem of platforms, marketplaces, social media and influencers”.
Social trade still creates doubt
Like traditional e-commerce in its infancy, social commerce still generates some concern among users of social platforms. In fact, 50% of respondents indicated that they feared a lack of buyer protection as well as loopholes in refund policies for purchased goods. The global head of consumer goods and services at Accenture explained: “Confidence is an issue that will take time to overcome, but salespeople who focus on these areas will be in a better position to grow their market share.”
Those who have not yet used social commerce say that one of the reasons they are being held back is their lack of trust in the authenticity of social sellers, while active users point to poor return policies, refunds and exchanges, he confirmed.