Advertisements, TV shows, magazines... where do you look for inspiration when it comes to new trends, or even future purchases? While these sources of influence have been around for decades, we now have to add social media to the mix, as a space where brands, retailers and other influencers share their picks and new products, particularly in the sectors of fashion, beauty and gastronomy. And it would seem that these digital channels are particularly effective in winning over potential buyers, to the point of transforming their consumption habits and purchasing behavior.

Shaping a new path towards purchasing

At least, that’s what Klarna’s latest Shopping Pulse report, carried out in collaboration with Nepa in 18 countries worldwide, including France, the USA, Norway and the UK, suggests [1]. Nearly six out of 10 American consumers (58%) say they have already purchased a product after seeing it on social networks (in the month preceding the survey). This figure rises to 70% among American Generation Z consumers and 96% among millennials. In just a few years, social platforms have become powerful influencers for the younger generations — at least those of purchasing age.

The shopping discovery path is shaped in different patterns across countries and generations but one common unifying factor is the tendency to rely on digital channels to an increasing extent,” the study reads. However, when it comes to social media influence, retailers have a higher impact than influencers in most countries. The Netherlands, Belgium and Poland being the only exceptions. Influencers have a bigger impact than retailers on Gen Z, and the opposite is true for older generations.

Facebook comes out on top, with 62%, as the preferred social platform for shopping in the US. The social network created by Mark Zuckerberg is a bit ahead of YouTube (55%), Instagram (42%), TikTok (40%), Snapchat (29%) and Pinterest (23%). This ranking is based on the responses of all the American respondents, across all generations, but changes somewhat according to each generation. Those in Generation Z, for example, turn to Instagram to make purchases (49%), followed closely by TikTok (48%), YouTube (40%), Facebook (43%), Snapchat (35%) and Pinterest (15%).

A worldwide phenomenon

While American consumers are particularly keen to use social networks to find inspiration, and even to purchase products online, the 58% of those who have already done so is followed by Australians with 54%, 44% of Britons, 43% of Greeks, 42% of Spaniards, and 41% of Portuguese and New Zealanders. The phenomenon is therefore not confined to North America, even if some nations are (for the time being) more reluctant to transform a purchase thanks to social platforms. This is particularly true of the Czech Republic (28%) and Finland (29%).