With 98 per cent of Britons saying they made a purchase via social media in 2022, PayPal’s eCommerce Index¹  looks at how merchants can potentially capitalise on the apparent appetite amongst consumers for shopping via social media. 

Social commerce already accounts for a significant portion of the UK’s total e-commerce landscape, with 44 per cent of UK consumers having purchased through social platforms, and a fifth (18%) saying they make weekly or more frequent purchases. Facebook (22%), YouTube (19%) and Instagram (18%) lead the way – with UK consumers clearly favouring established social platforms for shopping, over newer alternatives like TikTok and Twitch. 

Social Commerce Article 2

Social commerce shouldn’t be ignored.

Brits rank third for social shopping in Europe, with UK consumers making more purchases via META and YouTube than those in France, Denmark and Spain. On average, Brits spend £107 per month on social shopping, compared with approximately £90 (€102) and £99 (€113) in Spain and Denmark respectively. 

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And UK businesses are recognising the opportunity, with a huge 98 per cent promoting their products and services on social media and over three quarters (86%) participating in weekly promotions. However, some businesses aren’t taking full advantage of these platforms – with just over half saying they’ve started selling via social platforms (55%). According to PayPal’s E-Commerce Index, social spenders account for a fifth (19%) of UK businesses sales – and a fifth of UK consumers (22%) say they would be more likely to purchase something having seen it on social media. 

Social shopping in the UK is diverse, with consumers making purchases across a number of categories; with Clothing & Accessories (32%), Health & Beauty (25%) and Toys & Games (22%) topping the rankings. 

There is no doubt social commerce presents a huge potential opportunity for businesses to both promote and sell goods and services. Though whilst many UK consumers are comfortable purchasing via social channels, a third (33%) prefer to link through to a business’s website to make a purchase. This may be down to convenience and safety – with almost a third of Brits stating they would only purchase via social media if they can use their PayPal account to do so (27%). 

Businesses leveraging social media for sales and promotion will resonate with a seemingly ever-growing audience of social shoppers in the UK. However, the role of a holistic e-commerce presence for businesses, across web and social, shouldn’t be overlooked – with a third of consumers citing convenience and safety as reasons for purchasing online as opposed to socially. 

For more information on how PayPal can help grow your e-commerce, read the full E-Commerce Index Report here.

¹PayPal’s E-Commerce Index is based on a study conducted by ACA Research with n=15,221* consumers and n=4,604 businesses. It contains general observations about trends in e-Commerce, social commerce, Buy Now Pay Later and cross border as well as involving cryptocurrency, NFTs and the metaverse. The study does not take into account the objectives, situation or needs of any specific business or individual. The statistics set out in the article above are taken from PayPal’s E-Commerce Index, unless otherwise stated within.