Social media fails to affect holiday shopping

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 25 2012 10:23 a.m. MST

Boxes filled with merchandise travel down a conveyor system to waiting trucks for shipment at the Overstock.com warehouse Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2006, in Salt Lake City.

Associated Press

The hype before the holidays said social media was the new way to shop.

But recent surveys show it hasn't quite caught on yet.

Medialo.gy said back in December that "companies have teamed up with social media to offer consumers an integrated shopping experience saving them time and anger."

It is true, as the Pew Internet & American Life Project found, that 58 percent of American adults now research online to find out about products and services.

But do they use social media?

After all, Amazon.com made it possible to deliver gift cards to a friend's Facebook wall. And Walmart came out with "Shopycat," an app that gives people suggestions of gifts they can give to their friends based on data it mines from the friends' profiles.

Examiner.com suggested using Twitter and Facebook to keep track of stores' holiday hours and specials.

But people didn't buy into social media much this season.

The Telegraph reported that a mere 9 percent of people surveyed by Baynote said they purchased something via a retailer's page on Facebook. The survey contrasted that with the 59 percent who said they bought a gift directly from a retailer's website.

A survey released this week by Crowd Science found 24 percent of people went to a company's website to find holiday shopping deals. Other favorite ways to find that perfect gift were print (15 percent), email newsletters (13 percent), talking with friends and family (9 percent) and online flyers (5 percent).

Only 3 percent said Facebook was their favorite way to find deals. Just 1 percent touted Twitter.

In a related question, the Crowd Science "shopitudes" survey found that older shoppers like online shopping more than younger folks. Shoppers 24 or younger were less likely to prefer online shopping for the holidays, compared with people who were older.

Crowd Science VP of research, Sandra Marshall, wasn't too impressed with social media's showing this year. "Our Shopitudes study indicates social media like Facebook and Twitter have a long way to go when it comes to influencing holiday shoppers," she said in a press release.

This article uses aggregated content from Crowd Science, Medialo.gy, the Pew Research Center and the Telegraph.

Email: mdegroote@desnews.com, TWITTER: www.twitter.com/degroote, FACEBOOK: facebook.com/madegroote

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