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The next generation of 'social shopper' is expected to emerge as a force to be reckoned with by 2021 with 41 per cent of the UK's consumer population expected to be influenced by or using social media to make a purchase, according to new research from Barclays.
"Shopping has always been a social activity right back to the days when people bartered rather than paid for goods. It wasn't until the arrival of e-commerce that the social aspect of shopping was removed," said Richard Lowe, Head of Retail & Wholesale at Barclays.
Around 70 per cent of online shoppers are already active users of social platforms but the number of social shoppers is set to grow further as social micro-blogging websites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest increasingly blur the boundaries between retail channels in the same way mobile technology has done.
Where social media is really coming in to its own is as an influencer and multi-channel integrator rather than a direct sales channel. Users are receptive to new ideas, suggestions and recommendations when on social networking sites but are not in an active state of mind to purchase.
Social media is having the greatest influence on sales increases in the fashion, footwear, music, film and grocers markets.
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