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Canadians warm up to social commerce

PayPal and Ipsos research shows "Shop Now" buttons are gaining traction

Canadians are a social bunch. And by social, we mean scrolling the virtual feeds of networking sites. In fact, they’ll spend up to two hours and 19 minutes doing exactly that each day. So it’s no wonder they’re quickly warming up to the idea of “social commerce” — buying directly from an advertisement through “Shop Now” buttons on platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

Pay Pal, along with Ipsos, recently released new research on Canucks’ shopping behaviour this holiday season. The companies found that one in four (26%) online shoppers have already engaged in social commerce, while half (54%) say they’d consider trying it out, too.

Why? Because 56% say they’re enticed by the discounts or promotions offered through social ads, while 45% have tried social commerce because the product being advertised made a good holiday gift, and 32% say they did it because they had purchased from the brand once before.

On the topic of social shopping, the companies also looked at the influence social recommendations have on a person’s decision to buy.

While many marketers solicit influencers to help promote their products, the research found that only 7% of online shoppers would consider buying a celebrity-endorsed product on social media. Millennials, however, have a slightly better attitude toward influencer marketing, with 13% of the study respondents in that age group saying they have an influence on their buying behaviour.

Families and friends, on the other hand, are more likely to sway them: 34% of Canadian online shoppers say they would consider trying social commerce if the brand/product was recommended by a peer. Baby Boomers are slightly more interested, with 38% saying they’d listen to their peers.

From social shopping to shopping in general, the research found that people, millennials especially (67%), are also keen to shop responsibly — meaning they want to buy more products that donate a portion of the proceeds to a social cause or charity. One in four (26%) millennials are also willing to pay more for goods that give back.

And finally, the study looked at Canadians’ attitudes and behaviour regarding shopping locally. The research found that a buy-local mentality is on the rise, with 73% of online shoppers planning to buy holiday gifts from Canadian retailers instead of those south of the border or across the ocean. Of the 73% who are buying locally, 43% say they plan to buy more this year than in 2015. They’re shopping locally because they want to avoid international shipping, taxes and duties (51%), the unfavourable exchange rates (44%) and because they prefer Canadian-made goods (32%).

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