Social Media Takes the Crown: Shoppers Now Prefer Facebook and TikTok Over Google and TV

Social media has now become the top way people discover brands, surpassing search engines and TV ads. A new report from consumer research company GWI reveals that 38% of shoppers find brands through social media ads, recommendations, and updates. This is higher than those who find brands through search engines (37%) and TV ads (35%).

TikTok and Pinterest: The New Leaders in Brand Discovery

TikTok has quickly become a major platform for brand discovery. Since the end of 2020, the number of people using TikTok to find products and brands has tripled. Over 40% of TikTok Shop users say their last purchase was from a brand they found on the app.

Pinterest is also popular among Gen Z shoppers for its inspiration-driven content. Nearly 39% of Gen Z users on Pinterest use it for style ideas, and its growth rate is faster than Instagram and TikTok among this age group.

Shauna Moran, Trends Manager at GWI, said, “42% of Gen Z mainly use social networks for shopping research, and they’re 16% more likely than average to find things to buy on these platforms. Brands have a great chance to attract this generation.”

The Influence of Influencers on Gen Z and Gen Alpha

Influencers are very powerful, especially among younger people. The number of 12-15-year-olds in the UK using social media to find products has increased by 22% in a year, often following influencer recommendations. The ‘clean beauty’ trend, focused on simple makeup and skincare, is driven by influencers.

Globally, 20% of women aged 18-24 buy skincare products based on influencer advice. In Europe, girls aged 12-15 have shown a 13% increase in interest in beauty products. Skincare is the top category bought after influencer recommendations, followed by clothing.

Influencer marketing also affects older users. In the UK, people influenced by influencers are 81% more likely to use social media to find products and 17% more likely to make an online purchase in the past week compared to the average user.

Trust and Authenticity: Key to Influencer Marketing Success

Success in influencer marketing depends on trust and authenticity. While 10% of UK consumers say influencer recommendations make them more likely to buy online, 43% are more influenced by discounts. For those who follow influencer advice, trustworthiness is the third most important factor, after value for money and brand reputation.

Matt Klein, Head of Foresight and Methods at Reddit, said, “We’re moving away from a media environment where single sources are wholly trusted. On Reddit, 93% of users trust recommendations more than TV ads or salespeople.”

The findings are based on GWI Core, the world’s largest ongoing study of online audiences. The survey, updated quarterly, looks at the online behaviors of users aged 16-64. The data represents online populations of various markets, noting that in areas with low internet use, the online population is usually younger, more urban, affluent, and educated than the total population.

This report shows how social media is becoming more important in shopping habits. Brands need to adapt to these changes and use each platform’s strengths to connect with their audiences effectively.

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