Social media influences holiday shoppers

Americans spent $16 billion during the first 36 days of the 2009 holiday shopping season, representing a three percent increase from the same time period last year, according to new data from comScore. The data also revealed that 28 percent of U.S. shoppers said that social media influenced their purchases.

When asked which social media influenced their holiday purchases, 13 percent of respondents said they read a consumer-generated product review, 11 percent read an expert product review and seven percent followed a fan page on Facebook to take advantage of special offers and deals. Other social media influences included a friend’s Facebook status referring to a particular product (six percent), following a company on Twitter to take advantage of special offers and deals (five percent), and a friend’s tweet about a product (three percent.)

“Social media really appears to be emerging as an important marketing channel this holiday season,” said comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni. “On the one hand, its emergence is being driven by increased consumer adoption of these technologies and the exponential growth in digital word-of-mouth that is occurring over this medium. On the other hand, having a social media marketing strategy makes sense for retailers in this environment because it’s cost-effective and shows an effort to get closer to one’s customers.”

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