- The global social commerce industry is expected to grow three times as fast as traditional e-commerce, from $492 billion in 2021 to $1.2 trillion by 2025, a new Accenture report revealed.
- The predicted growth of social commerce from 10% of all e-commerce to 17% by 2025 will be driven by Gen Z and millennial consumers who will account for 62% of global social commerce spend by 2025. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of social media users — an estimated 2 billion social buyers — said they made a purchase on social media in the past year.
- Accenture projected fresh food and snack items will make up 13% of social commerce purchases globally by 2025, but noted those sales will be nearly exclusive to China — an indication it could take a while for U.S. shoppers to embrace.
After booming in China and emerging in other parts of Asia, social commerce — which Accenture's report defines as the integration of social experiences and e-commerce transactions in a single path to purchase, enabled by a platform — is nascent but gaining traction in the U.S.
In the past few months, Albertsons and Walmart announced partnerships to to ramp up their social commerce capabilities. Texas grocery chain H-E-B has increased its livestreaming during the pandemic as a way to make up for missed in-person connections with customers, offering shoppable cooking classes on Facebook and bringing in 400,000 viewers for a 12-hour grilling special last summer. Growing ethnic e-grocer Weee has made social commerce a key part of its customer acquisition and growth strategy.
Globally, social commerce is poised to be a larger priority for brands and retailers as consumers spend more time on social media platforms for news, entertainment and communication, according to Accenture's report.
"The steady rise in time spent on social media reflects how essential these platforms are in our daily life. They're reshaping how people buy and sell, which provides platforms and brands with new opportunities for user experiences and revenue streams," Robin Murdoch, global software and platforms industry lead at Accenture, said in the press release.
As expected, the growth in social commerce will be driven by Gen Z and millennial consumers who are digital natives. While millennials will account for 33% of the social commerce market by 2025, Gen Z spending in the space will grow at a faster clip. The report also found that clothing (18%), consumer electronics (13%) and home decor (7%) will make up the highest number of purchases globally, with fresh food and snack items sales (13%) nearly exclusive to China.
However, trust in social commerce remains a high barrier to entry, with half of surveyed social media users concerned that such purchases will not be protected or refunded properly — a similar challenge when e-commerce first emerged. The trust gap suggests brands, platforms and retailers still have more work to do to alleviate customer concerns and capitalize on interest in social shopping.
Platforms have taken the lead on social commerce, with Meta's Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok rolling out shopping features and partnerships that seek to increase adoption by brands and consumers.