Social Spending: Does Convenience Trump Safety?
There’s little doubt that online shopping is on the rise. It’s convenient, there's unlimited choice, and consumers find it easier than ever before to find a bargain. In fact, in 2018 global online sales increased 18 percent, reaching almost $3 trillion. By 2024, the total transaction value of remote payments for digital and physical goods is expected to exceed $6 trillion, up 53 percent from 2019.
Beyond online marketplaces and brand websites, consumers are also turning to social media to shop. While this avenue may not be as trusted as established e-commerce channels, consumers are using social media platforms to make purchases.
The latest MarkMonitor research found that while 90 percent of global online consumers have concerns about shopping via social media, 31 percent do it anyway. Two-thirds (66 percent) say they trust the information shown by retailers on social media, and 30 percent are comfortable using their credit card to make a purchase.
With social media increasingly creating e-commerce opportunities, the research highlights the need for brands to counteract the threat from online fraud and counterfeiting in order to fully capitalize on the continued appetite for online purchases. This includes the rising trend towards social media-linked purchases.
Around the world, a staggering 3.48 billion people are actively using social media — that’s 79 percent of the world’s 4.39 billion internet users. No longer just a networking forum, social media is used for photo and video sharing, live streaming of content, dating, and more.
Increasingly, its use as a shopping platform is becoming big business, as consumers use social media sites to research products, watch demonstrations, read reviews and see what influencers are doing with products. All of which can translate to significant spending. According to Statista, the average online shopping order placed via social media is $77.
In response, brands are increasingly moving away from one-way advertising and using social media channels to interact with consumers and direct more traffic to their websites.
Fraud and Fakes: Scammers Cash In
Across the board, the research highlights the extent to which consumers are still falling victim to malicious activity online. Overall, a third (33 percent) of shoppers have experienced payment card fraud, 28 percent have had their data stolen during a data breach, and 19 percent have been victims of identity theft. In addition, online counterfeiters continue to fool shoppers: 31 percent have bought a product on the internet that turned out to be fake.
These fake items were bought through an online marketplace (28 percent), a site that was believed to be the genuine brand (16 percent), and smartphone apps (13 percent), despite the fact that marketplaces and apps were rated as some of the most trusted online shopping platforms. In addition, 23 percent of these fake goods were procured through social media, whether that was via a sponsored social media advertisement (9 percent) or clicking on a link in a social post (14 percent).
Closer Relationships, Better Brand Protection
When it comes to choosing what to buy, reputation is everything. Over half (55 percent) of online shoppers agreed, saying they made buying decisions based on the brand name and reputation, followed by peer reviews (48 percent), and whether the channel was liked by family or friends (34 percent).
It’s clear that brands must act to ensure they're protecting both themselves and their customers with the right brand protection strategies. This is especially true with many consumers looking to trusted brands to protect them from counterfeiters, keep their data safe and mitigate the risk of fraud.
Online and offline, this means forging the right relationships with social media platforms, law enforcement agencies and brand protection experts to grow confidence and good will, as well as to help customers to avoid falling foul of fraudsters.
Akino Chikada is a senior portfolio marketing director for MarkMonitor's Brand Protection solutions.
Related story: 4 Ways Online Retailers Can Fight Against Counterfeit Fraud
Akino Chikada is a Sr. Portfolio Marketing Director for MarkMonitor's Brand Protection solutions. She started her career in public relations and marketing in London and has worked in Europe, Asia and the United States. She has led and served roles in global marketing strategies, product marketing, events management, public relations, corporate communications and regional marketing. Akino holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University College of London, a Master of Science from the London School of Economics, and has trilingual fluency in English, Italian and Japanese.