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There was a time when fashion magazines and TV helped tell us what was cool and worth our money. We’d then go to the mall, find it, and buy it. Nothing works that way anymore: More people are choosing to online shop versus visiting a brick-and-mortar store. Even more surprising? They're shopping via social media. 

A new study by Coresight Research reveals that while Facebook is still the No. 1 site for social media shopping, video-centric platforms like TikTok and YouTube are gaining steam. One reason behind the shift: 84% of people surveyed say that they're affected by influencers and celebrities at least occasionally when shopping.

TikTok and YouTube Shopping Is on the Rise

More than two-thirds of people surveyed say they use social media for part of their shopping process, while a staggering 91% make actual purchases on social media. As video content continues to grow, YouTube has seen the biggest rise in retail usage: 47% of shoppers surveyed report that they use YouTube as part of the shopping process, a rise from 25% in 2022. Meanwhile, TikTok is now used by 30% of shoppers; last year, only 12% used TikTok to shop. And what about Instagram? While 31% of people surveyed use Instagram to shop, that number is actually a decrease from 35% in 2022. Move over, Instagram.

@jadebeguelin Replying to @nmg0902 are these some of your faves as well? #tiktokmademebuyit #beauty #makeup #skincare #4amskin ♬ original sound - Jade Beguelin

Why Do We Trust Influencers?

Why are people turning to social media as a shopping source? It seems both saving money and trustworthiness are paramount. A little over half of social media shoppers of all ages say great deals are the main reason that they’re turning to social media. Positive reviews are another big reason, with 48% of respondents saying that’s what gets them to make a purchase.

Additionally, respondents cite expert and celebrity influencer picks, as well as how exclusive an item is, as reasons they head to social media for their shopping. And 36% responded that they simply think the product’s photos look cool. Why follow influencers in the first place? Fifty-five percent of people said that they were entertaining. We can't argue with that.

What Are People Buying?

Apparel, whether it’s clothing, footwear, or accessories, is the most shopped product category on social media, the survey found. More than two-thirds of people used social media to discover apparel, while 49% of respondents went ahead and bought those items. Beauty and personal care items came in second place.

Shoppers who follow influencers also follow more friends and family members — which leads to more desire for community and authenticity with content, according to the study. The takeaway? Shopping and social media go hand in hand, and it isn’t changing any time soon.

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