Consumers wary of retail via social media

Alex Druce
(Australian Associated Press)


The number of businesses selling through Facebook and Instagram posts could more than double within six months, but consumers are still not entirely trusting of retail via social media, new research shows.

With one-in-eight Aussies now shopping on their mobile phone every day, the latest PayPal mCommerce Index says mobile-optimised sites are increasingly the window to the country’s changing retail landscape, which in 2018 includes a boom in subscription ‘set-and-forget’ services, and a jump in the number of businesses planning to sell via social media.

The survey showed 13 per cent were already selling via sites such as Instagram and Facebook, with an extra 22 per cent of businesses planning to do so in the next six months.

But PayPal Australia managing director Libby Roy warned more than one in three buyers remained nervous buying while scrolling as the lines between user-generated and advertiser content increasingly blurred.

“Things are evolving so they are not obviously an ad,” Ms Roy said.

“If you’re on Pinterest and you see something you like, it’s not necessarily an ad, it’s just whether that buyable button on that item has been set up. So it’s really blurry.

“We see the same (consumer fears) when people are buying from overseas and people are buying from a marketplace when it is a brand they don’t know.”

The PayPal mCommerce Index 2018 released Tuesday also showed nearly half of Australians are annoyed when a site doesn’t work well on a mobile and almost a third of mobile shoppers have abandoned a purchase due to lack of mobile-optimisation.

Meanwhile, retail subscription services – including set-and-forget parcels – are at the frontier of business growth.

Half of Australians in 2018 are using at least one subscription service and spend an average of $32 per month on subscriptions, with 86 per cent of businesses who offer subscriptions seeing an increase in revenue.

However, Ms Roy said many businesses were missing out on a recurring revenue stream with only one-in-10 set up to provide a subscription model.

Movies, music and software are the top three most popular categories for online subscriptions, while shoppers aged between 18 and 34 years were interested in beauty and skincare, freshly prepared meals, clothing and active wear and pet accessories.


Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash


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