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Holiday Purchase Decisions Still an Antisocial Affair in the UK

A large social network population does not translate to retail recommendations

Despite social media forming a staple of much of UK consumers’ digital life, it will not feature as a significant influencer this Christmas according to research by YouGov for The Drum, suggesting that only a tiny share of internet users would turn to social media for gift suggestions. 83% of internet users would not turn to social media for gift suggestions.

The UK’s social networking population is the second-largest in Europe after Germany, with even higher penetration. Overall, just 83% of internet users said they would use social media for Christmas gift recommendations, however. Younger UK internet users were more prone to social media influence, with 11% of 18- to 24-year-olds saying social would influence them, but this number diminished significantly with age, to 1% of those ages 60 and above.

While social networks are a reliable and trusted source for news, they are yet to prove a reliable source for retail. Research conducted by Videology in September 2013 shows that Christmas buying decisions of internet users tend to be driven by preferences of friends and family—in other words, outside many of the traditional routes of advertising and focused more around word-of-mouth, even if that didn’t necessarily extend to social media.

However, 15% found TV ads influential, with 13% relying on digital searches and 10% on internet ads. Print ads and celebrity endorsements were also influential, but to a much lesser extent.

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