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Pinterest Fosters Unique Shopping Behaviors

Users follow more retailers on Pinterest than on other social sites

Marketers have been tapping into social commerce—the practice of using social media to assist in online buying—on a number of platforms, tweeting promo codes and offering fan-only merchandise on sites like Facebook. Now, according to a new eMarketer report, “Pinterest's Social Commerce Potential: What Brands and Retailers Need to Know,” Pinterest is beginning to draw their efforts.

Pinterest’s rapid early-stage growth made headlines. It launched in March 2010 and by January 2012 was pulling in 10 million unique monthly visitors. According to comScore, no site had ever grown to that size so quickly. The research firm pegged the total US Pinterest audience at 23.4 million in July 2012, equal to about 10% of all internet users.

July 2012 Compete data shows exactly how mainstream Pinterest is agewise. The site’s users mirrored the distribution of US internet users at large very closely. Sixty-six percent were ages 35 and older.

Compete’s findings are reinforced by June 2012 DoubleClick Ad Planner data that showed 63% of Pinterest users were ages 35 and older, with the average age being 40.1. Seventy-nine percent were female.

It is easy to see why Pinterest has grabbed the attention of marketers. According to Shop.org, comScore and The Partnering Group, internet users followed more retailers on it (9.3) than on Twitter (8.5) or Facebook (6.9) in March 2012.

A February 2012 survey by blog network BlogHer also showed that Pinterest was more influential among women than social networking’s two top sites. Close to half of US female Pinterest users had gone on to make a purchase based on recommendations received there, compared to around one-third of female users of Facebook or Twitter.

Ecommerce solution provider SteelHouse put the percentage of Pinterest users who had clicked through to make a purchase even higher—59% in May 2012.

What does this all mean for marketers? Pinterest has not reached Facebook’s or Twitter’s level of penetration, but its users are valuable. When Pinterest users buy, they tend to spend more per session and purchase more items. They also like to share, which is at the crux of social commerce.

Precisely attributing revenue to Pinterest is no easy feat when a sale could occur months after viewing a pin and may ultimately take place offline. Even so, brands and retailers, particularly those specializing in home goods, apparel and accessories, have been reporting results that show promise for others.


The full report, “Pinterest's Social Commerce Potential: What Brands and Retailers Need to Know,” also answers these key questions:

  • Who is using Pinterest and how?
  • How are retailers and brands using Pinterest creatively?
  • Can Pinterest actually drive sales?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. Total Access clients, log in and view the report now.


Check out today’s other articles, “Moviegoers and Mobile: Better Together” and “Internet Users in Middle East and Africa Most Likely to Use Social Networks.”

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