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Social media is key for shoppers of video games, baby toys and mobile phones


Arc unveils findings from global shopping behaviour study

  • Social media has the biggest influence on purchases of video games, baby toys and mobile phones

  • Consumers are over four-times more likely to use a tablet when shopping for a new mobile phone

  • Social media influences 1 in 10 shoppers' purchasing decisions

A new global study into shopping behaviour, by brand activation agency Arc, has revealed that video games (and systems), baby toys and mobile phones are the three product categories where social media has the biggest influence.

Arc’s PeopleShop report - a global study into the shopping behaviour, attitudes and motivations of 13,000 consumers – shows that shoppers are almost three-times more likely to use social media when purchasing video games and video game systems, with the touchpoint influencing 27% of all purchases. In comparison, the study found that of the product categories analysed, on average 10% of purchases are influenced in some way by social media [for the full findings, please see Notes to Editors].

PeopleShop logo
PeopleShop logo

As part of the study, Arc analysed shoppers’ behaviour across 20 commonly bought product categories in order to identify which touchpoints influenced their purchasing decisions. The study revealed that the influence of social media on the path to purchase is by no means universal, with its influence varying depending on the product category being shopped. Whilst social media plays a key part in purchases of video games & systems and baby toys, its role is less strong in categories such as yoghurts and lager, where only 1% and 2% of consumers cite the touchpoint as an influence.

Why social media is so influential in purchases of video games, baby toys and mobile phones is in part explained by the joint findings that social media is primarily used as a research tool and these are some of the most researched categories (78% of shoppers of baby toys stated ‘I like to compare brands’). Indeed, when shoppers were asked how they use the touchpoint to shop, 47% of consumers state they use social media to research products compared to sharing information (30%), engagement (28%), comparing and locating products (27% and 15%), seeking confirmation (27%) and buying (10%).

How influential are other digital touchpoints?

Of all the digital touchpoints analysed by Arc, search engines were identified as having the greatest impact on consumers’ decisions, on average influencing 17% of purchases. Email, social media and online bidding websites followed with 11% and 10%, respectively. QR codes were found to have the smallest impact on consumers, on average only being used by 2% of shoppers, yet when purchasing baby food the study found that shoppers are four-times more likely to use them.

Surprisingly, mobiles and tablets are still cited by consumers as relatively minor influences on our purchasing decisions, on average only being used by 7% and 4% of shoppers. However, these touchpoints have a greater than average influence in the purchase of mobile phones, with consumers over four-times more likely to use a tablet or mobile when shopping for this item.

Diana Cawley, Managing Director at Arc, said: “With an ever increasing array of touchpoints available, it's more important than ever that brands understand the impact different touchpoints have on shoppers’ path to purchase.”

She adds: “Our PeopleShop study shows that no two products are alike – for every category, shoppers are influenced by a range of different psychological, physiological and social factors. If brands want to communicate effectively with their audience, an understanding of shoppers’ mindset, needs, occasions and touchpoints is a must.”

Arc’s PeopleShop study is based on a study of 13,000 consumers from the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. In the U.K., a further nationally representative sample of 2,000 consumers were surveyed by Research Now between 20th August - 23rd August 2012.

- END -

Notes to Editors
Table 1. Average percentage of digital touchpoints used to influence shoppers’ purchasing decisions

Search engine

Social network10%
Online bidding website10%
Company/ Manufacturer website9%
Product review website8%
Mobile phone7%
Deal/ coupon website6%
Blog or online message board5%
Tablet device4%
QR code2%

Table 2. Percentage of consumers that use social media when shopping for specified product category

Product category average

Video games27%
Video game systems27%
Baby & toddler toys23%
Mobile phones19%
Baby food16%
Flavoured alcoholic drinks15%
Energy drinks8%
Computer printers7%
Instant Coffee5%
Carbonated soft drinks4%
Table sauces3%
Cooking sauces3%
Hot savoury snacks1%

Table 3. Percentage of consumers that use mobile phones when shopping for specified product category

Product category average

Mobile phones40%
Video game systems16%
Baby & toddler toys15%
Baby food12%
Video games12%
Carbonated soft drinks6%
Computer printers6%
Flavoured alcoholic drinks6%
Energy drinks5%
Instant Coffee4%
Table sauces2%
Cooking sauces2%
Hot savoury snacks1%

Table 4. Percentage of consumers that use tablets when shopping for specified product category

Product category average

Mobile phones17%
Video games10%
Baby & toddler toys9%
Baby food8%
Video game systems7%
Computer printers6%
Flavoured alcoholic drinks6%
Carbonated soft drinks3%
Energy drinks3%
Cooking sauces2%
Instant Coffee2%
Table sauces0%
Hot savoury snacks0%

Table 5. How different digital touchpoints are used by shoppers

Social network28%47%15%27%10%10%30%
Mobile phone20%38%20%27%16%25%16%
Tablet device18%54%27%37%23%27%10%

About Arc
Arc is a Brand Activation agency, created out of the merger of Arc, Lime and LeoSports and built on the three specialist disciplines of shopper, experiential and sponsorship. Simply stated, our goal is to change human behaviour, turning shoppers into buyers online, in store and on the move.

Our success is built on investment in research, industry leading strategic thinking and highly creative and effective campaigns.

Our key clients in the UK include Kraft, P&G, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Tesco and Unicef.

We have 42 offices worldwide employing over 1500 people.

For further press information, please contact Matt Shaw or Ethna Brave at Limelight PR 0207 484 6120.