Social content fuels holiday spending decisions, but data a concern: study

Instagram and YouTube are helping guide holiday purchases, while emerging tech could also play a bigger role.

Social ads and content are influencing more Canadians’ decisions around holiday shopping – and they could be driving bigger purchases for Canadian businesses.

That’s according to the 2018 Holiday Shopping Survey from Accenture. The auditing and consultancy firm surveyed 1,500 Canadians. The respondents were split evenly among age groups, with 20% each coming from the Gen Z demographic (18 to 20), younger millennials (21 to 27), older millennials (28 to 37), Gen X (38 to 54) and Boomers (55 and older). The online survey was conducted online in August 2018.

Nearly half (46%) of shoppers said they plan to use Instagram alone as inspiration for their online shopping journeys. That’s almost double from last year, which saw 25% say they were using Instagram to make shopping decisions.

More than half (56%) of users say they use YouTube to make their shopping decisions or purchases.

Social media in general is increasing as a tool for shoppers. More than one-third (37%) of respondents said social media will make shopping easier when buying for people not normally on their list (up from 30% in 2017).

Emerging tech is also playing a bigger role in holiday shopping; 53% of survey respondents said they could see themselves using an AI-powered tool (such as Google Home or Amazon Echo) to assist them with their holiday shopping decisions.

Nevertheless, despite the rise of technology, consumers are still concerned about their personal data. Far more respondents this year say they will avoid brands that have had a recent data security breach – 44%, up from 31%.

Canadian brands may have something to celebrate; 41% of shoppers say they’re going to spend their holiday dollars at Canadian retailers rather than travel to the U.S. or even use U.S. online retailers. That’s up form 31% last year. Average spend is up to $733 from $648 last year.

Also released by Accenture this week was a study on how media affects makeup purchases. The study, commissioned in July, surveyed more than 2,000 Canadian women. It found that for makeup products in particular, 46% of shoppers discover products online, 31% specifically on mobile.