Social Media Plays a Key Role among Online Shoppers

With the holiday season arriving in the middle of an economic downturn, retailers are looking for alternatives to drive new traffic to their online stores. In just two years, social media has become significantly influential in online behavior – from what to do, to where to go, but more importantly, what and where to shop.

That’s the main finding of a new nationwide survey from Guidance in association with Chicago market researcher Synovate. Guidance asked 1,000 online consumers, “What is the best way to find out about bargains or discounts online?”

According to the Guidance/Synovate eNation study, conducted in October, just under 30 percent of total respondents use social shopping techniques like forwarding links to friends, reading another shopper’s comments and checking out their friends’ profiles on social sites to learn about special offers on the Web. Compare this to two years ago, when social media wasn’t even considered a source of traffic for merchants.

Despite economic fears, a recent survey by eMarketer estimates that online holiday season sales will reach $32 billion in 2008, a 10 percent growth from last year. Retailers are also hopeful — 81% of them believe their online sales will grow this holiday season, according to Internet Retailer.

These and other interesting findings are revealed in a full survey report released today. Click here to read it.

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