While Canadians who use social media do so primarily to remain in touch with family and friends, a new study says it also plays a significant role in their purchase decisions.
According to Mintel’s Social Media Trends Canada 2015 report, nearly half of Canadian social media visitors (48%) have used these platforms to make a product discovery or purchase-related action, including taking advantage of discounts/special offers (30%), opinion-seeking (27%) and asking brands for product information before (18%) or after (19%) purchase.
Close to one-third of Canadians (29%) use sites like Facebook and Twitter to source product reviews from friends and peers. The study identifies millennial women (41%) and mothers with children in the home (38%) as being most likely to seek out this type of information.
More than a third of millennials (38%) and parents with children at home (43%) say they always try to share items they enjoy on the internet, compared to just 31% of the general population.
The study says social media posts also “prove influential” among millennials seeking opinions from others on products and services, as they are the most likely to ask for information (42%).
Two out of five millennials (38%) also report having purchased a product or service they were made aware of via social media posts, while about 20% purchased a product they were unaware of after friends or family posted about it.
The study indicates 59% of moms engage in product discovery and/or purchase-related actions on social media sites, compared to 48% of average Canadians.
Factoring in all websites, social networking sites are the most likely to be visited daily (60%), with more than one third of Canadians (41%) saying they access them multiple times a day.
While social media usage varies by age, the study found “increased usage” among millennials, with 75% visiting at least once a day. More than half (51%) of millennial men say they are likely to use three or more social sites in a typical day, including Facebook (65%), YouTube (51%) and Twitter (27%).
Parents with children in the home are also “highly engaged” social media users, visiting networks multiple times per day – 47% versus 39% of people without children – particularly mothers (53%). Only 28% of people over 45 are considered heavy social media users.
The study finds Facebook is used by nearly 95% of Canadians who visit social media sites, ahead of Google+ (67%), Twitter and LinkedIn (47% each). Despite reports that Facebook is losing momentum among younger Canadians, 18-24 year-olds who use social media remain heavy users – with 70% checking the site daily and 57% using it multiple times a day.
Its use is also elevated among older Canadians, with 49% of people 65 and over using it daily. Nearly three quarters (72%) of Canadians with children under the age of five use the site daily.