Research from Bazaarvoice found that consumers placing high importance on purchasing directly through social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest has risen by 38% in a year.

The survey of more than 2,000 consumers across the UK, US, France, and Germany, revealed that one-third of UK consumers now express the ability to discover and buy products as an important factor to their experience of social platforms.

Out of the 500 brands and retailers surveyed, 91% agreed that visual content makes for a more engaging shopping experience, enhancing discoverability (86%), deepening brand trust (77%) and increasing conversion (73%). Personalising offers and recommendations to individual shoppers is also a top priority for 70% brands in the coming year, with 44% of consumers saying they get frustrated when retailers fail to provide relevant personalised experiences.

User-generated content fuels the shopping journey as 64% of shoppers consider ratings and reviews, questions and answers, and user photos important, up from 14% from 2017.

The research follows from Instagram’s newly launched Checkout tool, which offers brands the opportunity to release a visually heavy customer journey based in-app and make a purchase without having to leave the app.

“The retail landscape has continued to shift over the last year, as modern consumers seek unique shopping experiences, new engagement and purchase channels and an increased level of brand and product transparency and authenticity. Brands and retailers that recognise these evolving preferences and deliver informative, interactive experiences online and offline can both retain their existing customers and attract new ones,” commented Joe Rohrlich, CRO of Bazaarvoice.

You can download the full report to find out more about the ways consumers connect with brands and retailers today.