Shopping on social media the smart way

When Ziwei Cong bought some sweatpants that caught her eye during a livestream shopping event on social media, she was disappointed when they arrived and didn’t fit well.

“It’s very easy for me to become irrational during these kinds of shopping events,” says the assistant professor of marketing at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. She adds that the hosts can be very persuasive and hook you with limited- time offers to trigger impulse purchases.

Social shopping, or purchases made through social media sites that sometimes incorporate livestreaming events with influencers, is booming. Almost half of U.S. consumers (47%) say they’ve made a purchase on social media, and 39% say they have bought that way and would do so again, according to 2022 data in a report released in April by the market intelligence agency Mintel.

“Shopping on social media has really taken off more with younger consumers. They’re on their phones more and on social media more often, so it’s easier to purchase via social media when they find a product they like,” says Katie Hansen, senior retail and e-commerce analyst at Mintel and author of the report.

In Kimberly Palmer’s latest for the Washington Post, learn guideposts when engaging in social shopping.