Social Commerce and the Path to Purchase

Our Primary Research Shows What Makes Social Users Buy and What Holds Them Back

Executive Summary

While social commerce sales continue to rise, a large share of social users in every generation still don’t make purchases on the platforms. Our exclusive primary research reveals why some users choose to make purchases on social media and why others refrain. We also draw conclusions on what, if anything, could convince nonbuyers to tap or click “buy.”


  1. What drives social buyers to make purchases, and what prevents nonbuyers from doing so?
  2. How do Gen Zers, millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers differ in their social commerce habits?
  3. What can social platforms and brands do to entice more social users to make purchases and grow their social commerce sales?

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? Our primary research on social commerce habits and preferences in the US, including breakouts by generation. We also give advice on how brands, retailers, and the social platforms can grow their social commerce businesses.

KEY STAT: Only 38% of US social users had made a purchase on social media in the 12 months preceding our June 2022 survey. Even among Gen Z and millennials, there was a roughly 50-50 split between buyers and nonbuyers.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Key Points
  3. Social Commerce Usage Is Plateauing
  4. A Lack of Trust Is a Top Barrier for Social Commerce
  1. Can More Trust Lead to More Buyers?
  2. What Motivates Social Users To Make Purchases?
  3. What Do These Findings Mean for Brands and Retailers?
  4. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

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Jasmine Enberg


Ona Koehler
Senior Director, Benchmarking
Natalie McGranahan
Senior Researcher and Taxonomy Manager
Debra Aho Williamson
Principal Analyst

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