More than half of UAE residents (55 per cent) said they have more trust in brands that have their own social media accounts or are represented online by influencers, according to a new YouGov survey.
A majority (69 per cent) of 1,006 people surveyed in the UAE said they trust verified social media accounts for financial transactions and 57 per cent said they are more likely to buy from accounts that have an influencer campaign.
“Today the role of social media is changing as brands are treating it as a sales platform,” said the YouGov report, which was conducted earlier this month.
“YouGov’s new research surveyed UAE respondents on their comfort of shopping on social media and reveals their willingness to embrace the age of social shopping.”
Currently, 68 per cent of online shoppers in the UAE still prefer retail websites, such as Amazon.ae and noon.com, while 17 per cent prefer buying from brand websites and 9 per cent from social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat. Around two-thirds of UAE residents (65 per cent) said they are likely to buy on social media in the future.
In terms of comfort of shopping on social media, 55 per cent said they found it convenient and 61 per cent felt it saved time. More than half follow specific brand accounts on social media for shopping, and 56 per cent were comfortable with brands monitoring their online shopping data to tailor-make offers for them.
More than half of UAE residents (52 per cent) who shop online at least once a year said they bought items directly through a social media platform, while 7 per cent have saved a potential purchase for a later date.
Facebook is the most popular social media shopping platform, with more than four in five social media shoppers (82 per cent) making a purchase through the medium. Instagram is the second most popular at 47 per cent. Pinterest and Snapchat each garnered 8 per cent.
Instagram was more popular with the younger crowd, with 59 per cent of shoppers under 30 years old making a purchase through the platform, in comparison to 40 per cent for those over 30.
Although 58 per cent of men said social media makes them trust a brand more and 50 per cent of women said the same, more women than men actually indulge in social media shopping (57 per cent of women, compared to 49 per cent of men).
Many respondents still had concerns about shopping on social media with 44 per cent saying it is meant for networking and not selling. Furthermore, 59 per cent said social media shopping is only good for certain product categories and 62 per cent said it is a good medium for researching, rather than buying, products.
More than a third (35 per cent) said a brand’s social persona is unlikely to change their perception and 10 per cent said it makes them trust a brand less.