• Retail Dive

NPD: 51% of Facebook and Instagram users bought products while scrolling

Published June 23, 2021




Dive Brief:

  • Brands are infiltrating platforms where consumers spend their time, and a recent study from NPD shows that it might be yielding results in the apparel category. A little over half (51%) of consumers surveyed said that the content found on their Facebook and Instagram feeds resulted in a purchase.

  • Facebook (41%), Instagram (35%) and Pinterest (21%) ranked the highest in a list of online platforms where consumers discover and learn about products, according to the report, which was emailed to Retail Dive. Tik Tok was named by 15% of respondents.

  • When it comes to converting advertisement and other content into actual purchases, secondhand apparel platforms reign supreme (53%). Meanwhile, only 22% said that Pinterest's content resulted in a purchase — the lowest among the nine options listed.

Dive Insight:


The pandemic shifted brick-and-mortar shopping to e-commerce, and social media platforms want a piece of the pie. As a result, various social platforms have added shopping capabilities to bridge the path from discovery to purchase.


"Ready or not, with consumers sheltered at home last year, fashion retailing needed to adapt, and that adaptation had to happen quickly," Maria Rugolo, apparel industry analyst for NPD, said in a statement. "With this shift, impulse purchasing also shifted. As these platforms make purchasing even easier, with one-click shopping and the ability to buy instantly, social media will continue to gain more impulse-purchase attention."

During an NRF Retail Converge panel on Tuesday, Matt Cleary, TikTok's vertical director of retail and restaurants, discussed how the short-form video-sharing app leverages its highly specific algorithm to present content that caters to the user's interests. TikTok has gained a reputation for making products go viral in recent years.


"The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, which has over two and a half billion views, I think is a testament to this discovery mindset," Cleary said during the panel. Because of the For You page, "when something does pop and when somebody, whether it is a brand or a fan of that brand, showcases that product and kind of contextualizes it within their life as opposed to just showing it off, it has a powerful impact."

Social media platforms have attempted to leverage their ability to allow consumers to discover new products, especially throughout the pandemic.


Instagram, for instance, launched "Shopping in Reels" in December last year and other e-commerce features in the app also debuted in 2020. Pinterest added a "shop" tab to allow consumers to find and shop for products and Snapchat has been attempting to blend e-commerce and AR through brand partnerships and new features.

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