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Brands, Retailers Are Most Followed on Social Media
January 18, 2013

 Brands and retailers have the most followed or “Liked” pages on social media, according to WSL/Strategic Retail. Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of users who “Fan” social media pages are choosing to follow brands and retailers—beating out celebrities and TV shows, which are followed by just more than half of users. The finding was unveiled as part of WSL/Strategic Retail’s Buzz to Buy 3.0 trend report, its third annual survey measuring how the power of social media and online information are impacting buying decisions.
“We may think everyone is following the Kardashians on Facebook, but in fact, Walmart is the greater social media ‘celebrity,’ with more than double the number of followers as the Kardashian family’s most popular member, Kim,” said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL/Strategic Retail. “That said, awareness doesn’t necessarily translate into sales—yet. Today, only 26 percent of all users go to their social networks for information about something they want to buy. However, that number jumps to 40 percent among Millennial shoppers, a strong indication that social media’s influence on buying decisions will continue to grow.”

While the amount of time Americans spend online continues to increase (up 3 hours per week over 2011), social media usage has declined for the first time—down 10 percent in 2012 versus the previous year. Generation X, Boomers and Seniors are leading the change, while usage by Millennials remains consistent.

Millennials showed the highest increase of time spent online—a full 25 hours per week (up 5 hours per week over 2011). In addition to relying heavily on their social networks for information about products they want to buy (40 percent), they are also the leaders in utilizing mobile phones to help them shop (63 percent)—resulting in a 15-point margin over Gen X shoppers.
With the rise of portable devices, shoppers are using their smartphones (42 percent) and tablets/e-readers (16 percent) to access product information and engage their friends in buying decisions while shopping in-store. In fact, mobile phones and tablets each accounted for 10 percent of online purchases made in the past three months. Shopping apps further increase mobile shopping activity, now ranking No. 4 among the most downloaded apps (following games, social media and music).