Canadians are shopping on social media more this holiday season vs last

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It’s a weekday night and you finally have time to make the dessert recipe you bookmarked on YouTube.

Tonight’s creation is gourmet chocolate balls from Bon Appétit magazine. As you watch the video closely, you notice a new tool the chef uses you haven’t seen before. Curious, you follow a digital trail from the video to the product and purchase it. This will be incredibly handy for your next bake-off.

If this sounds like how you find new products, you’re not alone. More Canadians are using social commerce to shop.

In fact, Canadian social media users spend $77 monthly on average shopping via social platforms, according to PayPal Canada’s inaugural Social Commerce Trend Study.

The same report notes that nearly half of Canadian social media users shop on social media platforms and 40 per cent plan to shop on social media this holiday season.

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Canadians spend a fair bit of time daily on social media and many are turning to it as a way to shop and review products,” says Paul Parisi, president of PayPal Canada. “They want to do it with trust and security.”

Getty Images
Getty Images Getty Images

What is social commerce?

Social commerce is when someone buys or sells a product directly through a social network, he said.

“So it’s shopping through Instagram or Facebook or Pinterest or Snapchat and others.”

Instead of going through an all-purpose online retail site, this shopping comes via those social media streams.

“People want to make their shopping more convenient,” Parisi said, adding that sites’ using technology like PayPal’s paying method has made the process much easier. “We have free return shipping on us, for example,” he said. “It’s all been made easier.”

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Canadians are very interested in social commerce

Canadians seem to be particularly interested in social commerce. Canadian social media users already spend $924 annually shopping on social media platforms, the study noted. And two in five Canadian social media users shop on social media at least once every six months.

And what are Canadians buying exactly? While the majority of social media shoppers are purchasing fashion items like clothes, shoes or accessories (54 per cent) and electronics (26 per cent), approximately 18 per cent chalk up their shopping to purchase quirky and unique finds. The study found men in particular are more frequent social media shoppers (approximately 33 per cent) compared to women (26 per cent).

And of the platforms available, Facebook is the most popular social media platform among Canadians, followed closely by Snapchat and then Instagram.

The study reports 29 per cent of Canadian social media users shop on Facebook monthly while 26 per cent shop on Snapchat and 25 per cent shop on Instagram each month.

Why is it increasing?

There are a few reasons why the interest in social commerce is on the rise. One critical reason is our interest in all things mobile.

“We’ve continued to make the mobile shopping experience better and more efficient,” said Parisi, who notes companies like PayPal help make social or mobile commerce easier.

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“Being mobile friendly, we’re not forcing people back to a tablet or desktop to shop. With PayPal they don’t have to enter 16 digits and encounter a longer check-out process.”

Social media influencer Nina Huynh (@yourgirlneens) likes the easy price comparison social commerce offers.

“I can compare prices, colours and styles side by side on my screen,” she said. “I also like that you don’t have to commit to buying something the first time you see it. With social media shopping, it’s all right in front of you, so there’s less pressure and indecisiveness when you do decide to buy.”

Listening to influencers

At the same time, the role of the influencer continues to grow and helps consumers feel more confident about the products they’re purchasing.

“In fact, according to the study, 41 per cent of people who bought something off of social media said they were inspired by an online recommendation,” Parisi said. “This overall concern shoppers had of ‘I’m not 100 per cent sure this is going to be good’ is overcome by following a celebrity, influencer or even a friend who says it is good.”

Shopping apps like Depop and Poshmark are also helping with the growth of social commerce. Depop, which exclusively uses PayPal to receive payments, has more than 15 million users in 147 countries.

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With social media, we have great style at our fingertips. We can literally shop anywhere: on our commute, over our lunch break or at our favourite coffee shop. With a bevy of style influencers and fashion brands sharing their content daily, it’s not a surprise that over half of Canadian social media shoppers flock to fashion items, like clothing, shoes or accessories.

This holiday season, PayPal is encouraging you to give better. They’ve teamed up with popular brands and small businesses to help you find thoughtful gifts from businesses that give back. Check out