Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Evolving eCommerce: Shopping on Social – US market including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

The way consumers are shopping online continues to evolve – and social commerce will play a larger role moving forward. As consumers shop more online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, brands and retailers have the opportunity to drive awareness, engagement, and purchases through social channels. The continued adoption of social commerce will streamline the shopping process as consumers can complete their journey without ever having to leave the platforms.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Katie Yackey, a leading analyst in the eCommerce sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Prior to COVID-19, the ecommerce ecosystem was continuing its ongoing evolution. This included incorporating the latest technologies and platforms that streamlined the shopping process for consumers – including the continued adoption of social commerce capabilities. In light of the pandemic, these efforts have been accelerated as consumers’ shopping behaviors shift and are relying more on social platforms during the discovery, research, and purchase phases of their shopping journey.
Katie Yackey
eCommerce Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • Definition
    • COVID-19: Market context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Total US retail ecommerce sales and forecast, at current prices, 2015-25
    • Impact of COVID-19 on eCommerce and shopping on social
      • Figure 2: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce, October 2020
    • Opportunities and Challenges
    • Streamline the shopping process to provide convenience to consumers
    • Build consumer confidence in social commerce
    • Drive consumers to shop small on social
  3. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • eCommerce continues to see strong growth
    • Social media offers a way to window shop online
    • Economic downturn drives consumers to look for value
  4. Market Size and Forecast

    • A strong ecommerce surge
      • Figure 3: Total US retail ecommerce sales and forecast, at current prices, 2015-25
    • Macroeconomic factors
    • High unemployment and shaky consumer confidence drive a focus on value
      • Figure 4: Unemployment and underemployment, January 2007- September 2020
      • Figure 5: Consumer Sentiment Index, January 2007-September 2020
    • Impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce
      • Figure 6: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce, July 2020
    • Lockdown
    • Re-emergence
    • Recovery
    • COVID-19: US context
    • Learnings from the last recession
  5. Market Factors

    • TikTok is here to stay
      • Figure 7: Oracle and Walmart partner to acquire TikTok
    • Consumers turn to deal hunting
      • Figure 8: Disposable personal income change from previous period, January 2019-July 2020
      • Figure 9: Unemployment and underemployment, January 2007- September 2020
    • Social shopping provides all consumers a way to window shop online
    • Using 5G to integrate digital experiences
    • FACEing reality
  6. Market Opportunities

    • Using social channels for good
      • Figure 10: Brands use social media for social causes
    • Leveraging social content and commerce to slow the thumb scroll
      • Figure 11: Forever21 shoppable post
    • Showcase consumers’ skillsets in branded content
      • Figure 12: Winc feature
  7. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Facebook aims to capture more of the social commerce market
    • Instagram provides a new way to shop live
    • Pinterest signals which brands are safe to shop
    • TikTok steps into the social commerce competition
  8. Competitive Strategies

    • Facebook looks to capture more social shopping
      • Figure 13: Facebook Shop
      • Figure 14: Facebook shop small businesses
    • Instagram updates allow consumers to shop Live
    • Pinterest reassures consumers
      • Figure 15: Pinterest Verified Merchant Program
    • TikTok gets ready to shop
  9. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Consumers shop on platforms they use most
    • Experiences on social draw in shoppers
    • Consumers still want value out of the social shopping experience
    • Shoppers have concerns about social commerce
  10. Consumer Trends and Shopping on Social

    • Technology
    • Rights
    • Value
    • Experiences
  11. Platforms Used

    • Consumers shop where they are
      • Figure 16: Social media platforms used, June 2020
    • Leisure use doesn’t translate to shopping use
      • Figure 17: Social media capability usage, June 2020
  12. Ways Platforms are Used

    • Give consumers a reason to stop the scroll
      • Figure 18: Consumer interaction with social media, June 2020
      • Figure 19: Stay at Home with Vogue
      • Figure 20: Burger King TikTok challenge
    • Staying informed on brands through social
      • Figure 21: Consumer interaction with social media by generation, June 2020
    • Consumers find shoppable posts add value to their experience
      • Figure 22: Attitudes toward specific social capabilities, June 2020
      • Figure 23: Attitudes toward specific social capabilities by generation, June 2020
    • Social is a window to inspiration
      • Figure 24: How consumers use social media, June 2020
      • Figure 25: Sephora sales on Instagram
    • Count on (some) social interaction from older consumers
      • Figure 26: How consumers use social media by Generation, June 2020
  13. Categories Shopped on Social

    • Start small with shoppers
      • Figure 27: Products purchased on social, June 2020
    • Millennials shop smart to play more
      • Figure 28: Products purchased on social by Generation, June 2020
      • Figure 29: Ulta Beauty engages consumers through Instagram
  14. Motivation & Barriers

    • Value-based factors drive consumers to shop on social
      • Figure 30: Motivation to purchase from social channel, June 2020
      • Figure 31: Zappos Twitter review featured on Instagram
      • Figure 32: TURF Analysis – Motivation to purchase from social channel, June 2020
    • Elicit emotional responses in various categories
      • Figure 33: Motivation to purchase specific products on social media, by products interested in purchase, June 2020
      • Figure 34: Trader Joe’s Inside
    • Consumers use caution when choosing where to shop
      • Figure 35: Barriers to purchasing on social, June 2020
      • Figure 36: Farmacybeauty shoppable post
    • Process concerns hold back younger generations
      • Figure 37: Barriers to purchasing on social by generation, June 2020
      • Figure 38: Burt’s Bees with TrustedSite
  15. Social Media Platform Attributes

    • Brands need to be where it makes sense
      • Figure 39: Social media platform attributes, June 2020
    • Mapping consumers’ perceptions across platforms
      • Figure 40: Correspondence Analysis – Symmetrical map – Word association, June 2020
  16. Attitudes Toward Shopping on Social

    • Consumers are shopping, without feeling like they are shopping
      • Figure 41: Attitudes toward shopping on social media, June 2020
    • Provide product insight for younger shoppers
      • Figure 42: Attitudes toward shopping on social media by generation, June 2020
  17. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Forecast
    • Consumer survey data
    • Direct marketing creative
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
    • Terms
  18. Appendix – The Consumer

      • Figure 43: Consumer interaction on social media

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

Below is a sample report, understand what you are buying.

Click to show report

Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted. Also, our reports come in PDF, Powerpoint, Word and Excel Databook formats.

Trusted by companies. Big and small.

Bell Logo - Mintel client
Boots Logo - Mintel Client
Kelloggs Logo - Mintel client
Samsung Logo - Mintel client
Nike Logo - Mintel client
Walgreens Logo - Mintel client

Want to speak to us directly?

Contact us on via phone or fill out a form with your enquiry.

Contact Us