Shopping on social media is easy, but is it safe? Here's what to look out for.
For many, shopping on social media makes sense. Platforms like Instagram Shopping or Facebook Marketplace serve up an array of products, on an app you already spend time on, often personalised to your specific tastes. It’s convenient, easy, and helps you buy just what you didn’t know you always needed.
If you’ve tapped through your social app to make a purchase before, you’re one of a growing crowd. So-called ‘social commerce’ is booming: global social commerce sales in 2020 were valued at an estimated US$560 billion, according to Statista, and forecasts suggest this will hit US$2.9 trillion in 2026.
Facebook has been in the shopping game for years, and some countries now have access to Facebook Pay to make purchases on Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. On Instagram, 130 million accounts tap on a shopping post every month. TikTok has a growing partnership with Shopify to help users buy through the app. And WeChat plays a huge role in the social-shopping market in China, which is ten times that of the US.
But is mixing social media and your spending a wise move? We already know social media companies have an insatiable hunger for user data, so what personal information might we be sharing when we make purchases directly on their platforms? Is it any different to regular online shopping?