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The secret sauce of target demographics in social commerce


Global social commerce sales are estimated at US $ 992 billion in 2022 with a prediction to reach nearly US $ 3 trillion by 2026 as per online data shared by Statista. It’s no secret that social media has taken the world by storm. What started out as a way to connect with friends and family has quickly morphed into a powerful marketing and sales tool for businesses of all sizes. The Digital 2022 Global Overview report found that people spend an average of 2 hours and 27 minutes each day on social media, which is more than one-third of all the time people aged between 16 to 64 spend online. And it’s not just for the same platform. The report says that each month, 7.5 social media platforms are visited.

And while many businesses are still trying to figure out how to make social media work for them, there are some businesses that are really good at it and use it to drive traffic to their e-commerce sites, collect customer data, improve the customer experience and sell products by understanding the different generations of buyers which are GenZ (age 18-24), millennials (age 25-40), GenX (age 41-56) and Baby Boomers (age 57-74).

Different generations, different social commerce interactions

Factors such as staying in touch with friends and family, searching for solutions and information, looking for ideas and sources of entertainment, promoting professional and personal networks, and of course, buying and selling are some of the major uses of social media for people.

Mark McIntyre, CEO of Max audience says, “Social media is driven by the interests of a specific person, you just look at the demographics and each demographic has a different personality but you don’t just think about it as the demographic’s personality. You have to also layer in the age of all those people in that demographic.”

Social media purchasing habits are largely based on individual interests, but the age of the person also has a bearing on which channels they use. Baby Boomers or Parents, for example, may turn to Facebook to interact with other parents, while teenagers might turn to Snapchat. Each generation has a different way of using social media, which influences their purchase patterns.

Another example is Facebook. As per a study, its popularity is declining among younger generations with only 36 per cent of Generation Z using Facebook at least once a week, compared to 87 per cent of millennials, 90 per cent of Generation X and 96 per cent of baby boomers.

GenZ (aged 18-24) wants 24/7 customer service

This is one of the generations that doesn’t keep in touch with family via social media but use social media to kick off their status and buying needs. With 43 per cent having already purchased natively from a social media platform, Gen Z consumers have increased their use of social media in the last year, and 45 per cent expect it to continue to increase over the next three years. This is and will continue to be a huge trend driver across the social media landscape.

Data Below

  • 64% of Gen Z consumers expect a more personalized experience on social media based on previous interactions
  • 61% of Gen Z consumers want companies to know them better based on their social media activity
  • 52% of Gen Z consumers expect companies to read and analyze their social media posts
  • 35% of GenZ reach out to companies on social media to express love for a product or service

This is a generation that is all about instant gratification – what they want, when they want but they don’t jump through hoops to get it. That’s why social selling is so effective with this demographic. Generation Z is the most technologically savvy and diverse generation yet. They rely heavily on social media for reviews and recommendations and are less likely to sign up for loyalty programs despite looking for ways to save money.

Instead, they prefer engaging with brands that use social selling techniques. Platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Tik Tok are the most important medium now for them for buying or selling any product. With the generation’s least patience, it’s very important to grab their attention span in the 5-second window.

“If they see something their friends are using or talking about, they are much more likely to take the leap and buy it themselves. So, if you’re looking to market to Generation Z, focus on your social media presence and make sure you are using social selling techniques. You’ll be able to reach them where they are already spending the majority of their time and you’ll be able to connect with them on a level that resonates,” said a spokesperson of a high-end brand.

Hence brands are creating shareable and visually-effective infographics to appeal to Generation Z, and so they need to be authentic and transparent.

Data Below

  • 61% millennials use social media to communicate with family, friends and acquaintances
  • 51% millennials use social media to kill time
  • 47% millennials use social media to learn about new trends
  • 43% of millennials use social media to get breaking news

Millennials (Aged 25-40) are way too experimental

The Millennial generation is the first generation to come of age of technology. Being an open-minded and tolerant generation, they use social and other digital technologies to connect with brands. They are most likely than other generations to purchase products and services through social media platforms and even research the products and services.

Marketing strategies that work well with this generation include social media marketing, influencer marketing and content marketing. They prefer brands with lower prices rather than price drops from offers and deals. They expect authentic brand messaging and seek out brands that support social or environmental causes and price-to-value ratio. This hyper-connected generation relies on user-generated content, which makes word-of-mouth advertising more potent than ever before. Instagram remains their favorite social media handles to access information and interact and make online purchases followed by e-commerce platforms.

Generation X (Aged 41-56) stays at one arm’s distance from social media transactions

Generation Xers are a unique bunch who are triggered by ‘Nostalgia’. They’re the ones who came of age in the wake of the hippie movement. One of the most common misconceptions is that Generation X do not buy anything online. The buying power of this demographic is often overlooked because they are not as active on social media as millennials.

However, this generation is more cautious and skeptical of brands and enjoys thorough research, and prefers to stick to what they know. Having various buying habits that differ from those of millennials and baby boomers, one thing remains the same – they tend to be independent, resourceful and self-sufficient and are incredibly adept at using technology but using social media for shopping is rare in their cases.

Social media is a place to keep in touch with family and friends and participate in any community activity online. They usually share their opinion online and are very much influenced by the compelling user-generated content in digital marketing campaigns.

“There’s no question that Gen Xers are a key demographic for e-commerce platforms like Amazon or Alibaba, and they continue to be a loyal customer base. In fact, a recent study found that 80 per cent of Gen Xers say they trust e-commerce platforms more because it’s easy for them to research products, compare prices and get great deals without even leaving their houses.”

It’s clear that Amazon is doing something right when it comes to attracting and retaining Gen Xer customers. With their combination of great deals, convenience and customer reviews, they have created a shopping experience that is tailored specifically to the needs and wants of this important demographic.

Baby Boomers (Aged 57-74) are underrated and may turn the trend with impulse buying

As the world becomes more and more digital, social media is increasingly becoming a key way for businesses to market their products and services. For example, Baby Boomers were hesitant to embrace online shopping when it first became popular in the late 1990s/early 2000s. According to reports, baby boomers’ control 70 per cent of the disposable income in the United States. But now, seniors are among the fastest-growing demographic of online shoppers globally. In fact, baby boomers account for US $7 trillion in annual spending despite only 36 per cent of them using social media for buying. Facebook and LinkedIn are the most important platforms for baby boomers. They use Facebook groups for community building, purchases, and product discovery.

Data Below

  • 40% of Baby Boomers view social media as an essential part of their lives and
  • 73% use it to stay connected with friends and family.

In addition, baby boomers are more likely to make impulse purchases than any other age group. This is because they are less likely to do research before making a purchase and tapping them surely means reaching out to a large number of buyers who are likely to do impulse purchases.

With customers preferring the online platform more, companies have to adapt and find ways to engage with them through social media. This has created a whole new set of challenges for businesses, which now need to consciously address how they engage with different demographics on social media. By understanding social performance in relation to key demographics, companies can figure out what content resonates with their customer base and identify market trends that can influence how and where they show up online.

It’s no longer enough to have a presence on social media; Businesses need to be active and engage in conversations that are happening online. By understanding demographic data, companies can adjust their social media strategy to better reach their target audiences. This is especially important as social media use continues to grow among the older generation. While younger people are still the most active users of social media, adoption rates among adults aged 35 and up are increasing rapidly. In order to stay ahead of the curve, businesses need to understand how different demographics use social media and what kind of content resonates with them. Only then can they create a strategy that will ensure they’re reaching the right people with the right message and have greater consumers instead of visitors.

We wonder what Generation Alpha will be looking for!!


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