12 Surprising Ways Social Media Affects Your Purchases

In America, Facebook is the leading social media website, with Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), and others following suit. Social media greatly influences our buying habits by constantly exposing us to new products and trends.

A recent study by WalletHub reveals several interesting insights about how social media affects consumer habits. The study surveyed more than 200 respondents online and created a generalized result. Based on this study and our research, we have determined the top things about social media’s ability to influence our buying habits.

Convenience of Social Media Purchases

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Social media purchases are more convenient for around 47% of Americans. Buying things from social media is easier due to the seamless integration of shopping into their daily online activities. Users are exposed to personalized ads, easy access to product reviews, and one-click purchasing.

Social media platforms also offer a wide array of products in one place. Thus, shopping becomes quick and effortless as customers can save time. This is convenient for many as it reduces the need to visit multiple websites or physical stores.

Targeted Advertisements

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In recent surveys, many people have expressed concerns about how social media platforms collect and use personal information. These platforms deliver tailor-made advertisements to users based on location history, search history, and site traffic.

This targeted approach increases the chance of consumers engaging with and purchasing the advertised products. Thus, people end up buying things before they even realize they need them.

Impulsive Buying

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The WalletHub survey states that 3 out of 4 people unnecessarily purchase something because of social media advertisements. 74% of the respondents said a similar thing in the same survey. Social media advertisements often compel users to buy something even if they do not need to. These platforms attract users to unnecessary commodities through targeted advertisements and user-generated content.


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Nearly 2 out of 3 U.S. adults believe they overspend because of social media. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok use algorithms to tailor content for specific users. These platforms have access to the usage patterns and browsing history of their users. Thus, they can make personalized recommendations that can lead to overspending.

Increasing Debts

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Since 2014, Facebook enabled direct purchase options for various pages and e-commerce sites. Thus, buying something from social media has become more convenient. Around 46% of the respondents have expressed that social media purchase raise their debts. Plus, 67% of people think they have exceeded their budget to get something based on social media ads.

Scam Buys

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Social media often promotes misleading ads and fake reviews confuse users about certain products. Sometimes, buying things from unverified sellers can also prove to be a scam. Customers might receive low-quality or counterfeit items, or no products at all. Phishing scams can also steal personal information. 1 out of 5 Americans feel their purchase was not as advertised on social media.

Pressure from Social Media Influencers

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Recently, a new trend of social media influencing has changed the course of digital marketing. Social media influencers impact our buying habits by leveraging their credibility and relatability, from product unboxing videos to paid promotions. 

Gen-Z trusts the recommendations from social media influencers more than celebrities as they are more relatable. As a result, 82.7% of U.S. companies are now resorting to social media influencer marketing programs to boost their business.

Jumping on Trends

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The endorsements and reviews from public figures can create a sense of trust and aspiration in consumers. Influencers introduce new trends and brands, making their followers more likely to try and buy items they showcase.

These practices can drive consumer behavior and preferences. The latest study by Dana Rebecca Designs claims that 72% of respondents purchased fashion and style-related things online based on Instagram influencers’ suggestions.

Anxiety Over Finances

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As people become more prone to buying things because of social media marketing, they also become more concerned about their finances. 36% of people felt frustrated about their financial conditions because of social media.

This anxiety can lead to a pretense about finances. 2 out of 5 people in America pretend positively about their financial image on social media.

Skepticism about Social Media Purchase

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Only 38% of Americans feel confident buying anything based on social media recommendations.

Facebook, Instagram, and other social media websites follow certain algorithms and sponsorships to suggest selective products to target buyers. Thus, the ratings or reviews are not always accurate or trustworthy. Many people end up distrusting their purchase later on because of this anxiety.

Regret about Social Media Purchase

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Another point highlighted by the WalletHub survey is around 63% of Americans feel dissatisfied about their social media purchases.

The reason behind this dissatisfaction might stem from different factors. They could be unhappy about their purchased item. They could be worried about going overboard with their expenditure. In general, social media purchases can make customers regret their decisions later.

Dissatisfaction with Celebrity Recommendations

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Similar to influencer marketing, celebrity recommendations of products can control consumer habits. Positive feedback and high ratings from renowned individuals can significantly influence purchasing decisions.

Social media advertisements can enable users to purchase products validated by their favorite celebrities, encasing the public tendency to imitate celebrity lifestyles. The WalletHub survey describes that 47% of users feel dissatisfied after such recommended purchases. The illusion behind the purchase leads to dissatisfaction once the users have direct experiences.

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