Pinterest: A Power Force in Social Ecommerce

by Abbie Judge

With more than 335 million active users worldwide and 200 billion Pins last year, Pinterest continues to dominate the social media landscape. Moreover, the social platform is more than just a tool for finding visual inspiration, planning for life's big moments, and discovering great DIY tips; it's also a social ecommerce giant.

According to a 2019 study by Pinterest, 90% of weekly Pinterest users ("Pinners") use Pinterest to help them decide what to buy. This means nearly ALL weekly Pinners turn to the social media network to guide them on their path to purchase. In comparison to Facebook, Instagram, and even popular search engines, Pinterest is more likely to impact what people buy. Further, 47% of Pinners hop on the site with the intent to discover and shop for products. This percentage is three times higher than those for both Instagram and Facebook.

Brands also play a crucial role in the shopping experience on Pinterest. Although branded content on other social media platforms can sometimes seem intrusive and "spammy," brands on Pinterest do not experience the same obstacles. 83% of weekly Pinners make purchases based explicitly on content they saw from brands, while 78% say branded posts are useful. Pinners look to the platform for content from brands to discover new products and even help bring their ideas to life.

Along with helping users make purchasing decisions and connecting them with brands, Pinterest also entices users to spend money even when they were not planning on it. 72% of Pinners say Pinterest inspires them to shop when they aren't actually looking for anything.

So how and why has Pinterest emerged as a leader in social shopping? The social platform's visual discovery format seamlessly blends inspiring and personalized posts with shopping content and branded products. Users log on to the platform, and they are instantly immersed in an endless scrolling list of images that relate to themselves, their preferences, their lifestyle, and their previous searches. Innocently sprinkled within this content are products and posts from brands. These posts from brands are welcomed as they still relate specifically to the users themselves. Essentially, Pinterest creates a personalized visual shopping list for each of its Pinners. It's hard not to want to buy something when the platform is showing you things it knows you'll like.

Pinterest also simplifies and condenses the customer purchasing journey: Users search for a product or brand and can scroll through hundreds of image results within minutes to find what they're looking for or what appeals to them. This eliminates the need to open multiple tabs to compare products or brands, as they can simply do this from the search results. Further, because the results are image-focused, result pages remain uncluttered and easier to navigate.

Finally, the demographics of Pinterest's users contribute to its success in social ecommerce. In the United States, Pinterest reaches 83% of all women between the ages of 25 and 54. This group, labeled "Deciders" by Pinterest, makes most purchasing decisions in the country as they control more than 50% of the wealth in the U.S., and 80% of them are responsible for household buying. Deciders on Pinterest view the platform as a vital part of their lives. 85% of Deciders look to Pinterest for help planning small or big life moments, more than both Instagram and Facebook.

It's safe to say, Pinterest is an ecommerce leader among its fellow social media platforms. In 2020, we will continue to watch how the platform expands its social shopping features and stays ahead in social media commerce.

March 13, 2020