Instagram is hedging its bets on creators as social shopping heats up

Instagram is hedging its bets on creators and influencers as it tries to get ahead in the social commerce race.

The trend, which has been characterised in China, relies on influencers with large social media followings to sell products to consumers, often on livestreams.

“Ultimately, creators are solving a problem for people when it comes to shopping which is overwhelming choice,” Instagram Shopping director of product Layla Amjadi told Business Insider.

There is a growing trend of young adults, or “early work” adults as Amajdi defined it, turning to social media and influencers for product recommendations.

“They already are looking to these folks for culture and trend,” Amjadi said.

“The natural next step, often from culture and trend, is commerce.”

“Social commerce is any shopping that you do with the help of someone else,” Amjadi said.

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Amjadi compared the new social commerce trend to the traditional concept that previously existed within shopping centres and windows of Manhattan.

The only difference today is that influencers are directing social media users to digital storefronts as ecommerce takes over.

According to data from eMarketer, the social commerce sector is expected to see sales reach over $351 billion before the end of the year.

The US currently lags far behind China in the industry, however its social commerce sales are expected to climb over 35 per cent this year.

To capitalise on the growing trend, Instagram has updated its platform with a number of tools, including links in stories and building its own affiliate program.

According to Amjadi, the social commerce features were requested by creators and influencers.

“How can we help people move, as we say in commerce, deeper into that funnel and move into consideration and then ultimately purchase?”

Amjadi has revealed that the shopping tab experience is top of the agenda for Instagram in 2022.

“We’re only at the beginning, we’re building an ecosystem, versus a feature.”

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