The social commerce industry is expected to double its value in the next four years in the UK as more consumers discover new ways to shop.

Woman shopping on mobile

24% of millennials buy something on social media at least once a month

The industry is predicted to rise from £7.4bn to almost £16bn by 2028, according to a new report from Retail Economics in partnership with TikTok.

Social commerce could become 10% of the total online commerce market, up from 6% currently.

The research reveals that 56% of UK users have made a purchase directly through social media, via a link on shoppable content or through an app.

For those under 45, the figure rose to 73%, with 24% of millennials buying something on social media at least once a month.

TikTok is currently leading in this space with 44% of people surveyed having made a purchase directly on the platform.

Shoppable formats such as live shopping and interactive ads are contributing factors to why the social commerce market is growing at pace. More than half (54%) of online shoppers find browsing for products on social platforms “more satisfying” than shopping on websites or in-store.

TikTok UK group vertical director for retail and ecommerce Paul Mears said: “TikTok is at the heart of a new type of shopping culture, blending community, commerce and entertainment to make it easier for people to discover, research, and buy new and trending products.

“As the buying power of gen Z and millennials increases, brands and retailers will need to continue investing in their presence, as more and more consumers embrace social and entertainment platforms for all their shopping needs.”

Retail Economics chief executive Richard Lim added: “Social commerce has been around for a few decades but we’re seeing it pick up momentum in the past few years, driven by short-form video platforms like TikTok. 

“These platforms have helped to break down some of the barriers that have held back widespread uptake in the past, using better technology and more accessible commerce formats to create a seamless shopping experience all within one place.

“Add hugely entertaining creators and content into the mix and we’ve now got a magic formula that is accelerating the growth of social commerce in a way that we haven’t seen before.”