Written by Amanda McGee
In recent years, social media has become a primary space for product promotion. For many, it is impossible to open up your phone without being bombarded by advertisements. Experts estimate that the average American is exposed to about 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements per day - nearly double the exposure Americans experienced in 2007, prior to the takeoff of social media.
As exposure to advertisements has increased, so has consumerism globally. While many factors affect the economic climate, sources suggest that digital marketing and social media specifically have played a large role. With the implementation of features like Tik Tok Shop and others on our favorite interactive platforms, consumption has never been easier for potential buyers.
Before the internet and the world of social media exploded, there were limitations on a buyer’s selection of products. Small businesses and less renowned companies could not always afford advertising on a large scale, nor could products be ordered online and shipped outside local communities.
Today, there is a greater range of products available to consumers. Further, consumers have access to unlimited information about the products via reviews and online content. With the ability to compare products beyond price-point, buyers can make purchases feeling confident and informed.
Social media also allows brands to develop relationships with consumers online. With the opportunity to respond to questions, comments and feedback while producing relatable content, loyalty is established. Having a loyal fan base, word of mouth endorsements increase and cast a wider net than ever before.
Lastly, as touched on, exposure to products impacts our impulse to buy them. With trends rapidly coming and going, there is pressure on many social media users to keep up and fit into what seems like an extensive community of people who are using an amazing product and raving about it. Driven by an instinctive desire to feel accepted, conformity often gets the best of us, thus increasing consumption.
In all, social media has undeniably impacted the spending habits of many. However, the real question is whether this is for better or for worse. Consumerism benefits our economy at the expense of our environment. With no foreseeable end to this surge in consumerism, it is up to buyers to weigh the effects of their purchases, making ethical decisions regarding spending habits .