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Introduction – Impacts of Social Media on Consumer Decision Making Process
A report by Australian Bureau of Statistics (2016) indicated that more than 7.7 million households in Australia have access to the internet representing 86% of all the households in the country and 3% increase from 2013. Over 97% of the internet users in Australia are aged more than 15 years. The increased accessibility and use of the internet and penetration of smartphones in the market has increased the rate of social media use.
The report by Australian Bureau of Statistics (2016) indicated that smartphone penetration in the market was at 81% and it extended its market leadership over laptops whose penetration rate reduced by 11% to 59%. Based on this report, majority of people in the market use their smartphones to access the internet. A report by Australian Bureau of Statistics (2011) indicated that 79% of the Australian adults are social media users. Therefore, social media is a potential platform for marketing and buying goods and services in the market. Impacts of Social Media on Consumer Decision Making Process.
There is a large body of research which provides a link between social media and consumer buying decision making process. However, some studies have offered contrasting reports. For instance, a research by Gallup on the State of the American Consumer Report produced in 2014 indicated that consumer buying decision making process is least influenced by social media (Forbes 2014). The report indicated that there is no proof that the large number of followers in social media are potential buyers seeking information from the social media to make a purchase.
Nonetheless, the literature review has indicated that social media plays a critical role of enabling interaction and socialization and hence in the process consumers get new information which they use in making buying decisions. Therefore, it is the responsibility of companies to create good reputations and positive perceptions in the minds of consumers to ensure that their brands are recommended in social media sites. However, further studies should be conducted indicating the specific category of consumers who are mainly influenced by social media in their decision making processes and how they can be tapped by marketers.
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