Survey: 74% of Shoppers Buy Unnecessary Items on Social Media
Social Media Shopping Survey

Survey: 74% of Shoppers Buy Unnecessary Items on Social Media

A new survey from WalletHub highlights the impact that social media can have on consumers’ finances and shopping habits.

About the survey:

Headlining the survey’s findings is the fact that nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents report that they’ve made impulse purchases of unnecessary items on social media. Furthermore, 63% say they regret purchases they’ve made from these platforms. As a result, two-thirds say that social media in general helps to promote overspending and living beyond your means. Along those lines, 46% of respondents stated that social media is bad for their debt.

On the other hand, respondents were split on the convenience of social media shopping. While 47% said that shopping on social platforms was easier than using e-commerce sites, 53% disagreed. Those surveyed also had mixed feelings about celebrity product recommendations on social media — although a majority (57%) said they were good overall.

As for how their financial lives would be different without social apps, 36% of those surveyed stated that they’d spend less if they deleted their accounts compared to 21% who said doing so would lead them to spend more.

What they’re saying:

Commenting on the survey’s findings, WalletHub analyst Cassandra Happe said, “It’s no secret that social media has some unintended negative consequences, from fake news to bullying to body image problems, but many people don’t realize the extent to which social platforms are being used as interactive billboards and 24/7 shopping malls, tempting users to drain their bank accounts at all hours of the day and night.” Happe added. “People of any age and background are susceptible to getting caught up in social media consumerism, so it’s important to ask yourself whether you really need a given item you see on social media. Sleeping on a purchase before completing it is a wise move as well.”

My thoughts:

I’ll admit that I’m definitely part of the 74% here. Specifically, I’ve purchased several items that were introduced to me by Instagram. While many of these have actually proven to be solid products (and I’ve also learned about plenty of apps I’ve reviewed from the platform), they weren’t all winners.

In my opinion, just like most other platforms, there are financial pros and cons to social media. On the upside, money tips as well as honest product reviews can be found on YouTube, TikTok, and beyond. Moreover, just the fact that these platforms give users the opportunity to talk about finance openly is a win as these topics have traditionally been taboo for some. Yet, on the other hand, there’s no doubt that the ease of shopping on some of these apps and the feeling that everyone is “living the good” life can have negative impacts.

Ultimately, it’s up to consumers to be savvy on social media and be able to discern the real from the fake. As for those who find that these apps are leading to too much temptation, perhaps a detox or deletion is in order.


Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Fioney's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

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