How does social media influence young people’s consumer buying behaviour in the clothing industry?
With the rise and popularity of online social media, consumers have presented different patterns of consumer buying behaviour (GSMA 2018). Social media has become a subtle influence on consumers’ demand motives, decision-making and purchasing behaviour (GSMA 2018; Kemp 2019). This is because social media allows people to share their opinions and experiences through the platforms (Altinay et al. 2016; Helmi et al. 2015; Sajjadian et al. 2018). In the UK, the most popular social media platform that people use is Facebook, whereas Instagram is popular with young people (Statista 2018a). Dividing social media users by age category, the biggest category of social media users are aged between 18 and 34 (Kemp 2019). There are impacts on the clothing industry, as people’s purchase decisions can be influenced by the opinions of other social media users (McKinsey & Company 2017). Therefore, the aim of this study is to explore how social media (Facebook and Instagram) influences young people’s buying behaviour (18 to 34 year olds) in the clothing industry. To determine the answer to this research, an online questionnaire will be developed in order to collect quantitative data. The study finds that information from social media has a certain influence on consumers’ buying behaviour. The findings show that Instagram has more power than Facebook in terms of the influence of consumer buying behaviour. However, the findings of the research did not establish that the impact of social media varies across the stages of the consumer buying behaviour process. The most popular and effective social media activities are information about products and discount information. Finally, the study’s findings have implications for both the industry and academia. For academia, it fills the gap in the topic of the influence of social media on consumer buying behaviour. This is because it shows the different influences of Facebook and Instagram on the different stages of consumer buying behaviour across the consumer buying process. For industry, the study contributes to the clothing brands and identifies the most popular and effective social media activities. Based on the findings, the study also highlights what kind of activities Facebook and Instagram need to focus on in order to engage with people. KEYWORDS: Social Media, Facebook, Instagram, Consumer Buying Behaviour, Clothing Industry.