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Facebook's Impact on Retailers

Published April 7, 2010

FARMINGTON HILLS, MI (BRAIN)—Retailers who are actively involved in marketing their products and/or services using Facebook may have a distinct advantage over their competitors, according to the latest Morpace Omnibus study.

The study finds that not only are consumers joining Facebook fan pages that are managed by businesses, but they use Facebook as a means to offer and receive product recommendations. The study concentrates on three key areas: which consumer segments are most likely to use Facebook and how frequently; how often consumers search for or share product/company opinions or information, and which demographics are most likely to use the social media Web site.

"The results show us that Facebook is a tool for retailers to directly communicate with their target market," said Morpace retail vice president Kirsten Denyes. "Retailers can offer consumers product information and exclusive coupons and discounts to create viral product buzz among Facebook consumers."

Among the primary reasons consumers join a Facebook fan page are: "To let my friends know what products I support," (41 percent) and "To receive coupons and discount offers," (37 percent). More than 36 percent of consumers consider Facebook to be a useful tool for researching products.

Nearly 68 percent of consumers say that a "positive referral from a Facebook friend makes them more likely to buy a specific product or visit a certain retailer."

The study also reveals that non-Caucasian consumers tend to be more active users of Facebook, and will more likely join retailer fan pages. One-half (50 percent) of Hispanics, 46 percent of Asians, and 44 percent of African Americans consider Facebook to be a useful tool for researching new products. Only 31 percent of Caucasians agreed.

A total of 1,000 respondents were surveyed March 10-17 as part of the March 2010 online panel.

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