Many consumers unaware of the category

Retailers are eager to jump on social trends, be it a simple Facebook or Twitter presence, customer ratings and reviews, or more sophisticated experiences that bring the social graph to retail sites. Social shopping sites like Groupon and LivingSocial form another piece of the social commerce space, and despite the hype many shoppers have not yet jumped on the bandwagon.

According to JPMorgan’s “Nothing But Net 2011” report, two in five online buyers surveyed had not heard of social shopping sites, and another 28% knew what they were but had never used them.

US Online Buyers Who Use Social Shopping Sites, Dec 2010 (% of respondents)

Age and income were major determining factors for participation in social shopping sites, the survey found. Web users ages 18 to 34 were 10 times as likely as those 55 and older to have purchased from such a site, and twice as likely to have done so as 35- to 54-year-old respondents.

Demographic Profile of US Internet Users Who Use Social Shopping Sites, Dec 2010 (% of respondents in each group)

Income’s effect was less dramatic but still clear: 23% of web users with an income of at least $100,000 annually bought from a social shopping site, vs. 10% of those making less than $50,000. Income also determined whether internet users had heard of social shopping at all; the least well off respondents were significantly less likely to be familiar with the sites even though they did not use them.

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