How Video Is Changing the Way Consumers Shop 

People want to actually see the products they’re interested in

Author: Rimma Kats

January 5, 2018

New data from Think with Google reveals that more consumers are turning to videos to see products before they buy them. In fact, four in 10 YouTube users surveyed said they went to the platform to learn more about an item before they purchased it.

The study also spoke with several YouTube viewers to ask what benefits videos afforded over other types of product information, like site reviews and blog posts. The answer was clear: They want to be able to see the products in action. Fundamentally, a blog post about the latest YSL lipstick may not necessarily paint an elaborate image the same way a video can.

According to Think with Google, viewership of “shop with me” videos on YouTube—which features creators shopping at places like Target and Homegoods and essentially lets viewers virtually tag along to evaluate products—has increased 1,000% over the past two years.

“Video combines imagery and narrative, which makes it such a powerful shopping tool,” eMarketer senior analyst Yory Wurmser said. “The average US adult spends 81 minutes per day watching digital video. As time spent with video increases, video’s influence within the consumer journey will grow as well.”

"Video triggers emotional reactions in the consumer," added Serena Ulrich, director of social and evolving media at BusinessWire. "You could watch a video where somebody's trying on a new dress or putting on a new piece of clothing, and by showing somebody having such a great time, you can create and attach emotion to information."

Virtual in-store shopping is certainly becoming a big omnichannel trend. More retailers are harnessing video to not only showcase products and answer questions from consumers, but to essentially convert online shoppers to buyers.

Research from gen.video and Geometry Global, which examined the impact of influencer marketing and social media on purchasing behavior among consumers, found that more than eight in 10 respondents were swayed by video to purchase a product. In contrast, about half that number were driven to a purchase by textual social media content.