What’s seen gets sold. That’s the key takeaway from recent business statistics on the visually-appealing, pervasive social media platform Instagram, which makes an attractive marketing and sales channel for retail businesses of all sizes.

Images-driven Instagram has evolved into a popular online destination, as 1 billion people use it every month and more than half of them use it every single day.1 Clarke, Todd. 22+ Instagram Stats That Marketers Can’t Ignore This Year. Hootsuite Blog. March 5, 2019. Half (51%) of Instagram users spend between 1 and 3 hours on Instagram each day, and 80% follow at least one business. 2 Instagram Trends 2019 (statistics, facts and strategies). ThePreviewApp.com. February 13, 2019.
3 Clarke, Todd. 22+ Instagram Stats That Marketers Can’t Ignore This Year. Hootsuite Blog. March 5, 2019.


No wonder 71% of U.S. businesses have established their own Instagram presence: it’s wise to go where consumers are already spending their time (and money).4 Ibid. Notably, eight of the top 15 most followed brands on Instagram are in retail, including Starbucks, Oreo, Nike and MAC Cosmetics.5 Kolowich, Lindsay. The Ultimate List of Instagram Stats [2019]. HubSpot. February 12, 2019.
6 50 Most Followed Brands on Instagram 2018. PlannThat.com. 2018.

Why Instagram and retail make a perfect fit


Retail companies across a wide range of categories and budgets are turning to Instagram to meet their business needs, including:

  • Easy product discovery: This is huge for retail companies, with three in five Instagram users – accounting for more than 600 million people – actively seeking out and discovering new products on Instagram.7 Ibid. Promoting products on Instagram can help companies be seen by consumers and retail buyers, boosting brand awareness, as 66% of company page visits come from users who aren’t following that brand.8  Feigenbaum, Carol. Top 51 Instagram Stats You Need to Know in 2019. Netbase. March 13, 2019. For instance, purpose-led brands should articulate their core values, such as sustainability, fair trade, vegan or premium quality.
  • Increased reach: More than a third (35%) of online adults use Instagram, spanning all income brackets. Among younger consumers, 34% of Instagram users are millennials and 72% of U.S. teens use Instagram, which recently surpassed Snapchat for this young, vibrant audience’s attention and disposable income.9 Ibid. 10  Ibid. For American brands seeking global audiences, Instagram is also ideal, as 88% of users are located outside the U.S.11 Ibid.
  • Effective marketing: Nearly 80% of social influencers surveyed worldwide consider Instagram the best channel for collaborating with brands. Even amid increased avoidance of and disdain for ads across traditional media, an astounding 82% of people click on ads on Instagram.12 Feigenbaum, Carol. Top 51 Instagram Stats You Need to Know in 2019. Netbase. March 13, 2019.
    13 Instagram Trends 2019 (statistics, facts and strategies). ThePreviewApp.com. February 13, 2019. Best of all, it’s an equalizer: retail companies don’t need a massive marketing budget to compete. To stand out on this social media giant, retail companies need imagination and focus to attract their desired audience by emphasizing how their products are unique and in demand.
  • Sharing brand stories: Beyond viewing posts on static Instagram business pages, a whopping 500 million people now use Instagram Stories – images and videos that disappear after 24 hours – every day, up from 300 million in 2017. Two million brands share their content with Stories, with a third of the most viewed Stories created by businesses.14 Clarke, Todd. 22+ Instagram Stats That Marketers Can’t Ignore This Year. Hootsuite Blog. March 5, 2019. These informal glimpses of products and employees can help companies stand out in this crowded digital space. Meanwhile, consumers can see the personalities behind the brands, which could make them feel closer and more willing to eventually trust and buy from them.
  • Consumer engagement: Directly connecting with consumers is a jackpot of rich information for retail companies, and Instagram excels in this area. Forrester found consumers are 58 times more likely to engage with branded content on Instagram compared to Facebook and 120 times more likely compared to Twitter.15 Ibid. Instagram has 2.2% interaction rate, which dwarfs other social media platforms (for instance, Facebook’s rate is 0.22%).16 Clarke, Todd. 22+ Instagram Stats That Marketers Can’t Ignore This Year. Hootsuite Blog. March 5, 2019.
    Using Instagram to connect with individual consumers can help companies improve the effectiveness of their personalized marketing efforts.
  • Mobile sales magnet: As a mobile-centric platform, Instagram is designed to go with consumers wherever they are. That explains why Instagram users are 70% more likely to buy via mobile, as more than one-third of them have used their mobile device to purchase a product online.17 Ibid. More importantly, 30% of Instagram users have bought products they first learned about on Instagram.18 Feigenbaum, Carol. Top 51 Instagram Stats You Need to Know in 2019. Netbase. March 13, 2019.

  • Social commerce shopping hub: In March, Instagram introduced a new feature that allows customers to purchase products directly within the app from the pages of specific companies, including brands like Nike, Adidas, Uniqlo, Warby Parker, Outdoor Voices, Prada, Dior, and Kylie Cosmetics.19 Meyersohn, Nathaniel. Instagram is changing the way people buy things. CNN. August 5, 2019. Experts predict shopping directly within Instagram could be a $10 billion market by 2021.20  Ibid.

Bountiful benefits of a retail Instagram presence

Using Instagram is far from a vapid photo op – it’s a win-win for companies and consumers. By using Instagram,suppliers can expand their reach, connect directly with consumers and retail buyers, and reduce marketing acquisition and promotional costs.

Retail buyers can discover quality, innovative products, and reduce risk by seeing what’s in demand as measured by social engagement, including a company or product’s number of followers, likes and comments.

Consumers benefit from greater transparency, as they can get to know the companies and people behind the products. They can also gain access to a wide variety of products and perks, such as exclusive sales, discounts, and fun contests.

As these trends and benefits prove, there’s a compelling business case for retail businesses to make room for Instagram in their marketing and sales strategy. Sharing Instagram content featuring their unique products and personalities can help suppliers and retailers engage consumers by being where their audience spends their time to ensure they’re found with ease to boost engagement, trust, and sales.

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1, 14. Clarke, Todd. 22+ Instagram Stats That Marketers Can’t Ignore This Year. Hootsuite Blog. March 5, 2019.
2. Instagram Trends 2019 (statistics, facts and strategies). ThePreviewApp.com. February 13, 2019.
3, 16. Clarke, Todd. 22+ Instagram Stats That Marketers Can’t Ignore This Year. Hootsuite Blog. March 5, 2019.
4, 7, 9, 11, 15, 17. Ibid.
5. Kolowich, Lindsay. The Ultimate List of Instagram Stats [2019]. HubSpot. February 12, 2019.
6. 50 Most Followed Brands on Instagram 2018. PlannThat.com. 2018.
8.  Feigenbaum, Carol. Top 51 Instagram Stats You Need to Know in 2019. Netbase. March 13, 2019.
10, 20.  Ibid.
12, 18. Feigenbaum, Carol. Top 51 Instagram Stats You Need to Know in 2019. Netbase. March 13, 2019.
13. Instagram Trends 2019 (statistics, facts and strategies). ThePreviewApp.com. February 13, 2019.
19. Meyersohn, Nathaniel. Instagram is changing the way people buy things. CNN. August 5, 2019.

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