Social media and shopping

Networking: More learn about items via online connections

January 2, 2011 

Jemenda McCoy had never heard of Cocoa Babies, an Atlanta-based online children's boutique catering to families of color, until one of her sorority sisters posted a link to an article about the store on her personal Facebook page.

But shortly after McCoy, a mom living in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood, followed the links to the site, which sells children’s apparel and accessories that flaunt self-affirming slogans, she quickly clicked “proceed to checkout.”

“I’m online with moms all day, whether it’s Facebook or Twitter,” said McCoy, a mother of a 2-year-old and 4-year-old. “I saw this great company, so I ordered a bunch of T-shirts and onesies for the girls in my family. I’m always looking for positive messages.”

According to a new research study, 79 percent of mothers with children younger than 18 are active in social media. And this holiday season, a growing number of them bought gifts they’d learned about through social networking. It found that one in four mothers who are active on social media said they purchased items they learned about through a recommendation from a Facebook friend, Twitter follower or some other social networking pal. The study was based on 2,000 mothers who said they were active in social media.

“Social media has become an enormous influence on purchasing,” said Anita Frazier, an industry analyst for The NPD Group Inc., a New York-based market research firm. “But many marketers have yet to fully realize the potential of social media and the power of peer group recommendations.”

For McCoy, if it wasn’t for Facebook, she probably would have overlooked Cocoa Babies ( But she’s glad she didn’t – she found holiday gifts that fit the message she wanted to send to the children in her family.

“I’m an attorney, so I’m a researcher by nature,” said McCoy, who also owns the south suburban maternity clothing boutique Belle Up.

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