Pinterest May Finally Have Bridged The Gap Between Social and E-Commerce

Pinterest Traffic(click to enlarge)

Photo: comSccore

Pinterest has gained a strong foothold among consumers and is driving e-commerce sales. According to a new survey by PriceGrabber, 10 per cent of U.S. online shoppers have a Pinterest account.On the flip side, you could argue that this means “90 per cent of U.S. online shoppers don’t have a Pinterest account.” However, 10 per cent is very impressive considering the site had less than a million users 9 months ago and is still technically in beta and “invite-only.”

Furthermore, while we have previously discussed the site’s e-commerce potential, we now have evidence that it is directly driving online shopping. An impressive 21 per cent of respondents had purchased a product “based on seeing it strictly on Pinterest.” Margin of error aside, this means an estimated 2 per cent of American online shoppers have made a purchase because of Pinterest, a site that is a tad over a year old.

(click to enlarge)

Photo: RichRelevance

In other words, Pinterest may have finally figured out how to bridge the social-commerce divide. While Americans spend an enormous amount of time on social networks, they are a relatively small driver of referrals to e-commerce sites (see chart to the right, it should be noted that Facebook was up 92% y-o-y).Not that they aren’t trying to close the gap. Facebook introduced Facebook Commerce to bring digital storefronts to the platform, but it was mostly a flop.


Users aren’t thinking about shopping when they’re on Facebook—they are there to look at their friend’s pictures and status updates. On the other hand, as Birchbox co-founder Kate Beachamp recently observed, Pinterest users are “seeking a beautiful experience, but they’re in the mindset of shopping.”

All of which should underscore that there are still plenty of opportunities in social. Companies don’t need to be the “next Facebook” or a “Facebook-killer,” but rather provide a novel or improved service for its users.


  • Pinterest has an incredibly large and devoted user base, as well as strong mainstream name recognition, even though it was only started a year ago.
  • Pinterest seems to be driving direct sales conversions at a way higher rate than other social networks, which suggests some or many social services can be big moneymakers and social commerce is a big opportunity.
  • There are still new opportunities in social—Facebook is not a one-stop shop for user’s social needs.

MORE: Click here to read our explainer on Pinterest →

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