April 6, 2010, 12:00 AM

Facebook users influence their friends’ shopping, study says

68% of consumers with Facebook accounts say a positive referral from a Facebook friend would make them more likely to buy from or visit a retailer, research and consulting firm Morpace Inc says in new study.

68% of consumers with Facebook accounts say a positive referral from a Facebook friend would make them more likely to buy from or visit a retailer, research and consulting firm Morpace Inc. says in new study.

The study also found that 36% of consumers with Facebook accounts say the social networking site is a good tool for researching products. Morpace based the study on a survey it conducted last month of 1,000 consumers, 63% of whom said they had Facebook accounts.

Morpace notes that consumers are using Facebook to share shopping information both on company fan pages’ walls, which are part of the pages on the social network where people can share information, and on the personal walls of their Facebook friends.

But the research firm also notes that many Facebook users are signing up as fans on corporate profile pages on Facebook to get and share information about consumer products.

When survey respondents were asked to give the primary reasons they become a Facebook fan of a company, the largest percentage, 41%, said they joined to let their friends know what products they support. 37% said they join to receive coupons and discount offers on products; and 35% said it wasto get the latest information on new products.

Another 31% said they join fan pages to learn more about a company or organization, and 28% said they hope to meet people with similar interests.

When asked to name other reasons for joining Facebook, 23% of respondents said it was to “track fan pages of my favorite companies, organizations and groups,” and another 10% said it was to look for product recommendations.

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