As Black Friday 2017 fades into the Christmas season, one lesson is abundantly clear: Consumers are increasingly shopping on Instagram.

Visitors to Like2Buy — Curalate’s shoppable Instagram solution used by hundreds of brands — grew by a median of 44% from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday compared to the same period in 2016. Our most forward-thinking brands performed even better. In fact, our top decile of brands saw Like2Buy visitors grow by nearly 300% year-over-year, with the top performers growing by as much as 700%.

Instagram’s emergence as a shopping destination shouldn’t come as a big surprise. People spend hours scrolling through Instagram everyday. In fact, it’s surpassing other media platforms in terms of time spent and engagement. Meeting customers where they spend time is the backbone of marketing, and brands are building up their Instagram followings by sharing compelling images and videos — hoping they’ll set into motion a journey that leads from discovery to purchase.

But is all of that branded content just noise? Or is it a means to introduce people to things they never knew they needed in their lives? It turns out, it’s the latter. We recently surveyed 1,000 consumers, finding that 76% said a brand’s social post led them to make a purchase. That number climbed to 82% for consumers between the ages of 25-34. (It was even a respectable 67% for consumers ages 55-65.)

For all 2017 Black Five-Day transactions, e-commerce growth continues to eclipse in-store growth. E-commerce captured 57.6% of the year-over-year growth from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, according to Internet Retailer analysis of data from Adobe and Consumer Growth Partners. It accounted for 20.2% of retail sales over the Black Five-Day period, up from 18.4% last year.

The continuing shift to e-comm is due — at least in part — to younger consumers. The Curalate consumer survey found that over 50% of 25-34 year olds shop online at least weekly and 16% do so daily — compared to 40% and 10% respectively for all age ranges.

The takeaway? Visual content shared on Instagram and other social channels has transformed into the modern-day storefront. It entices people to explore and, ultimately, gets them to buy. Sharing compelling, engaging content during busy times like the Black Five-Day period is increasingly crucial to the bottom line.

Ready to step up your Instagram game? Use our new Instagram dashboard. It’s your one-stop shop for planning, scheduling and analyzing all Instagram posts and stories. It saves you time, makes scheduling a snap and even helps you find influencers. Interested? Contact us today.