Almost a third of homeowners bought something because their friend posted it online
Homeowners are turning to sites and apps like Pinterest and Instagram (which Facebook FB, -0.15% acquired in 2012) to decorate or remodel their homes — 28% of the 1,500 homeowners surveyed by personal- and student-loan lender SoFi said they made at least one home purchase after seeing a friend’s post. Almost half (44%) of the respondents between 25 and 44 years old said they prefer social media channels for home design over home improvement shows and magazines. Updating kitchens and bathrooms were first on the list for more than a third.
Pinterest and Instagram may even be more influential than magazines. “The more personal, individually-curated nature of social [media] causes it to carry more influence, precisely because it is a real glimpse into real spaces,” said Laurel Toney, a spokesperson at SoFi. “Even if the images are similar to what you’d see in a magazine, they can feel more attainable with a friend or influencer’s profile attached to them.”
Social media can hit a person’s finances hard in other ways too. About 40% of adults with social media accounts said others’ posts made them look into similar purchases and vacations, according to a survey by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, an accounting professional members organization. Some 11% made the purchase or took the vacation within that year of seeing the post. Almost a third of Americans (30%) said social media influences what they buy, and 5% said it had a significant influence, according to a 2014 Gallup poll.
Some people have turned away from their social media accounts as a result, partly because it is a distraction from their daily responsibilities, but also because they’re seeing it as toxic or a place where people brag or show their “ugly” sides. Plus, it can get expensive — Pinterest shoppers spent an average of $170 during their site visits, Facebook shoppers spent about $95 per session and Twitter shoppers spent about $70 per session, according to e-commerce firm RichRelevance, Reuters reported.
In the most recent survey released Wednesday, participants seemed to watch their wallets: 61% they assessed their finances and see how they could afford home improvement projects before doing anything. It’s only after they do that that they realize they may not be able to continue — 63% said money is why they don’t do the project after all, and a similar percentage said they’ve delayed projects as a result of their finances. Only 15% actually placed home improvement projects as a top priority.
bout half of the respondents said they’d do some of the improvements on their home and rely on professionals for the meatier work, such as plumbing and electric. The most popular time to do home improvement projects is within the first year of purchase — 80% of home buyers did so, and spent a median of $4,000, according to the Home Improvement Research Institute, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit members association.
Get a daily roundup of the top reads in personal finance delivered to your inbox. Subscribe to MarketWatch’s free Personal Finance Daily newsletter. Sign up here.