In the ongoing horse race for social media users, Pinterest has made a bold move for the lead in the past year, and that fact alone has affected the way people shop online.

Blogger David Wallace posts on Search Engine Journal that Pinterest has bolted into third place on the list of most popular social media platforms at full gallop, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. From its humble 2010 beginnings as a 5,000-user closed-beta picture sharing site, Pinterest has grown exponentially. According to Wallace’s June 7 post, Pew research shows an astounding 286% increase in Pinterest use in 2011-2012, from 700,000 users to more than 20 million, with 15 percent of Internet users now on Pinterest. And the effect that growth has had on the social media landscape may not be as remarkable as how the virtual pin-board platform has affected Internet shopping.

Given a captive audience of 20 million users, Wallace writes that it would be a mistake for business to ignore Pinterest. And other data pulled from the Pew study provides nuggets of information too juicy for online marketers to ignore. An infographic from Access Credit Cards in Wallace’s post breaks down the Pew data, showing, for instance, that 1 in 5 women report being on Pinterest, and 1 in 4 consumers claim to have shunned other social media sites in favor of Pinterest. From 2011-2012, weekly visits to the site increased from 1.29 million to 29 million. And Pinterest users are decidedly female, with women making up 83 percent of its participants.

Further demographic breakdown was also gleaned from the Pew study: the majority of users — 62 percent — are between the ages of 18 and 49; 59 percent of all Pinterest users click through their view to buy something; nearly half of all women users have purchased an item based on a Pinterest recommendation compared to only one-third of female Facebook and Twitter visitors; 37 percent of male Pinterest visitors have gone on to make a purchase of an item they saw on the site; and the average buyer on Pinterest spends $80 per purchase, double the average Facebook purchase.

By a narrow margin (33%-32%) food and cooking items are the top buys on Pinterest, ahead of fashion and clothing. Home decor and craft purchases follow.

Wallace noted that Pinterest is making a push into the United Kingdom, expanding its popularity and reach as a marketing platform.


Wallace, David. “The Pinterest Effect: From Pin to Purchase.” Search Engine Journal; 6/7/13