One of the senior managers at online social media shopping site EBay says that the site’s own research forecasts a doubling in the size of the social media retail market over the next two years.

Petra Jung, EBay UK’s Head of Mobile Shopping, said that revenue from retail transactions via social media will increase from £1.5bn to an estimated £3.3bn by 2014.

In the UK alone over the same period, Jung claimed, sales will grow from £210m to £290m – an increase of 44 per cent.

Writing in The Guardian, Jung said:

“Social shopping may be in its infancy, but it’s only going to grow. The impact that it will have on the way people shop, and as a result the impact on retailer or brand’s bottom line, is set to be huge.”

Jung argues that what holds most potential for the future value of ‘social shopping’ is the unique way in which users not only interact with friends when deciding on a purchase, but also in how they interact with the wider social media community. She added:

“We believe that the real value from social media will come from the way it is used to influence and inspire purchases.

“Nearly half of social media users are […] actively deciding what to buy based on what they have seen on social media platforms, including reviews and recommendations.”

In an effort to maximise the impact of this aspect of social media, Jung says that EBay has introduced a Help Me Shop scheme whereby friends are actively encouraged to offer their purchasing opinions.