Spark Foundry outlines Q4 2022 trends in Social Commerce, Sustainability and Gaming in latest insights report

  • February 21, 2023

Spark Foundry outlines Q4 2022 trends in Social Commerce, Sustainability and Gaming in latest insights report, finding that:

  • Sustainable fashion is the must-have item: while interest in most areas of sustainability have dropped since the cost-of-living crisis, searches for sustainable garments shot up 43% in the past year
  • Social commerce is stabilising itself into the mainstream with 56% of people saying that they had made at least one purchase of a product or service through social media in Q4
  • Tesla loses its EV crown: the brand dropped from first to fourth place in volume of searches for electric and hybrid cars
  • Gaming competes with TV for prime-time viewing: discussion peaks during 8pm-11pm, as gamers get online to play

Spark Foundry, the UK Acceleration agency, part of Publicis Media, has used a mix of agency insight tools to discover current trends in consumer spending online.

Using Social Sparks (social listening), Intent-Based Planning (semantic analysis) and The Street (external panel), Spark Foundry’s ‘Insights Accelerated’ report looks at the trends in consumer spending habits when it comes to sustainability, social commerce, and gaming and tech. This third iteration looks at trends from Q4: October – December 2022.

All findings with insights and implications for each topic can be accessed in Spark Foundry’s Insights Accelerated report here.

Social Commerce

Social shopping continues to establish itself in the mainstream, with 56% of people saying that they had made at least one purchase of a product or service through social media in Q4. Other key Social Commerce findings are that:

  • The number of people who had made a purchase through social media (56%) is up from 48% in Q3 2022
  • The trend towards shopping via social channels remains driven by younger consumers; 61% of under 35s have reported purchases, whilst roughly 4 in 10 over 35s have shopped via social
  • 44% of people we surveyed had never used a social platform for shopping
  • The top reason for not having used social commerce was that people ‘prefer buying online through other means’ (41%)

So what? Marcos Angelides, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer at Spark Foundry UK comments: “As people diversify their use of social platforms for shopping, so should brands with their advertising and media plans. This could mean adopting new platforms or thinking critically about those they want to prioritise. Brands looking to attract new customers via social commerce, should look to demystify the consumer journey. In all relevant communications, emphasise the simplicity of the process, the security in payment technology, the speed and reliability of delivery.”


Findings in Q4 2022 showed that interest in sustainable food is on the rise with a peak of 15m+ related searches in October whilst also experiencing the low for the year in December. Search behaviour around sustainable fashion climbed throughout Q4 growing 19% between October and December. Other key sustainability findings include:

  • Searches for sustainable food fell 23% across the three-month period between October – December, with the lowest point in Decembersuggesting that the long-term trend for sustainable eating looks positive, but the behaviour is not impervious to traditions and treats, like the ones associated with the Christmas period
  • Over 90% of searches for sustainable food are exploratory, relating to the category as a whole (e.g. vegan alternatives, plant-based food), or particular products (e.g. jackfruit, vegetarian sausages, tofu recipes), rather than brand-specific searches
  • Interest around sustainable fashion shot up last year with interest in the category up 43% on where it began the year in January
  • Two high street retailers represent 27% of retail-related searches for sustainable fashion between them
  • Other second-hand clothing retailers garnered more search interest than eBay when it came to buying vintage or second-hand clothing in Q4
  • 60% of automotive searches fell in the exploratory section of the funnel, where consumers seek information about specific brands and their offerings
  • Legacy car brands garnered more interest than Tesla in the final quarter of the year, dropping the brand from 1st to 4th place in volume of searches for electric and hybrid cars. In terms of share of search, the top three were split by just 2 percentage points

So what? Marcos comments: “These stats indicate that in this rapidly growing category, there is room for brands to steal a march on competitors by providing relevant content such as healthy recipes or ensuring their SEO taps into a variety of product-related keywords.

“Fashion retailers should leverage the fact that people are exploring sustainable fashion as a category rather than looking for specific clothing brands, and make the most of this appetite for resale and sustainable options by facilitating swap or exchange programmes for their customers.”

Gaming and Tech

The key findings around the gaming and tech conversation showed that gaming competes with TV for prime-time viewing, with discussion peaking typically between 8pm-11pm, as gamers get online to play. Other key gaming findings are that:

  • 37% of AR content posted in Q4 2022 came from those engaged in the creative arts
  • 78% of positive gaming posts over those three months happened on Twitter
  • Q4’s data shows that negative gaming conversations are increasingly taking place away from Twitter, with a third of them now happening in gaming-specific spaces

So what? Marcos comments: “In the right hands, gaming has the potential to be both brand and sales driving rocket-fuel. But crucially, brands must learn the language of what gamers want before activating in the space. Understanding the conventions surrounding different genres, publishers and franchises is key. If conversations turn sour online, understanding where to engage communities becomes paramount.”

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