ICON publishes research about Social Media in Malta 2016

September 6, 2016 3:42 pm

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ICON, in collaboration with the University of Malta, has published a research document regarding Social Media and how it influences consumer behaviour and purchase decisions in Malta.  The report contains insights into local trends which help SMEs better leverage the strength of digital.

Although social networks are not entirely direct e-commerce platforms, they play a key part in reaching and influencing potential customers. With 1 in every 4 minutes of time spent on the internet being used for social networking, social media is an essential platform for brands to interact with new and existing customers.

For example, did you know that:

  • 99% of the Maltese market access social media on a daily basis?
  • 67% regularly refer to social media to gather information about products or services before making a purchase?
  • 56% feel that they are more likely to purchase products or services from brands they follow on social media?
  • 81% refer to social networks at least once when making a purchase?


Watch Mr. Carl Saydon, ICON’s Digital Marketing Manager and Ms. Nikki Schinas, Senior Digital Marketing Executive at ICON, discuss interesting insights from the research report:

Consumers’ Use of Social Media in Malta (2016): A guide for local SME’s

Consumers are increasingly resorting to the Internet for all aspects of their purchases and purchasing decisions. They use it as a tool to search and evaluate a variety of products, to communicate with brands and other consumers as well as to make online purchases and manage returns. Digital technology has had such an impact on mainstream retail that Gartner Research predicts that by the year 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with a company without ever interacting with a human. Social media plays a big role in these digital relationships and it seems that its significance will continue to grow in the future.

ICON’s study answers fundamental questions like “What networks are local consumers using” and “What types of social media content hold the most influence on consumers’ purchase decisions”. In addition, the aim of the study was also to translate these quantitative findings into actionable insights for local businesses. This report is intended to help guide local marketers in reaching out to local consumers more effectively via social media networks.

Commenting on the publication, Dr. Gege Gatt, Director of ICON, stated:

“Social Media has changed the very fabric of communication patterns within Malta. This research reveals that 67% of online users regularly refer to social media to gather information about products or services before making a purchase. Thus even when a purchase happens offline most of the touchpoints leading to it are actually digital. Understanding this shift in influence is critical for retailers. 

Local organisations need to be nimble in embracing digital disruptions and social is just one of the many waves of changes we are witnessing. The entire value chain of the retail process is transforming rapidly:  from procurement to digital fabrication and checkout to new modes of digital payment. The goals in front of us are ambitious and local retailers can gain many insights from our report.”


A collaboration with the University of Malta

The study was conducted by ICON together with the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences at the University of Malta. Commenting on the publication, Dr. Gorg Mallia, Head of Media and Communications at the University of Malta, stated:

“Our brief is to give our students not just the tools they need to learn and think, but also the skills that are necessary to work with on a practical and productive level. Working on this project with ICON provided just such an opportunity for our students not just to gain experience within the business-world but also to put into practice research skills in an area of digital activity which is a global force for change.”

ICON firmly believes in collaborations between the business world and the world of academia, and has initiated a number of projects with the University of Malta. A recent venture of this nature is The Big Data Challenge, where students at the Faculty of Mathematics worked closely with ICON to analyse massive amounts of complex data with the aim of transforming it into valuable business insights.

Watch ICON’s Director Dr. Gege Gatt and Dr. Gorg Mallia, Head of Media & Comms. at the University of Malta, discuss the benefits of cooperation between business and academia:

Other publications by ICON




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