We’re fresh into a new month and although Christmas is more than a month away, the holiday shopping season is almost underway. Each year, shoppers increasingly turn to mobile and social media to hunt down the best deals and gift recommendations, whether from businesses or friends.

As marketers, it’s necessary to understand how peer influence and social media affect the way people shop. Based on research, nearly 65 percent of people use social media to search for gifts and more than 90 percent of those surveyed said they trusted earned media (word-of-mouth) more than any other form of advertising.

Peer recommendations are the leading driver of purchases on Facebook and Twitter, followed by commercials on TV, shared links, and Pinterest Pins. Online banner ads fell to the bottom, with only 2.3 percent of them inspiring consumers to purchase a holiday gift.

In terms of platforms, Facebook leads the pack with 39.3 percent of shoppers admitting that it has influenced their decision to buy a gift. Although Pinterest came in second (19.7 percent), the digital pinboard is the clear leader in gift inspiration. Adobe Digital Insights Analyst Joe Martin believes that Pinterest will surpass Facebook in retail conversions by the 2014 holiday season.

In the infographic below — created by social marketing platform Crowdtap — you’ll find more data about how peer influence and social media impact holiday purchases. The methods aren’t new, but some of the numbers might surprise you. It’s worth keeping some of these figures in mind as your team ramps up marketing for the remainder of the year.

[Via: SocialTimes, Image credit: Mr. T in DC]