A new survey has highlighted the growing opportunity for retailers and brands to engage with shoppers on social media.

More than a quarter of shoppers now follow retailers on social media, while more than half like or follow brands, the survey by business intelligence research consultancy Future Thinking has revealed.

Discounts are a key driver, with 44% of shoppers following brands in the hope of receiving discounts or rewards for their loyalty.

A third (32%) of UK shoppers also use social media platforms to seek advice or leave an opinion about a product or brand.

Now in its third year, the 2015 Shopper Barometer also revealed that the biggest group of users following brands on social media are under 35s (60%), followed closely by families (59%) and women (51%).

Facebook is the most popular social media platform at 93%, followed by Twitter at 52%.

The survey of more than 1,200 shoppers also found that 69% would like to use self service checkouts.

The next highest ranked new technology was barcode technology (59%) followed by click and collect hubs (57%).

Noreen Kinsey, head of shopper insight at Future Thinking, said: “The biggest opportunity for consumers and retailers appears to be on social media, where users are engaging in the hope of receiving discounts, and retailers can employ more effective marketing to a ‘captive’ audience.

“Retailers need to be more relevant in order to connect to consumers on social media as there is a huge market out there for these sorts of incentives,” she added.