UK retail sales directly through social media are forecast to grow to £290m by 2014 from £210m.

The study, commissioned by eBay, also predicts that £3bn of retail sales will be influenced by social media by 2014.

The increase is expected to be driven by retailers targeting consumers with personalised offers and deals on social networks.

Nearly half (46%) of social media users are already using social platforms while thinking about making a purchase, and 40% of users are actively deciding what to buy based on what they have seen on social media platforms, including reviews and recommendations, and this is only set to grow.

The publication of eBay’s study coincides with data released by Experian Hitwise which shows that Pinterest is now the fourth biggest social network in the US and 14th biggest in the UK.

Americans spend on average 15 minutes per Pinterest session and Brits nine minutes. Americans are more likely to visit Pinterest after having been on Facebook compared to Brits who will go to Pinterest direct from Google.

This could be good news for retail sites, as we’ve seen evidence to suggest that Pinterest drives more sales and higher average order values than Facebook.

Experian’s data shows that Instagram has also experienced a massive growth in traffic in the past 12 months.

This table shows the increase in the share of visits to all sites by country between July 2011 and July 2012.

The use of instagram among top brands has also increased, with new data from Simply Measured showing that 40% of the brands on the Interbrand 100 now have an account on the mobile photo sharing service.

With that in mind, we compiled a list of nine brands making great use of Instagram, and one that isn’t.