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The Top 11 Things Influencers Have Actually Influenced Gen Z & Millennials to Buy

It’s the era of influencer marketing—but what have Gen Z & Millennials actually purchased because of an influencer? We found out just how many have bought something after learning about it from a blogger, vlogger, YouTuber, Instagrammer, etc., and what they got…

Influencer marketing is allowing the online-famous to make big bucks with brands clamoring to strike partnerships in an effort to reach the elusive ad-skipping generations. While brands race to understand the effectiveness of the now-popular tactic, we went straight to the source, and asked young consumers what they really think about influencers and influencer marketing in our recent trend The Influencer Effect. We uncovered that over three in ten Gen Z & Millennials consider online celebrities their friends, and they are more likely to feel a personal relationship with online celebrities over Hollywood celebrities. At a time when young consumer trust is at an all-time low, they’re looking to their peers for advice, and word-of-mouth marketing is king. The feeling of kinship we see here is boosting the status of bloggers and vloggers, turning them into trusted sources of information—and brands, of course, are leveraging the closer relationships that influencers have with their audience, and turning them into sales.

They’re in luck. Almost half of 13-34-year-olds say they’re more likely to consider buying a product their favorite online celebrity recommends. But how many have actually made good on their purchasing considerations, and what have influencers actually influenced young consumers to buy so far? To find out, we asked 1000 Gen Z and Millennials if they have ever purchased something that an online celebrity (blogger, vlogger, YouTuber, Instagrammer, etc.) has spoken about or recommended, and asked them to tell us “What specifically did you purchase after learning about it from an online celebrity?”* Here’s what we learned:

*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of products that Millennials and Gen Z have been influenced to buy by online celebrities—without our preconceived ideas shaping their responses. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are most popular. The lists are ordered according to number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred.

First, according to Ypulse’s research, 40% of 13-34-year-olds (39% of 13-17-year-olds, and 40% of 18-34-year-olds) say they have purchased something that an online celebrity (blogger, vlogger, YouTuber, Instagrammer, etc.) has spoken about or recommended. Not an insignificant number. We then asked those who have made a purchase exactly what they bought. Here are their top ranked responses:    

What specifically did you purchase after learning about it from an online celebrity?


  1. Makeup
  2. Clothing / Accessory
  3. Skincare product
  4. Book / Cookbook
  5. Video games
  6. Hair products
  7. Food / Beverage
  8. Shoes / Boots
  9. Makeup applicator
  10. Personal Care / Beauty product
  11. Nutrition supplement

Beauty is the current reigning champ of influencer-influenced purchases, with the most young consumers by far naming something in the makeup category as the product that they purchased after learning about it from an influencer. Skincare products, haircare products, makeup applicators, and personal care/beauty products also make the top 11 list. Beauty and makeup were also two areas that we found young consumers are far more likely to trust bloggers on than brands. When we asked if they were more likely to trust a makeup tutorial from a fashion magazine or a beauty blogger, 71% of 13-34-year-olds told us they would trust the blogger. 

Of course, makeup responses were predominantly from females, and there are significant differences between gender and age groups in what items influencers have influenced them to buy:

Males are most likely to have been influenced to buy a clothing or accessory item, followed by video games and books, while makeup tops the list for females, followed by clothing or accessories, and skincare products. Males are also more likely to have been influenced to buy shoes and food or beverages, while females are more likely to have been influenced to buy haircare products. 

When looking at Gen Z and Millennials, makeup and clothing/accessories tops the list for both, and interestingly the rest of the top five product list contains the same items. 

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.