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Here’s What Young Consumers Are Buying Because of Influencers

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Half of young consumers are following some sort of online celebrity—and these are the top 11 things that influencers have gotten them to purchase…

Influencer marketing is getting a shakeup. Last month, Unilever, the parent company of major brands like Axe, Dove, and Lipton, declared a ban on all influencers that buy followers. Their CMO announced that their own brands will never purchase followers, and that they will work only with talent and partners that are transparent and work to “eradicate fraud” alongside them. It turns out that many brands are still doubting the impact of influencers. The Association of National Advertisers found that while 75% of marketers work with influencers, only 36% think it’s as effective as other tactics and 19% think the efforts are ineffective. One exec tells The Drum, “Most [agencies] tell you they have a secure vetting process of influencers but until an industry standard is developed, how can we tell?”

But! Though there are serious problems with influencer marketing that brands are still figuring out, it remains a massively important way to reach young consumers. According to our recent survey on the topic, 43% of 13-35-year-olds say that if their favorite online celebrity were to recommend a product, they would be more likely to buy it. And even more importantly, 42% have already purchased something that an online celebrity (blogger, vlogger, YouTuber, Instagrammer, etc.) has spoken about or recommended. In addition, 27% have used an online celebrity’s promotional code to purchase a product or service. Battles with fake followers are real, but they don’t mean that brands should ignore the also very real impact that influencers are having on purchases and purchase intent.

We’ve been tracking exactly what that impact looks like, including exactly what products young consumers are most likely to buy because of influencers. We asked 1000 13-35-year-olds, “What specifically did you purchase after learning about it from an online celebrity?”*—and here are their top 11 responses:

*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.

What Did They Purchase After Learning About It From An Online Celebrity?


      1. Beauty / personal care product
      2. Clothes / Accessories
      3. Food / Bev
      4. Electronics / Accessories
      5. Game
      6. Book
      7. Shoes
      8. Subscription Box
      9. Kitchen supplies
      10. Phone
      11. Fitness equipment

Beauty/personal care products are far and away the biggest category of products that influencers are influencing young consumers to buy, receiving nearly ten times the mentions that clothing and accessories did. It was the top category of products among both 13-17-year-olds and 18-35-year-olds, as well as female 13-35-year-olds. Male 13-35-year-olds were most likely to have purchased clothing/accessories, with beauty/personal care in second place.

With so many saying that beauty products were the items they purchased because of an online celebrity, we wanted to break down the category even further. Here are the top five types of beauty products they have bought:

Top Beauty Products Purchased After Learning About It from An Online Celebrity


      1. Makeup
      2. Hair product
      3. Skincare
      4. Facemask
      5. Perfume/Cologne

Makeup topped this list, and is clearly the item that influencers are getting young consumers to buy most. Responses included mentions of Fenty Beauty, ColourPop, and plenty of palettes. We aren’t too surprised to see it. When we ask who they would trust most for advice, 74% of 13-35-year old females tell us they would trust a makeup tutorial from beauty blogger over a makeup tutorial from fashion magazine.


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