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22 Things That Gen Z & Millennials Are Buying Because of Influencers

Over two in five young consumers have purchased a product or service because a blogger, YouTuber, Instagrammer, or other online celeb recommended it. Here’s exactly what they’ve bought…

Has the influencer bubble popped? It’s a question that many in media and marketing have been asking—with engagement reportedly down, and many, many online celebrity scandals muddying the waters. But despite clear signs that the world of influencers is changing, we continue to see clear evidence that young consumers are still paying attention to them—and listening to them.

When we looked at Gen Z and Millennials’ favorite celebrities, a major trend was evident: Though online fame is far more fragmented, young consumers, especially Gen Z, are not only considering YouTubers, Instagrammers, TikTokers, and other online personalities famous, they’re counting them as some of their favorite famous faces. When we ask young consumers what public figures they trust most, 31% say YouTubers—making them the most trusted type of celebrity, over musicians, athletes, movie stars, news anchors, and TV stars. Significantly, our most recent celebrity and influencer survey found that 52% of Gen Z and Millennials say they are more likely to consider buying a product if their favorite online celebrity recommends it—an increase over the 43% who said the same in 2018. But they’re not just considering it: 40% of Gen Z and 45% of Millennials tell us they actually have purchased something that an online celebrity (blogger, vlogger, YouTuber, Instagrammer, etc.) has spoken about or recommended. That’s some serious ROI clout, and more evidence that the influencer era isn’t over just yet.

What industries are benefitting the most from these influencer recommendations? YPulse asked those who have purchased an item because an influencer recommended or spoke about it exactly what they bought. Here are the top 22 online celebrity-powered purchases:

What They’ve Purchased Because of an Influencer


      1. Makeup
      2. Skincare product
      3. Clothing / Accessories
      4. Food / Bev
      5. Haircare product
      6. Shoes
      7. Tech
      8. Merchandise
      9. Personal care product / subscription
      10. Video game / Gaming tech
      11. Book
      12. Perfume / Fragrance
      13. Beauty product
      14. Kitchen / Cooking tool
      15. Vitamins / Supplement
      16. Music
      17. Subscription box
      18. Fitness gear
      19. Instrument
      20. Diet product
      21. Toy
      22. Underwear / Bra

*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.

Young consumers are succumbing to influencers’ recommendations that they treat themselves to a little self-care, with makeup and skincare topping the ranking of products or services that they’ve bought because of an influencer’s recommendation. Haircare, personal care products/subscriptions, perfume, and beauty products all make the top ranking as well. Not too surprisingly, females are driving the makeup responses, with males most likely to say they’ve purchased clothing/accessories and food/beverage products.

One major call out on the ranking is number 8: Merchandise. Young consumers aren’t just buying the products that their favorite online stars recommend—they’re buying the products that those stars are selling themselves. T-shirts, hoodies and more are being sold by YouTubers and other influencers to capitalize on their online fame, and Gen Z and Millennials are buying.

Notably, young consumers are open to #spon and #ad posts, with 66% of 13-37-year-olds telling us that it’s not a big deal when online celebrities post sponsored content. And though the majority are aware they’re being paid for these brand-pushing posts, over half also believe that if someone posts an endorsement for a brand, they actually do like that brand—indicating that their trust in influencers is still mainly intact.