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Young Consumers Are Trusting Influencers For These Product Recommendations

Young consumers trust online celebrities more than any other public figure—and these are the top 10 things these celebs have influenced them to purchase…


  • Young consumers trust influencers to recommend products to them more than any other public figure
  • Beauty products top the list of recommendations young consumers are actually buying
  • Influencers, even with small platforms, can reach young consumers with branded content and collaborations

YPulse has long said that social media has changed the nature of fame. YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok have leveled the playing field between “regular people” and famous ones, making celebrities feel more accessible. Now, instead of revering movies stars and musicians that feel removed and unreachable, Gen Z and Millennials are drawn to celebrities that look, act, talk, and think like them—and that speak directly to them. Yes, these gens still have high affinity for traditional celebs, but online celebrities such as YouTubers and social media content creators are the ones that feel the most relatable to them—and therefore have earned their trust. 

YPulse’s recent Celebrities and Influencers report shows that young people trust online influencers more than any other public figure, including mainstream celebs and even the police. And that means Gen Z and Millennials trust online celebs’ product and brand recommendations. In fact, out of TV / Movie actors, music celebrities, online celebrities, and athletes, young consumers are most likely to say they would buy a product recommended by an online celeb.   

For brands, the message is clear: online influencers can be paramount to getting Gen Z and Millennials interested in a product. But brands should also keep in mind that young consumers’ definition of an online celeb might not be what you think—it’s not only macro-influencers with millions of followers that have influence over them. In fact, when it comes to trusting online celebrities, more than half of young people say it actually doesn’t matter how many followers they have, creating a major opportunity for brands to work with the growing pool of nano-influencers already creating content about products and brands

Now, 54% of young consumers say they have purchased something after an online celebrity (big or small) spoke about it or recommended it. There’s no shortage of viral #musthave videos, so in our recent survey, we asked 13-39-year-olds what specific products they’ve been influenced to buy after an online celeb spoke about it or recommended it. Here are their top 10 answers:

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

Among 13-39-year-olds

  1. Beauty / Personal care product
  2. Clothing / Accessories
  3. Food / Beverages
  4. Books
  5. Video games / Gaming tech
  6. Shoes / Boots
  7. Celeb merchandise
  8. Household item / Décor
  9. Tech
  10. Perfume / Cologne

Young consumers are being influenced to buy beauty products the most

These days, there’s an influencer for anything and everything, and that means the kinds of products that young people are being recommended are, well, all of them. We know that young people are getting their style inspiration—for both their clothes and their homes—on social media, and that #BookTok’s “bookfluencers” are driving their reading habits. But, their top answer reflects their love for self-care more than their love to shop: out of all products, the top type young consumers have been influenced to buy is beauty / personal care products, which includes cosmetics, skincare, and haircare. 

Gen Z and Millennials highly value the opinions of others when it comes to these kinds of products, and YPulse’s Personal Care and Beauty Shopping Report shows 34% of young consumers say online product reviews are most likely to influence what personal care and beauty items they buy. This is precisely what drives the huge market of beauty influencers, who are always pushing new products and trends. Though there are tons across platforms with audiences of all sizes, Upfluence estimates that beauty influencers have an average of 767K followers on TikTok, 431K on Instagram, and 417K on YouTube, meaning that if these influencers are liking a product, it’s sure to take off with their followers.  

Gamers are more influential than ever

Gaming is big with young consumers, and now “gamefluencers” are, too. When we ask Gen Z and Millennials what kind of celebrities / online creators / cultural influencers they follow on social media, 38% say gamers, making it their second most popular answer, just behind actors. For young males, gamers are their top answer, with more than half following them on social media. It’s no wonder then that video games and gaming tech rank so high on the list of products they’ve been influenced to purchase. The price of products they’re buying add up quickly, from games and in-game purchases to the consoles themselves. YPulse’s Media Consumption report found that young consumers are spending an average of nearly $50 on video games, mobile games, and gaming subscriptions every month—and as their favorite gamers keep recommending more products, they’ll likely keep spending. 

Influencers’ own merch and collabs are popular with these gens, too

Influencers are doing more than putting their stamp of approval on products. Like traditional celebs before them, the online variety are partnering with brands to launch their own merch lines—and young consumers are here for it. When asked what kind of sponsored content they prefer to see from influencers, 31% of young consumers say merchandise collaborations, and 29% say food collaborations, which are their top answers after product / service reviews. Successful influencer-brand collabs have influencers promoting products that fit in their image, like Hollister’s “Social Tourist” line with Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, and Chipotle’s Shawn Mendes Bowl, which donated a portion of profits to his charity foundation. These collabs show that brands can successfully leverage an online celebrity’s popularity to create products that young consumers naturally associate with their fav and genuinely want to buy.

YPulse paid users can access the full Celebrities and Influencers report and data here.

Don’t have a YPulse paid account? Find out more here.