Scrolling through social media, it’s hard not to be influenced by influencers. Do you need another carry-on bag? Probably not. But do you have to have it after you saw an influencer capturing its essence on the hills of Santorini, and you suddenly saw yourself there? Of course you do.
For many consumers, this scenario happens often—especially among direct-to-consumer (D2C) shoppers, according to a May 2019 survey from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The study explored the differences between D2C shoppers and traditional brand shoppers and found that across the board, D2C consumers were more charmed by influencers and relied heavily on them throughout the shopping process.
Roughly four in 10 US D2C shoppers said that celebrities and professional influencers make them more interested in a brand, while only 15% of traditional shoppers felt the same. And D2C shoppers were nearly three times more likely than traditional shoppers to say that influencers and celebrities impact their perception of a brand.
Much of this influence begins during the research phase. A third of D2C brands said that before they consider buying from a brand, they find out what celebrities or influencers have to say about it. In contrast, 8% of traditional brand shoppers agreed.
“D2C brands are perhaps best known for their effective use of social media to find their target customers, particularly on Facebook and Instagram,” said Andrew Lipsman, principal analyst and author of our report, “Direct-to-Consumer Brands 2019: How Digital Natives Are Disrupting Traditional Brands and Retailers.” And on its face, the strategy makes sense: They are the top two social media platforms used by 18- to 44-year-olds to keep up with businesses and brands they like, according to a Morning Consult survey conducted last year.
There’s no doubt that influencers can help brands move products. March 2019 data from Clever Real Estate found that 44.7% of 18-to-34-year-old US internet users had bought a product or service recommended by an online influencer, such as a YouTube or Instagram personality.
Additionally, roughly a third of US internet users surveyed by Adtaxi in August 2018 said they made a purchase after seeing a post from a social media influencer, while 25.6% only considered purchasing.