The Influence of Influencers

November 2, 2023

The Influence of Influencers

1WorldSync’s 2023 Consumer Product Content Benchmark Report just went live. This report is based on a survey of 1,500 US and Canada-based consumers and covers topics including pre-shopping research, the power of reviews, the channels shoppers trust most and more. 

In this blog, we will break down a specific data set from the report: the influence of influencers. We’ll walk through how influencers are infiltrating popular culture, how relevant influencer recommendations are and what the takeaways are for brands and retailers. 

Read on to learn more about influencer data or read the full report here


The Introduction of the Influencer


Consumers have often looked to others for product recommendations. Historically, this meant hearing about brands and products through word-of-mouth. Shoppers generally made purchase decisions based on the recommendations of people they knew and trusted. Then came celebrity endorsements through paid advertising. Shoppers see familiar famous faces pushing products in multimedia ad campaigns every day. Now, social media has created a new type of recommendation; through influencers. According to Medium, “The rise of influencer culture is driven by several factors including the accessibility of social media, changing societal norms, and the growth of e-commerce.”


The Influence of the Influencers


Today, consumers follow influencers on social media and are constantly bombarded with paid and organic product recommendations. Popular culture indicates that influencers have a hugely significant sway in purchase decisions. But the data shows it’s not that big of a factor. 

Of the seven purchase factors shoppers ranked as most important in their shopping decisions, influencer recommendations scored last. Furthermore, just 40% of shoppers have made a purchase in the past 12 months based on an influencer’s recommendation and only 23% have done so more than once. The majority (61%) found that the recommendations of influencers do not or only sometimes accurately reflect the product. 

While it’s clear that some consumers are shopping with the input of influencers in mind, it’s also true that an influencer recommendation can only take a shopper to a product page. The strength of the product content will still make or break the sale. 


Demographic Breakdown


While we know the power of influencers is not overwhelming, it does vary across demographics. 

Women are slightly more likely to make a purchase from an influencer than men. 42% of women have made an influencer-recommended purchase in the past 12 months compared to 38% of men.

People in the US are more likely to make a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation with 43% of American survey respondents having done so in the past year compared to 31% of Canadians.

The biggest indicator of a shopper who is likely to be influenced by an influencer is age. According to the data, younger shoppers are more likely to shop based on influencer recommendations. 66% of 18-24 year olds have made a purchase based on an influencer recommendation in the past year compared to just 36% of shoppers above 24. This means that Gen Z shoppers make up the vast majority of consumers listening to influencers.


What’s Actually Driving Purchase


Social media will remain a prominent way that brands and retailers promote and advertise products to a targeted audience. So what type of posts are most likely to drive a purchase? The data shows that when shoppers look to social media posts for product promotion, they trust people they know personally most, followed by posts from the brand itself, then unpaid organic posts, then influencer posts, and finally posts from celebrities. 

While the public conversation continues to highlight the sway of influencers, it’s clear that the strongest product referrals come from people shoppers know and trust. What’s interesting is that posts from brands are still valued more than posts from third parties like influencers and celebrities and even more valued than that are ratings and reviews right on the product detail page. These findings again highlight the need for exceptional and consistent product information across platforms. 


The Road Ahead for Brands and Retailers


The influence of influencers should not be downplayed entirely. They play a pivotal role in raising awareness and driving initial interest. However, as the data suggests, the journey from product discovery to purchase is complex.

Brands must recognize that while influencers can guide consumers to the product, the real conversion lies in the product’s authenticity, quality and the trust it builds with the consumer. Having a robust online presence, maintaining transparency, and offering quality consistently will always hold precedence.

In this ever-evolving digital era, trust remains the cornerstone of consumer decisions. While influencers can introduce and advocate, the real decision-making power rests in genuine experiences and peer recommendations. To learn more about creating brand content that resonates with consumers and the power of personal and online reviews, explore the rest of the 2023 Product Content Benchmark Report here or dive into