Gen Z Shoppers Rely on Social Influencers

Social media is mandatory for marketing to this generation.

March 05, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Almost half (44%) of the Generation Z population (those born after 1997) has made a purchase decision based on a recommendation from a social influencer, as compared with 26% of the general population, according to a consumer study by Kantar and Mobile Marketer. In addition, 70% of Gen Zers follow at least one influencer on platforms like YouTube or Instagram.

Gen Z tends to be open-minded to a broad range of influencers, reports, with 87% of the age range following at least one influencer whose race or ethnicity is different from their own.

The study found that Gen Zers rely on an assortment of social media apps, with 39% having four or more social media accounts, compared with 15% of the general population who use that many social platforms. Gen Z’s favorite social media apps are Facebook (62%), Instagram (55%), YouTube (54%) and Snapchat (52%).

The study’s results indicate that retailers should develop an influencer marketing strategy to reach this generation. Influencer marketing is especially important since Gen Zers are difficult to reach through traditional media channels, like TV and print. The ability to connect with younger consumers is driving greater spending on influencer marketing, which is forecasted to reach $15 billion by 2022 from $8 billion last year.

While Facebook is the most popular social media app among Gen Z, Instagram is the most popular app for influencer campaigns. Almost 80% of brands use the image-sharing app most frequently for influencer campaigns, making it more popular than Facebook (46%), YouTube (36%), Twitter (24%) and LinkedIn (12%), per Influencer Marketing Hub.

While influencer marketing is a powerful way to reach younger demographics, brands should be careful about their partners. Last year, InfluencerDB, an analytics firm, reported that engagement rates for Instagram influencer content were near record lows amid a deluge of sponsored content on the platform.

Currently, the Federal Trade Commission is scrutinizing the influencer marketing industry to ensure that companies comply with laws against misleading advertising. Last month, the agency began seeking public comment on proposals to update its rules on the use of testimonials in ads to reflect the growing importance of social influencers.

For more on marketing to Gen Z, see “Generation on the Rise” in the April 2019 issue of NACS Magazine.