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Shopping under the influence: The fundamental role that influencers and creators now play in the modern consumer’s buyer journey

by | Mar 26, 2024 | Public Relations

At a time when consumers are desperately seeking authenticity from brands and businesses, influencers and other content creators are gaining power across all age groups—new research from creator management platform GRIN finds that three out of four of 1,000 shoppers surveyed have purchased a product or service because an influencer recommended it, highlighting how influencer marketing has redirected consumers’ purchase decisions. And these influencer-influenced decisions occur throughout the buyer journey.

The firm’s 2024 Modern Consumer survey explores the evolving buyer journey and the growing need for brands to leverage creator content, especially in the social media age. From product awareness to consideration to purchase, modern shoppers look to content creators’ recommendations during each stage of their journey. 

Shopping under the influence

“The survey’s results show that creator content is a critical part of the buyer journey for the modern consumer. Brands not doing it are missing out,” said Brandon Brown, co-founder and CEO of GRIN, in a news release. “Brands need to be where their customers are and they can show up in potential consumers’ daily lives through authentic creator content. Doing this aids in awareness, consideration, and purchase, and, ultimately, fosters a deeper customer connection versus traditional shopping experiences online.”

Influencers have made the buyer journey look a little different

It all starts with product awareness, and social media has become a major forum for introducing them. For Gen Z and Millennial respondents, TikTok is the most popular platform to discover new products.

Shopping under the influence

As consumers move into the consideration stage, they no longer depend on website product reviews, with only 16 percent turning to a brand’s website to read reviews. Instead, they want to see products or services in action before purchasing, and 38 percent of shoppers surveyed say this is the primary reason they turn to influencers for recommendations. For Gen Z respondents in particular, 66 percent watch reviews on social media before making a purchase.

When consumers are finally ready to buy, they can do so within social media apps, thanks to the rise of shoppable ads. Nearly 68 percent of shoppers surveyed have purchased products directly from social media apps, demonstrating the increasing importance of brands having a strong presence and creating a seamless shopping experience on social media platforms.

With awareness, consideration and purchase now happening without consumers having to leave a social media platform, today’s path to purchase can be extremely short.

Shopping under the influence

Influencers’ influence extends beyond shopping

Content creators and social media have not only influenced how consumers shop, but also how they make decisions on what hobbies to pursue or where to go on vacation. In fact, 68 percent of consumers chose to visit a specific location, like a theme park or travel destination, because they saw it recommended on social media.

This influence also trickles down to other areas, like what media respondents consume—one out of three consumers said they consider influencer recommendations very often when deciding what to watch and read. Even consumers’ lifestyle choices are impacted by what they see online, with 43 percent stating social media inspired them to change their fitness and lifestyle goals.

Shopping under the influence

Download the full report here.

The Propeller Insights survey commissioned by GRIN surveyed 1,011 U.S. citizens, ages 18 and over, across the U.S. in November 2023. Survey responses were representative of the U.S. population for age, gender, region and ethnicity. The maximum margin of sampling error was +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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