Younger generations are more likely to buy products based on influencer recommendations, as well as consider them reliable. However, these demographics still see influencers as less trustworthy than other sources.
An August 2019 survey from GlobalWebIndex shows that roughly one in five of Gen Z and millennial respondents from the US and UK made a purchase inspired by an influencer or celebrity post on social media. GlobalWebIndex defines Gen Zers as those ages 16 to 22 and millennials as those ages 23 to 36. (In our definition, millennials are individuals born between 1981 and 1996.)
Separately, September 2019 data from Morning Consult shows that about half of US Gen Zers and millennials trust influencers' recommendations when deciding to make a purchase. Morning Consult defines Gen Z as those ages 13 to 22, and millennials as those ages 23 to 38. The data company also excludes celebrities and athletes from the influencer category, whereas the GlobalWebIndex survey grouped the two together.
Despite these noteworthy figures, younger generations still trust customer product reviews and recommendations from friends and family more than they do influencers, per Morning Consult.
"For a lot of teens and young adults, the influencers they follow on social media are an important part of their lives, both for entertainment and for inspiration," eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson said. "But marketers need to remember that there are many factors that contribute to a purchase decision, and influencers are just one part of the equation."
Morning Consult also found that Instagram and YouTube were the top two platforms on which Gen Zers and millennials followed influencers—though the No. 1 favorite differed between men and women. Women of both generations reported that they like Instagram the most, followed by YouTube. The reverse was true for men of both generations.