Influencers’ influence waning? GenZ listen to friends over social media influencers

Jul 06, 2023
Influencers’ influence waning? GenZ listen to friends over social media influencers

Gen Z consumers are 50 percent more likely to take their friends’ recommendation over an influencer or a celebrity while making a purchase decision, revealed a study from Yuvaa.

Gen Z consumers are 50 percent more likely to take their friends' recommendation over an influencer or a celebrity when making a purchase decision, revealed a study from Yuvaa – the Indian Gen Z-driven youth media, impact, and research organization.

An Economic Times report states that the findings are based on a report titled 'Not All Gen Z'. The findings are based on responses from over 900 Gen Z participants, spanning over 20 cities across tier I, II, and III cities and towns of the country. Gen Z represents people born between 1997 and 2012 who show distinctive behavior in their lifestyle and shopping habits. At over two billion, Gen Z forms roughly 25 percent of the global population. It makes up for over 35 percent of India's population, according to Yuvaa.

Their estimated spending power is in excess of €235 billion, according to BCG.

Influencers provide brand visibility

Karthik Srinivasan, a communications strategy consultant, believes that we trust the references and recommendations of the people we trust the most within our family or friends circle. However, influencers have a different role to play.

"They have come to usurp the role of mainstream media and advertising to a large extent and have become predictable sources of visibility more than influence. In other words, influencers (along with mainstream media and advertising) are sources of introducing products or services, use-cases, and giving them visibility, but they may not necessarily persuade people to make the purchase. That's where friends and family (known peers, colleagues too) would come into play," he explains.

Srinivasan tells Storyboard18 that influencers are merely shilling a product for a fee and have long stopped pretending to be actual users of a product to offer use-based/experience-based content/information.

"Even if they claim to offer personal experience-based recommendations, if viewers/followers see the disclaimer about paid content, they'd automatically discount that factor and take that recommendation with a pinch of salt," he adds.

Yuvaa's report findings also highlight a few key aspects of a Gen Z consumer who is not only willing to support brands that support social causes but also cares about sustainability. Around 63 percent of Gen Z shoppers surveyed said they prefer brands that support social causes.

71 percent of Gen Z prioritize brands that are environment-friendly, and 77 percent consider price when buying something, even if it's not sustainable. Gen Zs are split equally between feminist and non-feminist brands, but 60 percent of women prefer them.

E-com platforms chasing Gen Z

These trends are being closely followed and implemented in product and marketing strategies by e-commerce platforms in India. Storyboard18 reported that there has been intense competition between online retailers to woo the next generation of shoppers, with e-commerce platforms Amazon and Myntra actively investing in the Gen Z cohort.

Flipkart-backed fashion portal Myntra, for instance, announced the launch of FWD, an in-platform experience offering additional brands and styles curated for Gen-Z shoppers.

The move comes days after rival Amazon Fashion introduced the ‘Next Gen Store,’ catering to the unique needs of Gen Z shoppers, who seek to experiment with fashion and have varying preferences in terms of styles, sizes, brands, and fitting.

While Nykaa Fashion has not yet launched a dedicated platform for Gen Z shoppers, it has been onboarding brands that target this cohort. Recently, it added MIXT, which offers streetwear-inspired modern apparel options such as bodysuits, corsets, jumpsuits, jackets, cardigans, and footwear. It brought in Cider, a US-based label, expanding its global offerings to Indian consumers.

Gen Z segment has a distinct aesthetic that impacts their brand choices, which have been driving fashion trends – crop tops, ribbed dresses, chunky sneakers, and baggy jeans.

Unlike previous generations, which were heavily influenced by Bollywood and sports celebrities, Gen Z shoppers are more picky about who they follow. Social media influencers have emerged as a significant force in shaping their purchase decisions.

However, there is a catch. This group only follows influencers or celebrities who ‘walk the talk’ and are more trustworthy.

Value for sustainability, inclusivity

Bindiya Bhatt, senior director of category management at Myntra told Storyboard18 that for Gen Z, inclusivity, authenticity, and unconventionalism take centre stage as well.

"By embracing these values and catering to their specific needs, businesses can create more meaningful and impactful experiences that resonate with this important and influential demographic," she said.

Technopak Advisors' Ankur Bisen had a deeper insight, saying Gen Z shoppers are community-driven and seek better products rather than stay loyal to brands.

"...they are definitely seeking better products than brands and they are also looking at the consumption of fashion through communities. For example, there are communities towards gaming, nature, and even limited edition products. The spin-off from this trend could be the 'sneaker culture' in India and the craze to buy limited edition sneakers that are being sold online. These are some micro trends that one needs to notice," he said.

Source: storyboard18