Under The Influence: Impulse Buying On Social Media

The other night (much later than I’d like to admit), I opened my phone to set an alarm for the morning. This inevitably led me to open Instagram, which led me to hitting “Buy Now” on an ad for a pair of discounted sneakers an influencer loved. Looking down now at my new kicks (which I love but probably shouldn’t have bought), the whole thing feels like a dream––like whiplash.

It turns out, according to a new study by beauty and grooming marketplace Styleset, I’m not the only one: this type of impulsive behavior is common. When faced with an influencer’s opinion, it seems, we’re all “under the influence” to some degree.

What I appreciate about Styleset’s report, however, is the way in which it breaks down what people actually react to during impulse buying moments, and what they don’t––making the findings especially useful to advertisers attempting to understand their audience and current influencer trends.



How effective is influencer marketing on social media platforms? And more importantly, why are influencers effective (or not) in quickly inspiring someone’s decision to buy while aimlessly scrolling through their feed?

After surveying over 1,000 Americans, Styleset found that 79% encounter influencers on social media, with TikTok and Instagram being the most saturated platforms (#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has more than 12 billion views, but Instagram remains the most influential social platform for impulse buys).

Even though 76% of users think the recommendations influencers share on social are fake, it doesn’t stop them from making purchases.

An influencer’s recommendation can be especially effective because consumers can see the product in action. Because of this, more than half (58%) of those surveyed said they would purchase any product recommended by an influencer, and 45% said they would purchase clothing or kitchenware specifically.

Users also said that, influencers aside, Instagram has the most effective ads. Nearly half of the respondents have purchased a product because they saw an ad for it on social. The number jumped to 58% among TikTok users.

In terms of instigating impulse buys among users, here’s the ranked social media platform breakdown:

  1. TikTok (55%)
  2. Instagram (46%)
  3. Facebook (45%)
  4. Twitter (43%)
  5. Other apps (22%)

In terms of which type of influencer has the most power over purchasers, beauty influencers win out (followed by health and wellness, fitness, food, fashion, home, and travel), with 57% of all users having purchased a beauty product after seeing it on social. A striking 89% of TikTok users have purchased beauty products they saw on the platform.

Next story loading loading..