Power of Influencers May Be Growing amid Pandemic

As many as 21% of consumers have made their first-ever influencer-driven purchase since the Covid-19 outbreak struck the US, according to new research by martech firm Valassis.

The firm speculates that this apparent increase in the power of influencers may be related to a boost in social media usage among consumers stuck at home. About half of Americans began using social media more in the spring as the impact of Covid on day-to-day US life grew, the Harris Poll found.

The social media influencer market is set to grow to $15 billion by 2022. Its impact is evident among consumers, 25% of whom say their perception of brands changes based on the influencers who endorse them. That number rises to 39% among consumers between the ages of 25 and 34.

Influencers are especially active on social channels such as Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram, driving the connection between a boost in social usage and influencers’ influence. Valassis’ research showed that 35% of consumers had made an unplanned purchase during the pandemic based on something they saw on social media.

Despite all the synergy among commerce, influencers, and social, the growing import of influencers also comes with risk for brands. Forty-three percent of consumers are more likely to buy from brands whose values match their own, and consumers look to influencers for value signaling. Sixty-five percent said they would stop following an influencer who displayed values contrary to their own.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He joined Street Fight as a contributing writer in 2015, has compiled the daily newsletter since 2016, and has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Shoot him an email at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.