Research shows influencers can be more of a risk than an asset to Christmas sales

A survey by Enterprise CMS Storyblok, involving 1,000 consumers, has uncovered that indiscriminate influencer endorsements could detrimentally affect product sales during the Christmas season.

The survey examined consumer attitudes towards products promoted by celebrity influencers, revealing only 19% of shoppers are more inclined to purchase due to such endorsements. Conversely, 24% indicated that they would be discouraged from buying.

The effect of influencers on purchasing decisions varies by age. Among those under 35, 30% said they would be more likely to buy due to an influencer, but 19% would be dissuaded. This contrasts with 22% in the 35-44 age group and 30% in the over-45s. Notably, 57% of all respondents stated influencer endorsements had no impact on their purchasing decisions.

YouGov's research indicates that spending on Christmas gifts generally increases with age, with Brits aged 25-34 likely to spend £334 compared to £453 for those aged 45-54.

Gender differences also emerged: while men and women are similarly inclined towards products endorsed by influencers (20% and 21%, respectively), a higher percentage of men (28%) stated they would be put off, compared to 19% of women.

Thomas Peham, VP of Marketing at Storyblok, commented, “An influencer endorsement is a double-edged sword. It might draw a younger audience to a brand, but can also turn away other, potentially higher-spending shoppers. This is more than ambivalence; it actively deters a significant number of consumers from purchasing. This underscores the importance for brands to understand their audience's preferences and customize their marketing strategies accordingly.”

Storyblok's research also highlights a growing disparity in the influence of various marketing channels. On average, websites are perceived as the most crucial channel (43%), followed by mobile (34%) and social media (16%). However, preferences shift among younger consumers (18-24 years), with mobile (36%) and social media (25%) gaining more importance, while only 7% of those aged 45+ view social media as the most important channel.

Peham added, “Marketing to consumers is increasingly complex, with changing preferences towards different channels. If marketers target the wrong group with an inappropriate message, it could harm their brand. Technology can facilitate communication across various channels, but it’s no replacement for brands truly understanding their potential customers and their desires.”