LTK Holiday Shopper Study Finds Influencers To Be The Most Impactful Drivers of Online Purchases

New research helps brands understand the secrets to success this holiday season

While there are signs that the commercial impacts of Covid-19 are improving and the economy is starting to rev again, many brand marketers are faced with how to balance general societal optimism with the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic’s impact on shopping behaviors this holiday season.

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“With the vast majority of shopping expected to happen on mobile devices this holiday season, and influencers surfacing as the most trusted advisors on social media, creator-powered marketing is poised to be an extremely effective selling strategy this holiday”

In a study conducted in June 2021 by LTK, the largest creator-powered marketing platform in the world, the company discovered several important insights for brand marketers to consider as they build their end-of-year campaigns.

Overall, adults in the US are feeling more optimistic as they head into the holiday shopping season, with 80 percent planning to spend the same or more on gifts this year compared to last. Nearly 70 percent of adults plan to do most of their shopping online, with the majority expected to be done on their smartphones. Social media influencers were deemed the most trusted advisors on social media and the most influential factor in driving purchase decisions online, above expert reviewers, celebrity endorsements and discount or savings marketing.

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LTK’s proprietary research included surveying over 2,000 adults reflective of the US population with 97 percent confidence. Here’s what was found:

  1. Shoppers are optimistic about a return to normalcy
    As a result, brands can expect consumers to broaden their gift category considerations.
  2. Household income is on the rise
    With less budget angst, brands can expect more impulse and luxury purchase consideration this year.
  3. Americans are eager to spend
    With purchase intent up, we can expect consumers will shop earlier and longer, providing more selling opportunities for brands.
  4. Online and mobile shopping will continue to dominate the holidays
    Engaging shoppers earlier in mobile-friendly environments will inspire impulse purchases and the creation of gift lists on consumers’ phones.
  5. Black Friday through Cyber Monday is still important
    Black Friday and Cyber Monday impact the entire holiday shopping calendar, with 45 percent of adults surveyed planning to do the majority of their shopping during the BFCM period. Engaging the right customers at the right time on the right platforms is key, and requires advanced planning.
  6. More than two-thirds of shoppers buy a large variety of products based on influencer recommendations
    While beauty and fashion rank as the purchases most positively impacted by influencer recommendations, understanding influencers’ audiences broadens opportunities to sell a variety of products.
  7. Influencers are the #1 driver of purchase decisions on social media
    With influencers in high demand from consumers and marketers, brands should plan early to ensure first access to this year’s most valuable marketing asset.

“With the vast majority of shopping expected to happen on mobile devices this holiday season, and influencers surfacing as the most trusted advisors on social media, creator-powered marketing is poised to be an extremely effective selling strategy this holiday,” said Rodney Mason, head of marketing for the LTK Brand Platform. “Our advice to brands is to plan your influencer marketing campaigns early and across the calendar to maximize your selling opportunities.”