Not so influential? Only 30% reaffirm shopping choices by following influencers

Editor’s note: Shopee has clarified that the first three statistics included in the first two sentences of this story indicate prominence as they take them to mean online personas still have an impact on over 70% of their shoppers.

A NEW study has found that only 30% of local shoppers follow influencers to reaffirm their shopping choices before purchasing products online, indicating that the prominence of online personas who make their business by promoting products may be dwindling.

E-commerce platform Shopee also discovered that a mere 22% of those surveyed habitually follow influencers to stay on trend or educate themselves, 21% find them relatable, 20% want to discover new things and only 7% choose to follow them for their popularity. 

In a bid to study the impact of local influencers in informing Malaysians’ purchase decisions online, Shopee’s marketplace study examined the motivational structures of 2,459 Malaysian buyers, comprising Generation Zs (40%), millennials (36%), Generation Xs (17%) and baby boomers (7%), from mid-September to mid-October 2022.

The study found that five in 10 Malaysians relate most to micro-nano influencers (those with a follower count of under 500,000), with surveyed buyers finding these influencers relatable because they occupy a niche in posting word-of-mouth recommendations to well-acquainted circles of interest. 

The degree to which Malaysians follow influencers in other tiers is spread: 25% like “mega influencers” (those with over one mil followers) while 22% prefer macro-influencers (those with 500,000 to less than one mil followers). 

“With the rise of influencers in Malaysia, three in 10 buyers want influencers to bond with them on a personal level so they can continue to stand out from their peers,” Shopee said in a statement.

The most popular type of influencer content, on the other hand, are reviews, vlogs and unboxing videos, according to a third (33%) of Malaysian buyers surveyed by Shopee.  

Shopee noted that unboxing has become a popular trend across e-commerce, particularly for Shopee live-stream influencers, where they have the advantage of showcasing the full potential of products and demonstrating their effectiveness in action to their strong community of followers. 

“Most trusted way”

“It has become the most trusted way for them to share personal advice, get two-way feedback and answer questions about the product directly with compelling proof,” the company said.

Besides that, remaining buyers surveyed by Shopee find inspiration in the following types of content: 20% watch do-it-yourself (DIY) hacks, tips and tricks; 19% feel rewarded by giveaways, special offers or contests; 15% discover new products or feature launch announcements; while 12% prefer interactive videos, live-streams and polls. 

Shopee is known for bringing communities together through content that entertains and for influencers to forge meaningful connections in real-time channels like Shopee Live.

Meanwhile, when Shopee asked 1,035 sellers what type of content they thought influencers should post on social media to help Malaysians shop smarter, 48% of sellers preferred influencers to post relevant and genuine reels and videos of their product; 24% wanted their products featured organically in engaging content; 15% wanted to see their products on influencer selfies; and 15% wanted influencers to give away their products in live interactions.

“With many new sellers on the marketplace since the COVID-19 pandemic, buyers, understandably, are faced with more to choose from and more unknowns,” commented Shopee Malaysia head of marketing campaigns Kenneth Soh. 

“Our influencers are a trusted community: Malaysian shoppers on our marketplace know the source, perceive them as fellow peers and look to them to determine if they’re getting the best prices and whether they can trust user recommendations.”

He pointed to Shopee’s Affiliate Programme, Influencer Marketing Programme and Shopee Live as examples of how sellers using its platform can leverage trusted communities to cultivate more meaningful and loyal relationships online.

Soh added that Shopee strongly believes that its community of influencers will help its sellers achieve sustainable growth, pointing to the survey results which he claims show more Malaysians are trusting influencers to inform their shopping decisions. – Oct 27, 2022


Main photo credit: SushiVid

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