Only 22% of retailers have used influencers to engage customers as part of their marketing strategy, according to the latest survey by real-time personalisation platform Fresh Relevance.
At the same time, just 10% of UK consumers have purchased a product based on an influencer’s recommendation.
Almost two-thirds (62%) of consumers do not actively follow an influencer whilst 32% said they would show greater interest in a brand if it used an influencer to promote their products.
However, opinions appear to be strongly divided as 44% of respondents said they wouldn’t trust product recommendations made by an influencer. This suggests that retail brands could be jeopardising their customer relationships by using the marketing tactic.
“Influencer marketing has been on the news agenda for a while now, but it’s not an accurate account of what’s happening in the retail sector,” said Mike Austin, CEO & co-founder of Fresh Relevance. “Our research indicates few retailers are actually using influencers to engage consumers, and only a small proportion of shoppers are interested in seeing influencers promoting products.”
The survey also uncovered a generational difference when it comes to influencer perception with Gen Z (60%) and millennials (52%) more interested in brands using influencers, compared to 14% of baby boomers.
Among Gen Z, 30% follow a beauty and 30% follow fashion influencers on social media.
Austin added that social proof was an important part of marketing, but didn’t automatically mean that brands should engage celebrity or influencer endorsements.
“The research highlights that social proof doesn’t have to mean expensive celebrity marketing. In fact, consumer engagement and interest is often driven more by other tactics, such as product star ratings, user-generated content and product popularity messaging, which are scalable, easy to implement and offering untapped revenue potential. For retailers truly looking to engage consumers they must understand the types of social proof tactics available, and map these to customer data insights to identify what’s going to be effective in meeting consumer expectations.”
Among the fashion brands surveyed, half are using influencer marketing, compared to 40% in the footwear sector and just 20% of jewellery and accessories brands.
Although 12% of consumers actively follow beauty influencers, the beauty brands surveyed did not have an influencer marketing strategy in place.