Despite influencer marketing continuing to dominate across both online and increasingly offline channels, only 6% of consumers globally are swayed by influencers or celebrity endorsements when choosing which retail channel to use when making a purchase.
This is according the latest OpSec Security Consumer Barometer trust index, which found that even among 18- to 24-year-olds, the so-called ‘digital generation,’ influencers only make their mark on 12% of consumers, with the percentage sharply declining with age.
The research, which polled 2,500 consumers globally, also found that shoppers are more likely to trust their peers, family, and friends for advice when making a purchasing decision. 71% of consumers rate customer reviews as an effective trust signal, while 72% trust endorsements from family and friends.
This fall from grace for influencers could be linked to the fact that almost a quarter (24%) of the counterfeit products unintentionally purchased by consumers were bought from social media ads, which was second only to counterfeit purchase from online marketplaces (26%).
This growing skepticism is reflected in the finding that links in social media posts are the least trusted method of purchasing goods. Almost half (49%) of consumers consider these channels untrustworthy, and only 38% believe social media ads are trustworthy.
An overwhelming 91% of social media users have concerns about buying goods from social channels. The biggest worry is the quality of goods (53%), followed by payment security (51%) and buying a fake (51%). Conversely, department stores have the highest levels of trust among consumers, with 90% globally saying they are ‘trustworthy’, followed closely by brand stores (87%) and a brand owner’s website (83%).
Bill Taylor, CMO, OpSec Security, said: “While influencers have a place in today’s marketing mix, it appears they aren’t as effective in winning shoppers over as some may have been led to believe and don’t necessarily inspire trust in a brand. Rather, consumers seem to place more stock on what the people they know and trust think of brands and products, suggesting that brands would be better placed to focus their attention on protecting their brand from the threat of counterfeiting and maintaining their reputation.”
91% of consumers say the integrity and authenticity of a brand is the most important thing when evaluating who they shop with, while their treatment of employees comes in second (87%). Almost four in five consumers (79%) are more likely to shop with a brand that shares their personal beliefs.
When it comes to increasing trust, almost half of consumers (46%) claim that brands could achieve this by better protecting their personal data, offering good customer support (40%) and providing refunds easily (35%). For nearly a fifth (18%), demonstrating a transparent and ethical supply chain would be the biggest driver of trust.
Alessandra Vercelloni, sales director, Europe, OpSec Security, said: “These findings indicate that brands are at risk of underestimating consumers and what inspires their trust. As much as price and endorsements will play a part in purchase decisions, they are no longer the only factors shoppers consider. Many consumers now want the brands they shop with to align with their values and to take their social corporate responsibility seriously. If brands are to gain consumers’ trust and ultimately persuade them to spend their money, they must begin to find ways to demonstrate and substantiate claims that they are ethical or sustainable, for example.”
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