Young people in Belgium are increasingly inspired by influencers
Almost nine out of ten Belgian youth follow influencers through various social media channels. This is apparent from a study by Arteveldehogeschool and Comeos.
More and more Belgian youngsters are guided by influencers. Even though influencers have recently had to comply with stricter advertising rules, their popularity remains assured.
"Influencers still have an important commercial influence on young people," Marijke De Veirman, researcher in social media and influencer marketing said on Radio 1. "Some 87% of young people follow influencers on social media and 74 percent of them think it's a good idea when brands use influencers."
That influencers spur young people to action is evident from their buying behaviour. In contrast to last year, when one in four young people bought something that was recommended by influencers, now one in three young people do so. Through influencers, young people also look up information about a brand or start following a brand via social media.
"Young people know that influencers are paid for creating content on behalf of brands. At the same time, they find it important that influencers remain authentic. They assume that influencers only promote brands they support themselves. In addition, young people argue that it should be clearly indicated whether something is advertising or not," De Veirman said.
Influencers not only determine what young people buy. They also have an influence on their clothing and lifestyle.
"For example, 24% indicate that they let influencers affect their clothing style. A quarter indicate that an influencer has already encouraged them to exercise or do more sport. The main reason why young people follow influencers is because they create fun and original content."
The researchers also looked at the use of social media. Among young people, 83 % use Instagram on a daily basis. This is followed by YouTube (69.3 %) and Snapchat (65.8 %).
"We do notice that Instagram may have reached its peak, the number of users among Belgian youths is no longer increasing, in Flanders we even see a slight decline," De Veirman confirmed.
TikTok has also grown in popularity: 62.7% of Belgian young people use it daily. That is almost 16% more than last year. Facebook is the biggest loser among young people. Just under 60% use it daily. "They use Facebook mainly for practical reasons such as events or groups for school and work. The channel also has an older image," De Veirman said.
The Arteveldehogeschool and trade federation Comeos annually publish the SMI or Social Media and Influencer Barometer. With this, they measure the popularity of influencer marketing and social media among young people aged 16 to 24. This year, besides 3,291 young people, 1,760 people older than 25 participated as well. The full report is available online.
© BELGA/AFP PHOTO - French plus-size fashion online influencer Virginie Grossat poses during a photo shoot on August 15, 2020, in Lyon, central-eastern France. Grossat, 32, has 24,000 followers on Instagram and 280,000 on TikTok.