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Shoppertainment, Real Reviews and Deinfluencers – the State of Social Shopping

person in hoody holding phone up towards a Black Friday sale sign, entering details about payment methods.
Photo credit Unsplash

Hearing straight from customers through reviews has been a pillar of marketing for decades. With the rise in shopping on social media and influx of influencer marketing and paid creator content, we’re seeing some interesting shifts impacting young shoppers on social.

Growing up being able to search and research products and services to hear from real consumers has developed young consumers with a shopping habit relying on reviews and real voice. In fact, nearly half of Gen Z (44%) and 40% of Millennials will not purchase a product if the only reviews available were published three months or more ago.

Social media seems to provide the instant sweet spot for real reviews in the form of influencers and paid creator content which is supercharging shopping habits. Influencer marketing continues to evolve, with the rise of micro and nano influencers – smaller, more engaged audiences within a product/service niche, which has only levelled the playing field for smaller brands and organisations who can’t compete with the major celebrity endorsements.

#tiktokmademebuyit has a staggering 46.2 billion views on TikTok, with 52% of Millennials and 60% of GenZ saying they’ve bought something because they’d seen it on TikTok over the past year.

With that has come some saturation and a push back from the dogged #ad #gifted products that audiences are faced with. Enter the rise of the deinfluencer. As a cynic this is a refreshing twist in the influencer story! But let’s be clear, this is still a form of influencer in its own right and some could argue another trend rather than a shift in consumerism at this point.

Videos with #deinfluencing have 367.5m views on TikTok. In part, there is a stream of deinfluencer content that centres around the push back against consumerism, with ties to promoting how to buy secondhand, refresh and repair clothes rather than buy new for example. The #antihaul content (at 62.3m views) embrace against the wave of #haul reviews of bags and bags of purchases which is another anti-trend wave of content.

Criticising products and recommending cheaper alternatives and dupes is another growing favourite. #Dupes has 1.8 billion views, #dupesmakeup 26.5m for example. But these often will recommend alternatives and can be a way of influencing – but just tearing down competitors. #Haul still has 37.9 billion views and counting let’s not forget.

There are some examples and data pointing to TikTok fuelling overspending and over consumption, with the app increasingly making it easy to shop directly and target ads and content linked to preferences. The algorithms are incredibly focused on consumption habits. The scarcity mindset of things selling out or briefly being back in stock is another common narrative on the app.

A look at the rise of buy-now pay-later among the same audience also reflects the ease and instant ability to buy using the likes of Klarna and online shopping through social media. In fact, demand for buy now pay later is particularly high among Millennials and Gen Z, who are also feeling the crunch of the cost of living and lack of savings. 22% of 25-34 admit to being in debt to short-term credit providers and Gen Z are close behind at 21%.

As with most things, this is somewhat of a perfect storm. The impact of the economic crisis, pandemic and rising cost of living is catching young consumers in a position where long-term savings and home ownership is ever further away. In the UK, 28% of people aged 20-34 live with their parents with some pointing to shorter-term, attainable luxury purchases being part of the driver.

A report by Morgan Stanley found record numbers of young adults living at home with parents are helping drive the boom for luxury goods in the US and UK. Interestingly, this is linked to purchase achievements and unique experiences shared on TikTok. #luxurytok has 253.9m view, with unboxing, first-class holidays and unique dining experiences driving content.

The deinfluencer discussion will continue and signs of a step away from consumerism are not only a growing trend but clearly relative to young people’s financial health and future view. As ongoing discussions are had about the accountability of social media platforms and young people’s wellbeing, will this develop into a broader discussion on how addictive algorithms impact financial health and shopping habits?


· TikTok stats – TikTok app for hashtag volume and TikTok research for shopping habits

· Guardian article on shoppertainment and debt Mar 2023

· Morning star article on debt rates, Mar 2023

· Guardian article on deinfluencer, Feb 2023

· Vice article on home ownership and luxury consumerism, Mar 2023

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