LONDON: A majority of young people in the UK think they have influence on their peers but few regard themselves as influencers on social media and many reject the ‘influencer’ label, new research shows.

For its Young Blood 2 study, a follow-up to a similar exercise in 2016, brand experience agency Amplify deployed a mixed methodology approach, including a survey of more than 2,000 18-30 year olds across the UK, qualitative research with a 16-strong sample and a deep dive into the lives of three individuals.

This found that 62% of respondents felt they could sway their peers but two thirds weren’t particularly interested in doing so via social media.

Just 18% described themselves as influencers on social media, and 34% wanted to be more influential on this channel.

But the study also noted that young people are becoming less likely to buy from influencers and don’t want their influencers selling to them (“It’s very, very easy to be an influencer,” said one. “You just have to sell out basically.”)

Two thirds (64%) felt that celebrity endorsement was unimportant; less than one third didn’t mind being sold to by influencers on social media but only 21% agreed they were more likely to do or buy something recommended by a high-profile personality.

“Across the board it looks as if influence is down, with the opinion of peers and family still important but not as much as it once was,” the study said.

Reach, it added, is less important than credibility. “Young people appreciate the business savviness of influencers but it is also open season for criticism of them if they are not experts in the things they are selling.”

Amplify also observed that the spending patterns of this demographic have changed over the past two years.

While food, tech and clothing still take the bulk of disposable income the balance has shifted dramatically in favour of food, which is now a “key cultural touchpoint and central to the social aspect of the lives of young people”.

Sourced from Amplify; additional content by WARC staff