Report Offers Insights on Influencer Impact on Gen Z and Millennial Purchasing Behavior

New York, March 4, 2020 – A new trends report, “The Culture of Influence,” released by Cassandra, ENGINE’s insights and strategy group that studies trendsetting young consumers, reveals the key characteristics and strategies that drive the relationship between influencers and consumers. The report takes a deep dive into the influencer space today to understand what gives influencers their influence and what brands need to do to be successful in the space. It also explores the ROI question: the impact influencers have on purchasing behavior.

So, what draws young consumers (defined as individuals between the ages of 14 and 34, Gen Z and Millennials) to influencers? Cassandra found the subject of influencer authenticity to be a recurring theme. The report reveals when deciding to follow an influencer, 89% think it’s important the influencer seems like a nice person, isn’t just trying to sell them something (86%) and makes their day better or improves their mood (86%). Another 85% believe it’s important that the influencers they decide to follow are trying to make the world a better place and are the types of people they’d want to hang out with.

“Young consumers want to follow influencers who are relatable, who don’t act like influencers and who fit seamlessly into the social bubble they’ve curated on their feeds,” said Kathy Sheehan, Senior Vice President of Cassandra. “This is important knowledge for brands to understand when deciding to partner with an influencer as well as creating their brand’s online social media persona: be a friend, not a salesperson, and create content that fits within the context of the digital communities you want your brand to have influence over.”

For the report, Cassandra also asked young consumers about the influencer categories they follow as well as the categories in which they’ve made purchases. Cassandra found that young consumers who follow influencers in a certain category are also more likely to make purchases in that category, but there were also adjacent categories that greatly interested them and that brands should be aware of.

For example, 79% of young consumers who follow beauty influencers are likely to make purchases in that category and are also more likely to purchase books (63%) and interior design products (60%).


Below is a breakout of young-consumer-spending patterns for followers of four distinct types of influencers featured in the report:

  • Beauty Influencers

Young consumers who follow beauty influencers are more likely to make purchases in: Beauty  and Grooming (79%), Fashion and Style (67%), Health and Wellness (63%), Books and Literature (63%) and Interior Design (60%).

  • Interior Design Influencers

Young consumers who follow interior design influencers are more likely to make purchases in: Interior Design (60%), Travel (52%), Meditation and Mindfulness (51%), TV (47%) and Cooking (47%).

  • Fashion and Lifestyle Influencers

Young consumers who follow fashion and style influencers are more likely to make purchases in: Beauty and Grooming (80%), Fashion and Style (74%), Meditation and Mindfulness (71%), Books and Literature (68%), Interior Design (68%) and Health and Wellness (66%).

  • Video Game Influencers

Young consumers who follow video game influencers are more likely to make purchases in: Video Games (64%), Technology (58%) and Restaurants (49%).

“Everyone is talking about influencers today, but understanding ROI remains a grey area in the space,” said Kathy Sheehan. “What I find interesting about our most recent findings is that we were able to correlate where the conversations are having an actual impact and driving purchase among Gen Zs and Millennials.”

To learn more about the Cassandra Report® and the benefits of becoming a Cassandra client, please contact us.


The Culture of Influence Report was generated through a quantitative online survey fielded in the U.S. and UK among two respondent groups. We interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,003 U.S. youth aged 14 to 34 based on age, gender, ethnicity, and region, and 505 UK youth in the same age range based on age, gender, and region. Additionally, we surveyed 521 Trendsetters between the ages of 14 and 34 across the U.S. and UK. These Trendsetter respondents were selected based on their answers to a series of questions that gauged their degree of progressive and experimental thinking and behaviors surrounding the latest trends and culture. Throughout the report, we refer to these groups as U.S. and UK Youth and U.S. and UK Trendsetters, respectively. The survey was fielded from October 14, 2019, through November 4, 2019.


ABOUT Cassandra

We empower Fortune 500 companies to See Tomorrow® through trend forecasting, research, brand strategy, and consulting services that drive innovation and build deeper engagement with youth. Cassandra is an insights and cultural strategy group within ENGINE, a global, full-service media and marketing and services company. As the leading experts on young consumers and the cultural forces shaping their lives for nearly 20 years, Cassandra is the foremost authority on Millennials and Generation Z. Membership includes a 12-month engagement with our insights platform where you will have access to the leading syndicated study of the behaviors, mindsets, and preferences of young consumers as well as cross-industry examples and implications to inspire your brand. To learn more about the Cassandra Report® and the benefits of becoming a Cassandra client, please contact us. 


ENGINE is a global, full-service media and marketing services company that unites culture and commerce to move brands forward faster. We are: Driven by data. Fueled by imagination. Powered by technology. Founded in 2005, ENGINE has global headquarters in New York and 16 offices across North America, the UK, Europe and Asia-Pacific. ENGINE empowers clients to outperform in the present and win in the future with its vast range of marketing solutions including insights, creative, media, data and technology. Find out more at and follow @engineworldwide.

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