There is no doubt that the role of influencers on today’s purchasing trends is more dramatic than ever. But retailers need to be savvy and ensure they work with the right ones, as trends and reactions to influencers are changing.

Some retailers have been slow to catch on to using influencers at all; many household names such as House of Fraser announced mass store closures[1] last year, and numerous high profile brands such as Karen Millen, LK Bennett and Pretty Green haven’t survived.   The rise of fast fashion online retail has, however, continued to boom, no doubt in part down to their advertising strategies, with influencers being at the heart of the same.

For example, Boohoo Group plc saw a rise of 43% YoY to £564.9m in the six months to 31 August 2019, meaning its revenue for the last year has exceeded £1bn for the first time ever.[2] There has been much speculation as to how they have done this, but its use of social media and influencers is likely to have been extremely impactful. Its shrewd use of student ambassadors, its dedicated ‘instashop’ on its website and shoppable posts are examples of this.

But is the use of influencers all it’s cracked up to be?

In 2017, reports showed that over half of people aged over 16 have made a purchase based solely on influencer endorsement, which increased to 69% for millennials.[3] But the attitude from consumers has taken a turn – just 4% of people stated that sponsored online influencer posts affected their decision to buy from a brand, based on a survey of 8047 people.[4]

Source: Qriously,

However, the views of marketing teams on the ROI of influencers has become more entrenched in the last two years, with 83% of brands increasing their budget for influencers in 2019 (Zine report), and 71% of marketers agreeing that the quality of visitors and customers from influencer marketing is better than other channels.[5] Influencer marketing is forecasted to reach $10bn total value in 2022.[6] Put simply, it is not an avenue that retailers can ignore and it should be a core part of any retailer marketing strategy.

Consumers are apparently influenced less by influencers than in recent years, yet brands are spending more on them. Perhaps the use of #sponsored has made customers realise that influencers are being paid to say how good a product is. It may be down to saturation; consumers are fickle; they get bored easily – maybe the focus for retailers is to ensure they have the right relationships with the right influencers to have a positive effect on revenue.   

How to maximise return

  • Understand pros and cons of different types of influencer:
  • Choose an influencer that suits your brand and product;
  • Quality over quantity – but quantity works as well. Having a strong network of first-rate influencers can diversify your bets; refresh them regularly;
  • Watch the platforms. Facebook has taken a downturn, while Instagram remains hot;
  • Question the authenticity of your influencer’s following. Over 45% of influencers confirmed that they don’t get asked to prove the authenticity of their audience.[7]




[3] In a survey of 1000 people –


[5] [1]


[7] Survey by Zine –