Relatable influencers impact purchase decisions

Photo by Liza Summer

A Shopee study explored the impact of Malaysian influencers on informing Malaysians’ purchase decisions online. Its marketplace study examined the motivational structures of 2,459 buyers, consisting of Gen-Z (40%), Millennials (36%), Generation X (17%) and Baby Boomers (7%), in following influencers.

Five in ten of Malaysians relate most to micro-nano influencers with follower count under 500,000. The surveyed buyers find these influencers relatable because they occupy a niche in posting word-of-mouth recommendations to well-acquainted circles of interest.

The degree to which Malaysians follow influencers in other tiers are spread: 25% like Mega influencers (over 1 million) and 22% prefer macro influencers (with 500,000 to less than a million followers). 

With the rise of influencers in Malaysia, 3 in 10 buyers want influencers to bond with them on a personal level so they can continue to stand out from their peers.

A third (30%) concede that they follow influencers to reaffirm their shopping choices before they purchase a product. 22% habitually follow influencers to stay on trend or to educate themselves, 21% find them relatable, 20% want to discover new things, and only 7% choose to follow them for their popularity

Across generations, Malaysians online want access to information that helps them shop smarter.

The most popular type of influencer content, according to a third (33%) of Malaysian buyers, are reviews, vlogs and unboxing videos. Unboxing has become a popular trend across e-commerce, particularly for Shopee livestream influencers, where they have the advantage of showcasing the full potential of products and demonstrating their effectiveness in action to their strong community of followers.

It has become the most trusted way for them to share personal advice, get two-way feedback, and answer questions about the product directly with compelling proof.

Remaining buyers surveyed find inspiration in the following types of content: 20% watch DIY hacks, tips, and tricks, 19% feel rewarded by giveaways, special offers or contests, 15% discover new products or feature launch announcements, and 12% prefer interactive videos, livestreams and polls. 

“With many new sellers on the marketplace since the pandemic, buyers understandably are faced with more to choose from and more unknowns,” said Kenneth Soh, Head of Marketing Campaigns at Shopee Malaysia.

“Our influencers are a trusted community: Malaysian shoppers on our marketplace know the source, perceive them as fellow peers, and look to them to determine if they’re getting the best prices and whether they can trust user recommendations.” 

When Shopee asked 1,035 sellers what type of content they thought influencers should post on social media to help Malaysians shop smarter, 48% of sellers preferred influencers to post relevant and genuine reels and videos of their product. 24% wanted their products featured organically in engaging content, 15% wanted to see their products on influencer selfies, and 15% wanted influencers to give away their products in live interactions.

“We strongly believe that our community of influencers will help our sellers achieve sustainable growth because we see more Malaysians trusting them to inform their shopping decisions,” Soh added.