While the rise of influencers and their respective management platforms have spawned an ever-growing and lucrative KOL industry throughout Asia, new YouGov research is casting doubt on how much influence influencers really have on Singaporean consumers' purchasing decisions.
The findings, made exclusive to Campaign Asia-Pacific, show more than a third (37%) of Singaporeans feel influencers have no influence at all. One in ten (11%) think they have ‘a lot’ of influence, about a quarter (26%) think they have ‘some’ and the remaining quarter (27%) think they have ‘a little’.
Overall, almost seven in ten (68%) have some degree of trust in a product endorsed by influencers. About a third (32%) have no trust at all.
Virtual influencers have even less influence, with three in five (60%) stating they have no influence at all. Virtual influencers are computer-generated models with a strong following on social media platforms, particularly Instagram.
Though virtual influencers only began to gain popularity last year, a quarter (25%) of Singaporeans are already familiar with the term, according to YouGov. Middle-aged Singaporeans (aged 35 to 44) are the most likely to have heard of virtual influencers, and older Singaporeans (aged 55 and above) are the least likely (33% vs. 17%). Less than one in ten (8%) are currently following virtual influencers on Instagram.
Looking at the level of trust for a human influencer and a virtual influencer, over two in five (44%) instil the same degree of trust in both. Half (51%) trust virtual influencers less than human ones. The remaining 6% trust virtual influencers more, with men twice as likely as women to trust them (8% vs. 4%).
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Of those who are on Instagram, about half (49%) follow influencers. Younger Singaporeans (aged 18 to 34) are three times more likely to follow influencers than older Singaporeans (aged 55 and above) (63% vs. 21%). What qualifies someone as an influencer in the eyes of Singaporeans? An expert level of knowledge or social influence (51%), high-quality content (50%) and a large social media following (48%) are the top three criteria.
Two-thirds (67%) of Singaporeans have an active Instagram account. Among those aged 18 to 24, over nine in ten (94%) are on Instagram. The likelihood of having Instagram account decreases by age. While three quarters (76%) of those aged 35 to 44 are on Instagram, this drops to over two in five (44%) for those age 55 and above.
The results are based on a YouGov Omnibus survey of 1,111 Singaporeans.
Also see: Campaign's Circle of Influencers profiling feature surveying 11 different KOL networks in Asia-Pacific