Recent research from ThinkMoney on the retail spending habits of those aged 18-24 has revealed that the future is bright for clothing retailers whose ranges include celebrity-endorsed collaborations but not so good for banks.
The study showed that the returns for retailers who collaborate with celebrity influencers are considerable – 49% of those consumers claimed that the association with the celebrity was of more interest than the look of the clothing itself. And using an average monthly income for that age group of £1,655 ThinkMoney calculated that 21% of young adults have spent so much on celebrity clothing collaborations that they now make up over half of their wardrobes.
However, less encouragingly for future spending patterns, more than a third of those questioned spend more on celebrity-endorsed clothing than they put away in savings each month. The researchers concluded that these consumers trying to tap into the perceived celebrity lifestyle but without the economic means to realistically do so were in danger of getting in to some level of debt.
Paying by credit card was overwhelmingly the payment method of choice among 18-24 year olds, with 52% saying they bought their celebrity collabs this way while another 15% choose the buy now /pay later schemes like Klarna. Finally another 18% choose the ultimate pay later way of purchasing – through their student loans. However, the traditional store loyalty card accounted for a mere 6% of purchases indicating that this group does not have an interest in being loyal to one store for any length of time.
Commenting on the findings for ThinkMoney psychotherapist Belynder Walia, noted that inevitably “more brands will work with influencers as they are, quite literally, doing the marketing and consumer testing in one go, as well as creating the content and selling the brand.”
But she warned “it’s important for consumers to be mindful and remember first and foremost, they are an influencer.” And surprisingly it is not only the more usual suspects of models and actors that young people turn to for inspiration, a quarter of those surveyed listed YouTubers as their main influencers – roughly equal to the numbers choosing models and actors.
And the reasons why 18-24 year olds choose the clothing collaborations with their favoured influencers is also not what one might predict. It is not, for example, that they trust the influencer’s opinion particularly (17%) or that they want to look like that celebrity (10%) but overwhelmingly that the collaboration is felt to be on-trend (57%).
The most popular clothing collaborations were between actress and singer Zendaya with Boohoo and Love Island’s Molly-Mae Hague with Pretty Little Thing – but success in reality TV does not mean collaborations will also be successful – recent Love Island winner Amber Gill’s venture with Miss Pap did not rate anywhere near as highly as Hague’s who did not ultimately win the show.