Study: Swiss:in view influencers critically

Only one in twenty respondents has consciously bought a product based on an influencer recommendation in the last three months, according to the results of a study by FHNW and Gfs-Zurich. Paid advertisements also enjoy little trust.

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A broad survey of the Swiss population was used to find out how respondents inform themselves before making a purchase, which channels they trust, which digital brands they like, which forms of communication they prefer, and how they feel about influencers, paid ads, and content marketing. The study was conducted by a team of authors from the School of Business at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland FHNW and Gfs-Zurich.

Influencer recommendations are not (consciously) taken up

The study showed that only one in twenty respondents (5 percent) (consciously) bought a product in the last three months on the basis of an influencer recommendation. Although the youngest respondents (18 to 39 years) rated the importance of influencers slightly higher (mean 1.6 on the 5-point scale) than the 40 to 64-year-olds (1.3) and the over-65s (1.2), it was still at a very low level. The only thing is that it is difficult for respondents to assess the actual influence of influencers, because many actions and decisions are made unconsciously.

Around two-fifths (39 percent) of respondents said they pay attention to whether a post on the Internet is paid for or not. Likewise, around two-fifths of respondents (43 percent) place less trust in paid ads than in unpaid ads. The most frequently cited reason for distrust is that paid ads are perceived as not true, not objective or distorted. Highly or very highly educated respondents and respondents who obtain information online when making a purchase are particularly critical of paid ads.

Important and familiar sources of information offline and online

The store or acquaintances are also the important sources of information for the Swiss population before making a purchase (39 percent of respondents), followed by Internet sources such as social media or websites (28 percent). The most frequently cited digital source of information when making a purchase among the Swiss population surveyed are (multiple answers possible):

  •  Online retailers with their websites (50% of respondents).
  • Manufacturer itself (45%)
  • User reviews and recommendation (26%)

From November 2 to 23, 2022, the School of Business at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland FHNW, together with the market and social research institute Gfs-Zurich, conducted 1,001 interviews with German- and French-speaking Swiss aged 18 and over. The survey included questions on information behavior before a purchase, trust in digital information sources and perception of digital content marketing. Here the study can be downloaded free of charge.


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