The rise of the 'de-influencer' will change digital marketing approaches - Andrew Finnie

​New research from Accenture Song reveals that 21 per cent of Scottish consumers are less likely to be swayed by the content and recommendations of influencers compared to before the cost-of-living crisis – highlighting they are less interested in “flashy” and “unrealistic” online figures than they were a year ago.

​This shift in the way consumers engage with influencers highlights a need for Scottish businesses to adapt their digital marketing approaches.

The study of the social media and purchasing habits of consumers over the past year suggests that the cost-of-living crisis may be at the heart of changing attitudes. Amidst rising household bills, extravagant and unattainable influencer content is losing its grip on consumers, with 14 per cent of Scots saying they have unfollowed accounts they felt presented an unrelatable lifestyle over the past year.

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In place of the stereotypical glamourous figures we’ve come to recognise, ‘de-influencers’ are starting to cut through. Rather than promoting the latest trends, these emerging online creators call out brands and influencers who tout what they deem to be unnecessary products and services, criticising over-consumption and homing in on its potential negative environmental and social consequences.

Andrew Finnie, Accenture Song, ScotlandAndrew Finnie, Accenture Song, Scotland
Andrew Finnie, Accenture Song, Scotland

Accenture data shows that a fifth of Scottish consumers have engaged with this type of content since the start of the cost-of-living crisis. The trend highlights a shift towards more discerning spending amongst young consumers, including an increased following of accounts that offer practical money-saving tips, financial advice, or suggest cheaper alternatives to expensive trends. This is already having a direct impact on purchasing decisions, as more than 65 per cent of those who said they’d engaged with de-influencer content in the past year said it made them decide not to spend with a brand.

Influencer recommendations are no longer enough to keep the country spending. In the past twelve months, 62 per cent of consumers in Scotland have avoided spending on products recommended by influencers, while 14 per cent have actively unfollowed accounts that present an unrealistic lifestyle compared to theirs.

The cost-of-living crisis is changing the way some influencers are creating content, as well as their relationships with brands – nearly a fifth (19 per cent) of Scottish consumers have altered their social media habits this year to follow accounts that give financial or money-saving tips. This suggests that despite altered views, consumers are not turning their backs on influencers entirely. Instead, they’re seeking out creators and content that better align with their lifestyles, values and everyday challenges.

Consumers have always wanted a personalised online experience, proliferated with relatable figures and products that appeal to them. However, where they once enjoyed the indiscriminate excess of product hauls, many now seek reliable advice on how to make their hard-earned money go further.

Consumers in Scotland are disengaging with typical influencer content (Picture: simona - in Scotland are disengaging with typical influencer content (Picture: simona -
Consumers in Scotland are disengaging with typical influencer content (Picture: simona -

The cost-of-living crisis has made the gap between big-name influencers and consumers more visible. Feeling the financial pressure, 26 per cent of consumers are now limiting the premium brands they purchase, abandoning brand loyalty in favour of cheaper alternatives. It’s no surprise that a different type of influencer is on the rise. Brands should seek to attract and impress these emerging de-influencers by empathising with the challenges the cost-of-living crisis has created and cater to the values consumers now prioritise most.

​Andrew Finnie, Accenture Song, Scotland

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