Consumer online shopping behavior affected by influencer marketing - with a focus on sustainability
Kaulbars-Staudinger, Emilia (2019)
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The purpose of this case study is to gain knowledge about the clothing business online and how the influencer marketing affects consumers’ online shopping behavior and purchase decisions. How the marketing methods that influencers use on social media channels are perceived, is interesting for this study, to be able to understand what responsibility and power the influencers possess and what responsibility lies on the consumers. How consum-ers are influenced on social media and how they think about the sustainability angle is the second research part of the study. Sustainable fashion and sustainable influencer marketing is the third research area of this study. There is a need to understand how consumers per-ceive their online shopping behavior due to influencer marketing, and how influencers can work in a more sustainable way when promoting clothes online and in their work overall to build a more sustainable future for the clothing business. Consumer shopping behavior online, influencer marketing, sustainable fashion and sustainable influencer marketing are referred to in the theoretical framework. A qualitative method is used to collect data through semi-structured focus group interviews with consumers of different ages between 16-31, and semi-structured interviews with two influencers in Finland, Alexa Aavarinne and Michelle Blomqvist. The study shows that consumers are affected by influencer marketing more strongly if they are younger, but all respondents are affected by influencer marketing in some way. They have, because of that, purchased many clothing products online. Sometimes these purchases have been impulse purchases and the consumers have frequently returned items that they have bought online. Many influencers tend to work in a real and trustworthy way to succeed, and they are focusing on giving a genuine picture of themselves and their thoughts and opinions about the products they represent and pro-mote. Some influencers also work with and think about sustainability issues. There is a need for better transparency in the fashion business overall, and it’s important to gain more knowledge about how much the consumer online shopping behavior affects the environ-ment. Demanding more sustainably produced products is needed, but the study showed that the responsibility for this lies on the consumers.