More than 27 million adult Italians follow at least one influencer on social media (up 17% from 2021)

The data emerges from the new research "Italiani & Influencer" conducted by BVA Doxa in collaboration with Mondadori Media and Buzzoole, which investigates the role influencers play in the daily lives of Italians.

  • Among the most noted are Chiara Ferragni, Giallozafferano and ClioMakeUp
  • Increasingly relevant role of mentors in procurement.
  • More than 3 million people, particularly gen z and millennials, follow at least one virtual influencer.

Over 27 million adult Italians (18-74 years old) follow at least one influencer or the social channels of a publishing brand (+17% compared to 2021), the figure corresponds to 71% of active users on social networks confirming the increasingly relevant importance of these figures in people’s daily lives and the fundamental role they assume in purchasing processes.

In addition,57% of Italians, out of the analysed sample of the population aged 18-54, follow a macro influencer or the social channels of an editorial brand every day (+20 percentage points in two years), 8% once a week, and only 5% said rarely. The “macro influencer” category includes people and editorial brands with at least 100 thousand followers recognized as influencers by their communities in six specific fields: lifestyle, beauty, fashion, entertainment, food and wellness.

These are some of the data that emerged from the new research “Italiani & Influencer” carried out by BVA Doxa in collaboration with Mondadori Media and Buzzoole, with the aim of thoroughly investigating the opinions of Italians towards a category that is increasingly present in people’s daily lives and has a strong impact from the point of view of purchasing processes and consumption.

But who are the top 5 macro-influencers by notoriety in Italy? Leading the ranking remains Chiara Ferragni (cited by 86 percent of the sample), followed by Giallozafferano (72 percent) and Benedetta Rossi (72 percent). In fourth place is ClioMakeUp (62 percent) and in fifth is Aurora Ramazzotti (60 percent).

Very interesting, and in discontinuity with other media, is the figure for the most followed topics on social media: in first place, in fact, the research notes food tied with entertainment, with 58 percent. It is not surprising, then, that the Top Five include two food media brands.

The importance of influencers as true tutors in purchasing processes is also reconfirmed in this year’s survey: 46% of respondents have made at least one purchase suggested by an influencer and 83% take their advice into consideration.

Examining purchase intentions in individual areas, topping the list of Italians’ preferences are the profiles of Giallozafferano (83%) in food&beverage, Mypersonaltrainer (81%) in the wellness area, and ClioMakeUp (88%) in the beauty world.

Andrea Santagata, CEO of Mondadori Media comments: “Years ago, we decided to strengthen our digital area by investing to strongly enter the social media segment and the influencer marketing sector. The results of this research fully confirm the validity and strength of this decision” – and continues- “Investing and growing in new media also means identifying and enhancing new talents and always focusing on new communication languages. With a network of 200 creators and more than 800 million monthly video views on the socials of our editorial brands, we are witnessing the transformation taking place in video entertainment, where social and creators are the new palimpsest of Gen Z. Socials today are increasingly the reference point for Italians on their main interests and passions with volumes typical of TV to which is added the ability to engage audiences.”

For the first time ever in the Italian scenario, it emerged, in addition, that there are more than 3 million Italians who follow at least one virtual influencer, particularly from the Gen Z and Millennials target audience. Specifically: 28% are from the 18-24 age group, 34% from the 25-34 age group, 24% from the 35-44 age group, and finally 14% from the 45-54 age group. Those who know and follow virtual influencers do so consistently every day (as if they were real influencers). In fact, 57 percent of respondents follow them every day, 28 percent every 2-3 days, 7 percent more or less once a week, 4 percent every 10-15 days, and only 5 percent have no usual frequency.

“The presence of influencers in people’s daily lives – adds Gianluca Perrelli, CEO of Buzzoole is now well established. Indeed, in recent years, we have witnessed their evolution, thanks in part to their ability to create more and more empathy and affinity with their communities, establishing a trusting relationship with people. Two interesting trends also emerged from the analysis. The first is the extraordinary growth of TikTok with 25 percent, confirming it as an increasingly strategic channel. The other is that of virtual influencers, who are playing an increasingly prominent role on par with real influencers, as well as reaching out more to Gen Z and Millennials. In fact, we are witnessing yet another paradigm shift born in the wake of innovation itself.”

Regarding channels, in fact, there is the increase of TikTok with 25% (vs. 9% in 2021), especially for entertainment at 30%. Instagram, on the other hand, again emerges as the favourite social media of 77 percent (vs. 67 percent in 2021) of respondents.

Why do you follow an influencer?

Fifty percent of respondents say they follow them first and foremost because they provide advice and are considered experts to get information from, a motivation that was cited mainly by wellness (55 percent) and cooking (56 percent) enthusiasts. 46% follow them because they introduce new products.

The analysis considers the role of influencers in the buying process as well. In particular, it emerges that for 56 percent of respondents they are mentors in explaining a product especially in the beauty and wellness sphere; for 46 percent they are trendsetters who point out news or raise awareness of a new product (fashion and lifestyle); and for 37 percent they are people who point out where and when to buy a product (again in fashion and lifestyle).

In addition, 46% of respondents made at least one purchase because they were recommended by an influencer. In detail, 30 percent consider influencers’ advice a lot/regularly, 53 percent quite a bit, and 18 percent not much/not at all. The areas in which people shop are: beauty, food and fashion.

The survey involved over 1,300 respondents, representative of Italians between the ages of 18 and 54 who surf the Web, examining the six topics of greatest interest declined by socio-demographic profiles, with a focus also on the female target.

Full research is available here (in Italian).