Modern-day socialization agents

The connection between social media influencers, materialism, and purchase intentions of Finnish young people



materialism, purchase intention, social media influencer, adolescents, consumer socialization


This paper investigates how following social media influencers is associated with Finnish adolescents’ materialistic attitudes and purchase intentions. Although the interlinkages between social media, materialism, and purchase intentions have been presented in previous studies, little is known about how following social media influencers is connected to their followers’ materialistic values and purchase intentions. Cultivation theory and consumer socialization theory were applied to understand the cultivation process in young people’s materialism and the antecedents of their purchase intentions. Finnish participants (n = 800), aged 15-19 were interviewed by phone. The sample was based on a nationally representative sample by age (by one year), gender, and area of residence. Regression analysis was used as our statistical model. Frequent following of Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok influencers was positively related to materialism. Active followers of YouTubers had higher purchase intentions, but they were no more materialistic than their peers. This is one of the earliest studies, which has underlined the role of different influencers as disseminators of materialistic values, and measured the influence capability of an individual influencer on the followers’ purchase intentions.

Author Biographies

Jesse Tuominen, University of Jyväskylä

Jesse Tuominen is a Doctoral Student of Sociology at the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä. His research interests include consumer behavior, sociology, social psychology, and social media.

Eero Rantala, University of Jyväskylä

Eero Rantala is a Project Researcher at the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä. His research interests include quantitative research methods and statistics.

Hanna Reinikainen, University of Jyväskylä

Hanna Reinikainen, MA, (Communication) is a doctoral student in Corporate Communication at the Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics. Her Ph.D. dissertation focuses on social media influencers and sponsored content.

Terhi-Anna Wilska, University of Jyväskylä

Terhi-Anna Wilska is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Jyväskylä. Her interests include consumption, consumer society, ICT, digitalization, young people, well-being, and sustainability.


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