TikTok ‘de-influencers’ want Gen Z to buy less — and more
At a time when consumers are inundated with so-called social media influencers peddling the latest products online, a slew of TikTok users are leveraging their platforms to tell people what not to buy instead.
The trend, called “de-influencing,” is a stark contrast to prior ones like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, when consumers were showing off products they purchased after seeing them on the social media app.
These days, TikTokers are telling their followers which products aren’t worth the money, or urging them to resist indulging in trends. Some influencers are sounding off about blushes, mascaras or other beauty and skincare items that made big promises but don’t deliver. And others are telling their followers to avoid hair stylers and water bottles TikTok itself helped popularize.
All told, clips with the hashtag #deinfluencing have racked up more than 150 million views in just a few months. It’s not clear how the trend originated, though one of the first TikTok videos came from a former employee for Ulta and Sephora, who listed frequently-returned products at the beauty stores.
Paige Pritchard, 33, said it’s refreshing to see consumers finally having this conversation. Now a spending coach who shares financial advice on TikTok, Pritchard said she chose her career path after blowing her entire $60,000 salary on clothing, beauty and hair products in the first year after she graduated from college.
At the time, Pritchard was living with her parents to help pay off her student loans. But heeding recommendations from YouTube influencers, who routinely get paid by brands to market products, she regularly went to Nordstrom or J. Crew on her lunch breaks, easily dropping $500 per visit.
“When it came time to move out, I realized that I had no money,” Pritchard said. “I could barely afford to move out of my parent’s house at the end of that year.”
She felt embarrassed and ashamed, and characterizes the moment as her “breaking point.”
Estefany Teran, 23, said she was inspired to make her “de-influencing” video after her sister-in-law told her she wanted a Stanley cup — a popular 40-ounce drinking tumbler that recently went viral on TikTok. But it was out of stock.
“I was like, ‘You can just go to TJ Maxx and get a different cup,’” Teran said.