To buy or not to buy? The role of influencer marketing in the development of materialistic mindsets and intentions. Influencer characteristics, and the role of materialism in following influencer recommendations.

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Social media has been widely accepted as an effective marketing channel, with social media influencers standing at the center of this phenomenon. This study adds to the growing body of literature on the fairly new phenomenon of influencer marketing. Influencers can be found in all shapes and forms, which makes it a dynamic and interesting concept to research. This research examines how and whether different characteristics of social media influencers influence on the materialistic orientation of followers, while also aiming to find the relationship between materialism and the tendency to follow influencer recommendations. A survey evaluating a maximum of three influencers has been distributed and based on the answers of 451 respondents a regression analysis is conducted. This research showed that a higher number of followers appeared to stimulate a heightened materialistic orientation in followers, while the gender and type of content created by the social media influencer did not alter the materialism of followers. The materialism subsequently positively influenced the tendency to follow SMI recommendations. While hedonic content created by influencers directly influenced the tendency to follow recommendations made by influencers positively, the number of followers of an influencer did not have this significant effect. This knowledge offers an inventory perspective upon the matter and broadens the theoretical understanding of influencer marketing, while also offering practical insights.
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