The impact of influencer marketing and celebrity endorsements on consumer behaviour within the South African context

Marlini (Nair) Moodley, Tsepo Machela

Volume 18 | Issue 2 pp. 73-92


The rise of the internet has led to the advent of social media platforms as a new marketing strategy by organisations. Social media has transformed the way in which marketing was traditionally done as it brought with it a new trend of “Social Media Influencers” (SMIs). These SMIs are people who are capable of using their online proficiency to generate a dedicated large and loyal following of people who are enthralled by their posts, trends and videos pertaining to certain topics. This new marketing phenomenon has altered the mind-sets of traditional marketers. Celebrity endorsements by SMIs enable these influencers to create value for themselves as well as for the brands they endorse. The aim of this paper was to investigate the impact of influencers on consumer behaviour within the South African (SA) market. This study unpacked whether SMIs and celebrity endorsements create value in SA’s retail environment. The study was conducted using secondary data gathered from various journals, online articles and books. The findings show how social media provides influencers with a platform to influence and facilitate consumer decision-making. Conclusions drawn from the study indicate that (1) social media is an influential, cost-effective platform that organisations and brands ought to use as an advertising strategy in this technological era and (2) influencers play a significant role in the consumer buying process and the product life-cycle. A conceptual framework for retailers has been proposed to understand the role of SMIs in the current marketing arena. The study concludes by suggesting that organisations that do not take into account social media and its positive traits as an advertising space will be pushed out of the market.

Keywords: Marketing; Influencers; Social Media Influencers (SMIs), Consumer Buying Process, Consumer behaviour; buying decisions; Influencer Marketing in South Africa

Back to Volume 18 issue 2

This article may be downloaded from the following locations:



Abe, I.I and Mugobo. V.V. 2021. Changes in Retail Consumer Behaviour in South Africa during COVID-19: Permanent or Temporary. The Retail and Marketing Review, 17 (2), pp. 84-91.

Acar, O. A., and Puntoni, S. 2016. Customer Empowerment in the Digital Age. Journal of Advertising Research, pp. 4-8.

Ágústsson, P.Á., 2019. The positive and negative effects of influencer marketing on Consumers (Doctoral dissertation, Master’s Thesis, Copenhagen Business School]. CBS. https://research. cbs. dk/en/studentProjects/the-positive-and-negative-effects-of-influencermarketing-on-cons).

Ailawadi, K.L., 2021. Commentary: omnichannel from a manufacturer’s perspective. Journal of Marketing85(1), pp.121-125.

Akbarpour, S., 2018. Understanding The Difference Between Influence Marketing And Influencer Marketing. [Online]  Available at:  [Accessed 15 January 2022].

Akram, U., Junaid, M., Zafar, A.U., Li, Z. and Fan, M., 2021. Online purchase intention in Chinese social commerce platforms: Being emotional or rational?. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services63, p.102669.

Akram, S., 2018. Drivers and Barriers to Online Shopping in a Newly Digitalized Society. TEM Journal, 7(1), pp. 118-127.

Ali, B.J. and Anwar, G., 2021. Marketing Strategy: Pricing strategies and its influence on consumer purchasing decision. Ali, BJ, and Anwar, G. (2021). Marketing Strategy: Pricing strategies and its influence on consumer purchasing decision. International journal of Rural Development, Environment and Health Research5(2), pp. 26-39.

Almana, A. and Mirza, A., 2013. The Impact of Electronic Word of Mouth on Consumers’ Purchasing Decisions. International Journal of Computer Applications, 82(9), pp. 23-31.

Alt, M. A., and Agárdi, I. 2022. Do digital natives use mobile payment differently than digital immigrants? A comparative study between generation X and Z. Springer, 1-28. Retrieved July 21, 2022, from [Accessed 1 September 2022].

Audrezet, A., De Kerviler, G. and Moulard, J.G., 2018. Authenticity under threat: When social W2media influencers need to go beyond self-presentation. Journal of Business Research.

Bakker, D., 2018. Conceptualising influencer marketing. Journal of emerging trends in marketing and management1(1), pp.79-87.

Barysevich, A. 2020. How social media influence 71% consumer buying decisions. [Accessed 25 July, 2022].

Bellini, S., Cardinali, M. G. and Ziliani, C. 2011. Building customer loyalty in retailing: not all levers are created equal. The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 21 (5): pp. 461-481.

Berman, B., Evans, J.R. and Chatterjee, P., 2018. Retail management–A strategic approach. 13th eds.

Bi, J.W., Liu, Y., Fan Z.P. and Cambria, E. 2019. Modelling customer satisfaction from online reviews using ensemble neural network and effect-based Kano model, International Journal of Production Research, 57:22, pp. 7068-7088

Blight, M. G., Ruppel, E. K., and Schoenbauer, K. V. 2017. Sense of community on Twitter and Instagram: Exploring the roles of motives and parasocial relationships. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 20(5), pp. 314-319.

Blythe, J. 2014. Principles and practice of marketing. London: Sage.

Bocock, R., 2009. KEY IDEAS: CONSUMPTION. electronic ed. New York: Taylor and Francis e-Library.

Bokunewicz, J.F. and Shulman, J. 2017. “Influencer identification in Twitter networks of destination marketing organizations”, Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 205-219.

Broadbent, M., 2020. The Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act, and the New Competition Tool.

Brown, D. and Fiorella, S. 2013.Influence Marketing-How to Create, Manage, and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. Que Publishing, USA.

Cant, M.C. and Wiid, J.A., 2016. The use of traditional marketing tools by SMEs in an emerging economy: a South African perspective. Problems and perspectives in management, (14, Iss. 1), pp.64-70.

Chen, Kai-Jung; Yeh, Tsu-Ming; Pai, Fan-Yun; and Der-Fa. 2018. “Integrating Refined Kano Model and QFD for Service Quality Improvement in Healthy Fast-Food Chain Restaurants.” Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 15, no. 7: p. 1310.

Chernev, A., 2019. Strategic marketing management: Theory and practice. Cerebellum Press.

Childers, C. C., L. L. Lemon, and M. G. Hoy. 2019. #Sponsored #ad: Agency perspective on influencer marketing campaigns. Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising 40, no. 3: pp. 258–74.

Chopra, A., Avhad, V. and Jaju, A.S., 2021. Influencer marketing: An exploratory study to identify antecedents of consumer behavior of millennial. Business Perspectives and Research9(1), pp.77-91

Connolly, B., 2017. Why consumers follow, listen to, and trust influencers. Olapic.

Djafarova, E. and Rushworth, C. 2017. Exploring the credibility of online celebrities’ Instagram profiles in influencing the purchase decisions of young female users. Computers in Human Behavior, 68: pp. 1-7.

Dehghan, F. and Haghighi, A. 2015. E-money regulation for consumer protection. International Journal of Law and Management, 57 (6): pp. 610-620.

Dewey, C. 2014. Inside the world of the “instafamous”. Washington Post.

Dwivedi, Y. K., Ismagilova, E., Hughes, L. D., Carlson, J., Filieri, R., Jacobson, J., and Wang, Y. 2020. Setting the future of digital and social media marketing research: Perspectives and research propositions. International Journal of Information Management, 59(2021).

Eckstein, M. 2021. Social Media Engagement: Why it Matters and How to Do it Well. Retrieved from [Accessed 2 September 2022].

Erasmus, A.C., Donoghue, S. and Dobbelstein, T. 2022. A pursuit to identify brick-and-mortar and online consumer decision-making styles that are globally relevant. The Retail and Marketing Review18(1), pp.1-24. 

Escalas, J. E., and Bettman, J. R. 2017. Connecting with Celebrities: How Consumers Appropriate Celebrity Meanings for a Sense of Belonging. Journal of Advertising, 46(2), pp. 297–308.

Eslami, S.P., Ghasemaghaei, M. and Hassanein, K., 2022. Understanding consumer engagement in social media: The role of product lifecycle. Decision Support Systems162, p.113707.

Explosive Social. 2021. What is Influencer Marketing? Retrieved July 21, 2022, from

Florenthal, B. 2019. “Young consumers’ motivational drivers of brand engagement behavior on social media sites: A synthesized UandG and TAM framework”, Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 351-391

Geppert , G., 2020. How Influence Marketing Differs from Celebrity Endorsement. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 15 January 2022].

George, R. 2021. Digital Commerce Acceleration Increased online purchases present new opportunities for digital commerce players. Retrieved from Digital Commerce Acceleration – Deloitte: chromeextension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/ [Accessed 25 September 2022].

Goga, S., and Paelo, A. 2019. Strategies for adapting to Online Entry: The Case of Retailers in South Africa. Johannesburg: CCRED.

Grewal, D., Bart, Y., Spann, M. and Zubcsek, P. P. 2016. Mobile advertising: a framework and research agenda. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 34 (Supplement C): pp. 3-14.

Geyser, W. 2022. What is Influencer Marketing? – The Ultimate Guide for 2022. [Accessed 25 July, 2022].

Haber, N., Fargnoli, M., and Sakao, T. 2020. Integrating QFD for product-service systems with the Kano model and fuzzy AHP, Total Quality Management and Business Excellence, 31:9-10, pp. 929-954.

Harahap, D. A. and Amanah, D., 2018. Online Purchasing Decisions of College Students in Indonesia. International Journal of Latest Engineering Research and Applications, 3(10), pp. 05-15.

Hashaw. 2019. The Effect of Celebrities in Advertisements. [Accessed 25 July, 2022].

Hughes, C., Swaminathan, V., and Brooks, G. 2019. Driving Brand Engagement Through Online Social Influencers: An Empirical Investigation of Sponsored Blogging Campaigns. Journal of Marketing, 83(5), pp. 78–96.

Influencer Marketing, 2020. What is an Influencer?. [Online] Available at: [15 January 2022].

Jarrar, Y., Awobamise, A. O., and Aderibigbe, A. A. 2020. Effectiveness of Influencer Marketing vs Social Media Sponsored Advertising. Utopía y praxis latinoamericana: revista internacional de filosofía iberoamericana y teoría, 12, pp. 40-54.

Jesse, H. 2021. The Kano model: how to wow your customers. Retrieved September 13, 2022,,their%20customers%20much%20more%20satisfied.[Accessed 20 July 2022].

Jin, S.V. and Ryu, E. 2019. “Instagram fashionistas, luxury visual image strategies and vanity”, Journal of Product and Brand Management, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 355-368. 

Jin, S.V., Muqaddam, A. and Ryu, E. 2019. “Instafamous and social media influencer marketing”, Marketing Intelligence and Planning, Vol. 37 No. 5, pp. 567-579. [Accesses 25 september 2022]

Jin, S.V. and Muqaddam, A., 2019. Product placement 2.0:“Do brands need influencers, or do influencers need brands?”. Journal of Brand Management26(5), pp.522-537.

Kotler, P. and Keller, K. L. 2016. Marketing management. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.

Kotler, P., Keller, K.L., Brady, M., Goodman, M. and Hansen, T., 2019. Marketing management (4th European ed.). Harlow: Pearson.

Kadekova, Z. and Holienčinova, M. 2018. Influencer marketing as a modern phenomenon creating a new frontier of virtual opportunities. Communication Today, 9 (2)

Litterio, A.M., Nantes, E.A., Larrosa, J.M. and Gómez, L.J. 2017. “Marketing and social networks: a criterion for detecting opinion leaders”, European Journal of Management and Business Economics, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 347-366.

Liu, J., and Wilson, J. 2009. ‘The Pinocchio Effect’ – when managing the brand creation process, across cultures. TMC Academic Journal, 4(1), 45-58.

Lorenzo-Romero, Carlota; Alarcón-del-Amo, María-del-Carmen, Constantinides and Efthymios, 2014. Determinants of Use of Social Media Tools in Retailing Sector. Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research, 9(1), pp. 44-55.

Marketing Influencer hub, 2019. 5 Influencer Marketing Agencies Based in South Africa You Should Check Out. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 15 January 2022].

Masinga, L., 2019. Social media influencer platform set to launch in SA. [Online]Available at: [Accessed 15 January 2022].

Masuda, H., Han, S.H. and Lee, J., 2022. Impacts of influencer attributes on purchase intentions in social media influencer marketing: Mediating roles of characterizations. Technological Forecasting and Social Change174, p.121246.

Materla. T., Cudney, E.A. and Antony, J. 2019. The application of Kano model in the healthcare industry: a systematic literature review, Total Quality Management and Business Excellence, 30:5-6, pp. 660-681

McFarlane, A. and Samsioe, E. 2020. “#50+ fashion Instagram influencers: cognitive age and aesthetic digital labours”, Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management.

McKay, B. 2017. The Six Most Effective Social Media Metrics To Understand Your Campaign’s Success, from [Accessed July 22, 2022].

MediaKix. 2019. Marketing To Teens? Influencers May Be Your Best “Only” Shot. [Accessed 15 January 2022].

Melero, I., Sese, F.J. and Verhoef, P.C., 2016. Recasting the customer experience in today’s omni-channel environment. Universia Business Review, (50), pp.18-37.

Mohamed, R., Reddy, K. and Naidoo, P.M., 2017. The implications of consumer protection legislation for hotels and guests in South Africa. Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies9(2 (J)), pp.33-45.

Molelekeng, B. V., and Dondolo, H. B. 2021. Effect of celebrity endorsers’ attributes on purchase intentions in South Africa. Innovative Marketing, 17(4), pp. 111-119.

Moodley, M. 2019. Investigating The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and promotional strategies of retail businesses in Durban. PhD Marketing thesis, Department of Marketing and Retail, Durban University of Technology.

Moodley, P and Buthelezi, M. and Cloete, J. 2021. Consumer perception towards online shopping behaviour in South Africa. The Retail and Marketing Review, 17. pp. 108-118.

mOOnshot digital. 2022. How Luxury Brands Should Approach Influencer Marketing. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from

Monzon, L. 2022). The Challenges in Getting Internet Access to All South Africans. [Accessed 15 July 2022]

Mostafa, K., Batool, R. and Parvaneh, P., 2013. Identify and Ranking the Factors affecting Customer satisfaction in the carpet Industry (Case Study: Sahand Carpet Co.). Research Journal of Management Sciences, 2(6), pp. 1-8.

Mugobo, V. V. and Malunga, P. 2015. Consumer protection in South Africa: challenges and opportunities for furniture retailers in Cape Town, South Africa. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 6 (1): 224-232.

Müller, L., Mattke, J. and Maier, C., 2018. # Sponsored# ad: exploring the effect of influencer marketing on purchase intention.Twenty-fourth Americas Conference on Information Systems, New Orleans.

Ndlela, T., and Chuchu, T. 2016. Celebrity Endorsement Advertising: Brand Awareness, Brand Recall, Brand Loyalty as Antecedence of . Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies , pp. 79-90.

Newberry, C., 2019. The Complete Guide to Influencer Marketing. Recuperado de: https://blog. hootsuite. com/influencer-marketing/.[Accessed 15 January 2022].

Nizri, E. 2022. Macro-Influencers Vs. Micro-Influencers: The Great Social Media Debate. [Accessed 15 July 2022].

Nyamakanga, N. F., Ford, M., and Viljoen, K. 2019. Local and international celebrity endorsers’ credibility and consumer purchase intentions. Acta Commercii .

O’Brien, C. 2019. Ways Digital Has Changed Business Forever. [Accessed 20 July 2022].

Ozturk, A. B., and Hancer, M. 2022. Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategies for Tourism and Hospitality Organizations. Wolvercote, Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers Limited.

Padhi, A., 2021. Impact of YouTube influencers on consumer buying behaviour of the gadgets. European Journal of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, 8 (2), pp.1-10.

Pahwa, A. 2021. ATL, BTL, and TTL Marketing – Definition, Examples, and Difference. Retrieved July 15, 2022, from

Patel, N. 2015. The Psychology Of Clicking “Buy Now”. Retrieved September 13, 2020, [Accessed 15 July 2022].

Pick, M. 2020. “Psychological ownership in social media influencer marketing”, European Business Review, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. [Accessed 15 July 2022].

Pink, D. (2022). How Brand Recall Works: What Is Brand Recall? [Accessed 25 July 2022].

Prasad, S., 2015. Kano Model of Customer Satisfaction and its Importance. [Online]Available at: [Accessed 15 January 2022].

Preko, A., Doe, F. and Dadzie, S.A. 2019. “The future of youth tourism in Ghana: motives, satisfaction and behavioural intentions”, Journal of Tourism Futures, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 5-21.

Product Lead. 2019. Micro-Influencers vs. Macro-Influencers vs. Celebrities – What’s the Difference? [Accessed 21 July 2022].

Rahman, Islam, Esha, Sultana and Chakravorty, 2018. Consumer buying behavior towards online shopping: An empirical study on Dhaka city, Bangladesh. Cogent Business and Management, 5(1), pp. 1-22.

Rosario, A. B., and De Valck, K. 2020. Electronic Word of Mouth: What Marketers Need to Know.,consumers’%20decision%2Dmaking%20process.[Accessed 25 July 2022].

Rosen, S., 2019. World’s digital best in reach for SA brands in 2020. [Online]Available at: [Accessed 15 January 2022].

Rudansky-Kloppers, S., 2014. Investigating Factors Influencing Customer Online Buying Satisfaction In Gauteng, South Africa. International Business and Economics Research Journal, 13(5), pp. 1187-1198.

Sands, S., Campbell, C.L., Plangger, K. and Ferraro, C., 2022. Unreal influence: leveraging AI in influencer marketing. European Journal of Marketing.

Sanz-Blas, S., Buzova, D. and Miquel-Romero, M.J., 2019. From Instagram overuse to instastress and emotional fatigue: the mediation of addiction. Spanish Journal of Marketing-ESIC.

Singh, K., 2021. Influencer Marketing from a Consumer Perspective: How Attitude, Trust, and Word of Mouth Affect Buying Behavior. European Integration Studies, (15), pp.231-241.

Sraders, A. 2021. What Is the Product Life Cycle? Stages and Examples. Retrieved September 09 , 2022, from

Temperley, J. and Tangen, D., 2006. The Pinocchio factor in consumer attitudes towards celebrity endorsement: Celebrity endorsement, the Reebok brand, and an examination of a recent campaign. Innovative Marketing2(3), pp. 97-111.

Terblanché, N. S. 2013. Retail management: a South African perspective. Cape Town: Oxford University Press, Southern Africa.

Thulo, L., 2019. Influencer Marketing is Here to Stay – Opportunities for Brands in this Growing Market. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 15 January 2022].

Tilahun, R. 2017. Influencer Marketing: How Brands Can Win Social Media Using Influencers? [Accessed 25 July 2022].

Tokmak, G., 2019. A conceptual view on the Diderot effect and Zeigarnik effect in consumption. Turkish Journal of Marketing4(1), pp.42-61.

van Eeden, I. 2021. Digital Commerce Acceleration. South Africa : Delloitte.

Van Scheers, L. and Makhitha, M. K., 2016. Are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) planning for strategic marketing in South Africa?. Foundations of Management, 8(1), pp. 243-250.

Verhoef, P. C., Kannan, P. and Inman, J. J. 2016. From multi-channel retailing to omni-channel retailing: introduction to the special issue on multi-channel retailing. Journal of retailing, 91 (2): pp. 174-181.

Watling, J., McCabe, J., and Seedat, Y. 2019. RETHINKING THE ECOMMERCE OPPORTUNITY IN SOUTH AFRICA: How retailers can pivot to digital customers. South Africa: Accenture.

Woodroof, P.J., Howie, K.M., Syrdal, H.A. and VanMeter, R. 2020. “What’s done in the dark will be brought to the light: effects of influencer transparency on product efficacy and purchase intentions”, Journal of Product and Brand Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

WordStream. 2020. Social Media Marketing for Businesses. [Accessed 25 July 2022].

Young, M. D. 2018. Go for the Win-Win—Ask the Right Questions to Manage Your Influencers’ Full Life Cycle. [Accessed 25 July 2022].

Zerman, S. 2022. Definition and functionality of social media . In A. B. Ozturk, and M. Hancer, Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategies for Tourism and Hospitality Organizations. Wolvercote, Oxford : Good Fellow Publishers.

Zhao, Z., Wang, J., Sun, H., Liu, Y., Fan, Z., and Xuan, F. 2019. What factors influence online product sales? Online reviews, review system curation, online promotional marketing and seller guarantees analysis. IEEE Access, 99(1). pp. 3920-3931.

Back to Volume 18 issue 2