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Social Media's Influence on Gifting this Holiday Season

Recently, it has become obvious how prominent the impact of social media on the popularity of certain products has become. The sensation becomes especially evident during the holidays when gift giving draws out hoards of shoppers, armed with lists of numerous trending items to purchase for themselves or loved ones.

With the sheer quantity of content on the social networking platform, Tiktok, the trend cycle on the app is accelerated which draws out increasing consumption of viral products. This can have a positive impact such as shedding much needed light on small businesses or creators, or alerting viewers to community issues efficiently.

On the contrary, this speedy turnover of beauty, clothes, or technology fixation, can have adverse effects on the overconsumption that is already a dilemma. Customers hastily buy products simply due to the “hype”, many of whom find a replacement for these products just as quickly as they purchased them. Without a doubt, social media has a significant influence on the popularity of retail items but how does this translate to our society’s gifting season?

The 2022 holidays have seen a plethora of sought-after gifts and a few have had sales absolutely skyrocket over the past few weeks. Products like the notorious Urban Outfitters Modern Love Corset, and the so-called “BBL Jacket”, the Lululemon Define Jacket have had increased in sales. In cosmetics, many have tried to get their hands on a Rare Beauty Blush or Sol de Janeiro’s perfume mist and other miscellaneous fragrant body care items.

There are multiple circumstances that play into the “it-factor” of products, especially to the point of the brand holding an exclusive flash-sale on the viral garment, which did happen to the Urban Outfitters corset. The media and celebrities’ style also play into this phenomenon, creating modern day “it girls” like Hailey Bieber or Bella Hadid, both of whom are often seen in trendsetting streetwear or debuting flawless makeup that ends up on Tiktok a week later.

This type of casual marketing could be derived from the fact that research from GWI indicated that 45% of Gen Z believe there is too much pressure to be perfect on social media. Due to this, it makes sense that social media would adapt to a more real way of promoting products and prioritize transparency from branding and authenticity.

The emphasis on reality explains the frequency of content creators testing out products which promotes the herd mentality of “if everyone else is trying this, I should as well”. The massive impact that social media has on influencing which gifts are desirable this year is significant, and there are a multitude of factors that play into this concept and why it works.


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