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Brief Published: 23 Aug 2021

Stackla Study Finds Authentic UGC Key to Post-Covid Retail


A new study by Australian user-generated content (UGC) specialists Stackla (covering British, American and Australian consumers) reveals that 56% of shoppers are more influenced by UGC now than pre-pandemic. We review the key findings, and other brands/media concepts trading on the enduring appetite for authentic, relatable content post lockdown.

Keeping it Real

Stackla found that UGC remains instrumental in purchasing decisions, with 80% of people more likely to buy a product online if it includes photos and videos from real customers, and 58% saying they’ve left without purchasing because of a lack of reviews or photos.

The study also shows that UGC by ‘real people’, as opposed to influencers paid to feature products, is 8.7x more impactful in influencing purchasing decisions than ‘traditional’ influencer content. As an overarching sentiment, it revealed 83% of consumers are seeking ‘more authentic’ shopping experiences.

Unedited Content Championing Authenticity

This desire for authenticity is also playing out in the Gen Z preference for unedited content arising on social media platforms including photo app Dispo. Swelling in popularity, in February 2021, it was valued at $200m, and the fourth-most downloaded app on Apple’s App Store. Dispo emulates disposable cameras, offering zero editing or captioning tools and making users wait until 9am the next morning to see their snaps. For more on Dispo, see Pop Culture Pulse: Sparking Spontaneity.

The ‘Indorkable’ Brands Delivering Relatability

This lack of gloss to communicate authenticity was also discussed at the July 2021 US edition of Gen Z marketing conference YMS. Alexa Kamm, brand director for Australian haircare label Aussie, discussed “the indorkable nature of Gen Z”, referencing their preference for awkward, personality-driven, and unedited content. Aussie taps into this by forging long-term, hands-off relationships with small-scale influencers, favouring those who share unedited, realistic styling tips. See our coverage of the event here.

See also Capitalising on User-Created Content in Covid-19 E-Comm: Tone, Timing & Touchpoints for Traction.