Let’s TikTalk about viral products

Social media promotes rapid consumption rates

Did TikTok make you buy it? Viral trends on TikTok are clearing shelves of certain products at an unimaginable rate. Brands react to the attention they receive online and aggressively promote their products. 

According to research from Joy Ventures, 20% of Gen Z spends more than five hours a day on TikTok, and 40% of the worldwide consumers are in Gen Z. Companies have taken advantage of this high pool of consumers on the app. Companies are aware that Gen Z doesn’t respond to traditional ads, so they have worked with TikTok influencers through paid promotions to inspire the consumption of items in other ways. When an influencer goes through with a paid promotion, they aren’t necessarily required to be honest about the product and its effects. This type of modern advertisement inspires people to buy the product to see for themselves if it really does work in the way the video makes it seem. For example, a recent product advertised through a paid promotion, L’Oreal Telescopic Life mascara, went viral on TikTok after debates on the honesty of the influencer about the product. Arguably because of the skepticism surrounding it, the product has cleared the shelves, and people are seeing for themselves how it really works. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, video hauls showing large amounts of purchased items have become increasingly popular. These kinds of videos have led to countless clothing items going viral. TikTok users post hauls of hundreds of alarmingly cheap clothing items bought from online fast fashion stores like SHEIN. People become influenced to purchase these items at low prices, wear them a few times, and then throw them out because they have broken, or the trend has passed. These kinds of videos promote the mass consumerism of short-lived trends. Specific items, like the Aerie crossover leggings, become viral on TikTok rapidly and are soon seen everywhere but on store shelves. 

It is easy to get influenced to buy every item that goes viral on TikTok, but also important to consider how it is gaining popularity and whether or not it is essential.