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Shein’s the No. 2 Brand for Instagram Influencers. Here’s the Titan They Can’t Stop Buzzing About.

Anyone who follows influencers on Instagram has probably seen Zara and the other big fast-fashion brands swarming their feed in the past year.

Overall, Zara was mentioned by 66,400 Instagram influencers in 2022, according to data from Statista, making the Inditex-owned fast-fashion giant the No. 1 fashion brand on the social network.

Instagram itself received the most mentions from influencers on the social media platform in total, at 85,500 different influencers last year.

Fast fashion, despite constant criticism about textile waste, overproduction and harsh labor conditions, has embedded itself into the consumer consciousness due to its cheaper product and lightning-fast turn times.

While Gen Z consumers say they prioritize sustainability and high-quality product when they purchase apparel, their espoused values often run counter to the popularity of brands like Zara and some of its chief competitors in the space, including rising star Shein and other fast-fashion mainstays including H&M Group and Fast Retailing’s Uniqlo.

After Zara, Shein was the second-most popular brand (and third-most when counting Instagram) on the social platform, according to the survey, with 57,200 influencers mentioning the Chinese brand. Shein’s popularity has skyrocketed since the Covid-19 pandemic, with the e-tailer now tops among Google searches in 113 countries.

Another survey from 2022 highlighted that Shein got the highest score across women’s and men’s casual apparel for Gen Z consumers, according to a survey from L.E.K. Consulting, illustrating the company’s rapid rise to fame among younger audiences.

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Fast-fashion continues to dominate the Instagram influencers list, according to the Statista data, with H&M coming in third at 46,100 total influencers mentioning the company in their posts.

After fast-fashion’s top three brands comes another mainstay in the apparel and footwear space. Nike came in behind H&M at 40,500 influencers, marking it the fifth-most-mentioned brand in total and the fourth-most popular apparel/fashion brand among influencers.

Influencer marketing still has its place among the ways brands can promote themselves online and across social media platforms. According to a recent survey from Matter Communications, 81 percent of 1,000 U.S. consumers surveyed have either researched, purchased or considered purchasing a product or service after seeing friends, family or influencers post about it.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents are likely to trust a friend, family member or influencer recommendation over information coming directly from a brand. However, 39 percent of consumers say authenticity is the most important attribute when learning about a company, making it important for influencer marketing campaigns to stay focused on what the consumer is interested in. Another 25 percent prioritize easily understood material, while 13 percent feel value alignment is important.

That means celebrities should often be put on the back burner when it comes to launching these campaigns. Only 11 percent of consumers prefer celebrity influencers, a notable reduction from Matter’s 2020 Influencer Survey, where a range of 17 percent to 22 percent of consumers preferred celebrity influencers over aspirational, relatable or expert personalities.

Amazon, Target ride influencer wave

General retail still holds its place in the heart of social media influencers, with both Amazon and Target appearing in the top 10 brands on the list. The e-commerce giant was mentioned by approximately 35,000 influencers on Instagram, coming in with the seventh-highest number of mentions across all brands and businesses.

And Target came in with another 31,600 influencer mentions, an indication of the mass merchant’s popularity even among social media-savvy millennials and Gen Z consumers. Target holds the distinction of being the only brand that was not a traditional fashion/apparel brand or a tech brand to make the list of the 10 most popular brands on Instagram.

The other brands that were mentioned on the list include audio streaming platform Spotify, which came in with the sixth-most influencers with 35,700, making it the most popular brand that doesn’t sell fashion.

Two popular streaming platforms, YouTube and Netflix, rounded out the top 10 most-mentioned Instagram brands, with the former garnering mentions from 33,800 influencers in 2022, while the later brought in attention from 28,400.