Did TikTok Make You Buy it?

#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt: How TikTok Is Changing the Way We Shop

Key Takeaways

  • Gen Zers spend an average of eight hours on TikTok weekly – that’s over 400 hours annually.
  • Americans spend more money on TikTok annually than any other social media platform.
  • 88% feel more connected to brands they discovered on TikTok than other brands. Once TikTok Shop is introduced, 90% plan to shop on TikTok more often.
  • The top three categories of products purchased on TikTok are beauty, household items, and toys.
  • 95% said that their last #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt purchase was worth the hype.

TikTok’s Influence on Consumers

Social media has changed how we interact not only with each other, but also with brands and celebrities. It has even changed who is considered a celebrity, with “influencers” flooding the A-lists and becoming high-profile brand ambassadors. TikTok, the hottest social media platform, has an especially unique way of connecting brands, celebrities, and influencers with consumers – so much so that it’s led to the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, which has over 30 billion views.

To find out what makes TikTok such a successful shopping platform, we surveyed 1,000 shoppers about their purchasing behaviors on social media and their perceptions of the anticipated launch of TikTok Shop. How is TikTok changing the shopping game, and what are we buying as a result?

Brands and Buyers Connected on an Infinite Loop

Once social media platforms embraced monetization, brands flooded consumers’ feeds with posts and ads urging users to buy their products. While users quickly scroll past most ads, something about TikTok encourages users to stop scrolling and start engaging with brands. How does TikTok inspire brand engagement, and how does it affect user spending?

TikTok purchases stem from the connections brands make with their customers. Most brands do this by stripping back the polished images put forth in other media marketing and showing realistic behind-the-scenes content. Brands also engage in TikTok trends and collaborate with popular influencers to further connect with customers. And it works: 88% of those we surveyed felt more connected to brands they discovered on TikTok than those they found elsewhere.

The down-to-earth nature of TikTok also increases consumers’ trust. Following brands or celebrities on TikTok is less likely to have users comparing their lives to the best version of someone else’s. Instead, it brings brands and celebrities into the everyday. Cringey dance challenges are far easier to relate to than filtered photos of five-star island vacations. As a result, consumers believed TikTok influencers were 8% more trustworthy than Instagram influencers.

When consumers feel more connected to a brand and trust its ambassadors, they’re more likely to buy the brand’s products. However, when consumers engage with brands on TikTok, that relationship doesn’t end at the purchase stage. TikTok has led consumers to follow the brands (27%) and the influencers who promote them (27%). It has also inspired 25% of them to post a review about a product they purchased. This consistent engagement leads consumers to make more purchases and further engage with the brand on an infinite shopping loop.

In traditional marketing, a brand uses websites, pop-up ads, email campaigns, and the like to attract the buyer’s attention and “funnel” them through six phases to purchase: awareness, interest, consideration, intent, evaluation, and purchase. If they want repeat buyers, they start from the beginning with a new funnel, and so on.

In contrast, TikTok’s marketing model is an infinite figure-eight, using influencers, collaborations, challenges, and TikTok trends to engage the buyer consistently. This way, the buyer discovers the brand through active engagement rather than passive ads, leading them directly from consideration to purchase, then keeps them engaged through review and continued participation.

This continuous engagement means there is no need to start over and re-attract the buyer’s attention. TikTok automatically leads users to new discoveries, motivating more purchases and increasing participation over and over on an infinite loop, turning users into loyal consumers and ambassadors for the brand.

With consumers already invested in TikTok shopping, brands and buyers alike are eager for the long-awaited TikTok Shop to officially open for business. When asked about how they expect to use it, 43% of consumers said they would buy from TikTok Shop more often than Amazon, and 32% will make more purchases on TikTok Shop than in brick-and-mortar stores.

However, only 4% of buyers said they intentionally went to TikTok for a specific product. It might not come as a surprise, but this finding indicates that the platform is more a haven for impulse buying than a destination for those with a shopping list in mind. But with TikTok Shop streamlining the purchase process, shopping realities could far exceed every buyer’s expectations.

TikTok’s Trending Products

As users indulge their impulses on TikTok, thousands of brands are vying for their business. Which brands and industries find the most success on TikTok? And which unique products are finding a market not offered through traditional shopping experiences?

When it comes to TikTok sales, the beauty industry reigns supreme. Beauty products accounted for 25% of the most viewed videos on TikTok. These ranged from makeup to razors to body care products – even a breast mask.

Though it may seem concerning that something so superficial is so popular on TikTok, beauty trends on social media aren’t what they used to be. A far cry from glossy TV commercials and Photoshopped magazine ads, social media allows anyone and everyone to participate. This new approach could be what draws TikTokers to the topic; users can find posts made by people who look like them using products that will actually work for them. They can also watch the beauty process in action, giving them a feel for the products before pressing that “buy now” button.

The second most popular product category on TikTok was household items, which accounted for 22% of the most popular videos. The top household brands with the most views on TikTok produced kitchen gadgets, cleaning materials, and home fragrances (even though there’s no way to smell them through the app – yet.)

The third most popular #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt category was toys, accounting for 12% of views. Disney was especially popular, with hit products like collectible Disney Doorables. Harry Potter products were also top sellers, particularly Harry Potter Magical Capsules by YuMe, which even sold out as a result. The toy market on TikTok will likely continue growing as younger generations flock to the platform, abandoning older social media outlets in favor of the short video format.

But the single most popular product on TikTok was in the electronics category: My Screen Swiper, with over 42 million views. The simple screen cleaner is the perfect example of a product that would likely get lost among ordinary shopping searches. Instead, the video format of TikTok placed it in the hands of trusted influencers, sending sales soaring.


In a world connected by social media, TikTok is a standout in developing the brand and buyer relationship. Brands have embraced the rough-around-the-edges vibe of TikTok, welcoming users to peek behind the curtain and join the backstage operations of the company. Celebrities (influencers included) bring users into their homes, sharing their everyday lives while also sharing their brand partners’ wares.

With bite-sized video clips, TikTok organically connects brands and customers, building trust and motivating purchases. As TikTok Shop prepares to open, the purchasing process will become even easier, so hold onto your bank account – TikTok’s about to make you buy some things!


We surveyed 1,000 individuals to explore their social media purchasing behaviors and their perceptions of TikTok Shop. We also collected the top 150 videos (based on views) from TikTok that contained #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt as a hashtag. The videos were collected on Nov. 1, 2022.

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The CouponFollow content team produces content about top savings hacks, frugal tips, and in-depth research about the coupon industry.