You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

YouTuber PewDiePie Is More Liked Than LeBron James Among Gen Z Males, Study Finds

PewDiePie, the popular and controversial YouTube creator, has the same name recognition as NBA superstar LeBron James among young American males — but Pewds has a higher favorability rating than King James and other celebrities, according to a new study.

The findings come from research firm Morning Consult, which surveyed Gen Z and millennial consumers to gauge sentiment toward influencers. The study found 88% of those surveyed said it’s important for influencers to genuinely care about their interests, which “inspiration,” “aspiration” and “voyeurism” among the top reasons young Americans follow influencers.

One of the study’s key findings: For Gen Z, major influencers are as well-known and well-liked as mainstream celebrities — and in some cases, even more so. PewDiePie and Lebron James have the same level of name recognition (95%) among Gen Z males, but more of them (62%) have a favorable view of PewDiePie than James (55%).

Among Gen Z females, meanwhile, Beyoncé and Zendaya had the highest favorability and name-recognition ratings, although YouTuber Shane Dawson scored higher than Serena Williams or Jennifer Aniston.

The study is based on more than 2,000 survey interviews with Americans between 13-38. Morning Consult defines Gen Z as those aged 13-22 and millennials as those 23-38.

Per the study, the most widely recognized digital influencer among young Americans is PewDiePie — the YouTube handle of Felix Kjellberg, the gamer/comedian with 102 million followers on the platform who has generated controversy in the past including over anti-Semitic jokes and his use of racial slurs.

When survey participants were asked to name the top three influencers that came to mind, PewDiePie came in first, followed by beauty and makeup YouTuber Jeffree Starr, Shane Dawson, gamer Markiplier and Kylie Jenner.

Here’s a sampling of the survey results among the Gen Z cohort:

Source: Morning Consult, “The Influencer Report” (November 2019)

The Morning Consult study found that young Americans trust digital influencers more than celebrities as brand spokespeople: On average Gen Z consumers trust influencers as spokespeople eight percentage points higher than celebrities. About 72% of all Gen Z and millennials follow influencers, and teenagers are more likely to follow many. What’s more, 54% of those surveyed say they would become an influencer if given the opportunity.

The study also found social media heavily influences young Americans’ buying behavior: 88% of Gen Z and millennials said they learn about products they’re interested in buying on social media, while 56% said they’ve purchased something after seeing a post from someone they know and 50% say social media is where they most often learn about new products to buy.

As far as platforms, among young American males, YouTube is the most popular for following influencers — but for women, it’s Instagram. About 43% of Gen Z females and 40% of millennial women prefer Instagram, compared with 53% of Gen Z men and 41% of millennial men who said their favorite platform is YouTube.

More teens 13-16 use TikTok than Facebook, but 17-38-year-olds are much less likely to use TikTok (or Twitch) than any other platform. While Twitch and TikTok are gaining popularity among younger teenagers, they aren’t yet a preferred source for following influencers, according to the study.

Source: Morning Consult, “The Influencer Report” (November 2019)

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Disney Kevin Mayer Recode Media

    Disney Streaming Boss Kevin Mayer: App Architecture to Blame for Disney Plus Stumbles

    No, it wasn’t Amazon’s fault that Disney Plus struggled following its launch last week: Disney direct-to-consumer chairman Kevin Mayer told the audience of Recode’s Code Media conference in Los Angeles Tuesday that there really wasn’t anyone to blame but Disney’s own technology. “It had we to do with the way we architected the app,” Mayer [...]

  • Disney-Plus-Logo

    Disney Plus Customer Service Still Experiencing 'High Volume' of Help Inquiries

    Disney Plus got off to a rocky start with widespread technical problems for the streaming service on launch day — and a week later, the company says it’s still seeing a high level of incoming calls from users who are having problems. Disney announced one day after the launch that more than 10 million people [...]

  • The Game Awards

    The Game Awards 2019 Nominees: 'Death Stranding,' 'Control' Lead the Field (Full List)

    The Game Awards 2019 unveiled nominations for this year’s event, led by Hideo Kojima’s epic “Death Stranding” with nine nods and Remedy/505 Games’ “Control” with eight nominations. This year’s Game of the Year nominees, in addition to “Control” and “Death Stranding,” are “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” “Resident Evil 2,” “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” and “The [...]

  • Roger Lynch Code Media

    Conde Nast CEO Roger Lynch: 'The Jury Is Out' on Apple News Plus

    Conde Nast CEO Roger Lynch told the audience of Recode’s Code Media conference that he hadn’t made up his mind yet about Apple’s news subscription service. “I think the jury is out,” Lynch said, adding that he had inherited Conde Nast’s deal with Apple from his predecessor. “I hope Apple News Plus is wildly successful,” [...]

  • Diego Winburn - Telemundo Snapchat

    Telemundo Launches First Snapchat Show, 'Diego Street Magic'

    NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, looking to tap into Snapchat’s youth-skewing user base, launched its first exclusive show on Snapchat. Telemundo’s 10-episode “Diego Street Magic” features Mexican-American magician Diego Winburn performing magic tricks and illusions on the streets of New York City. After premiering Nov. 19, new episodes will be available Tuesdays and Thursdays through mid-December on [...]

  • Disney Plus user interface home screen

    Disney Plus Is Not Hampering Netflix Yet, Analysts Say -- But It's Only Been a Week

    One week after the launch of Disney Plus, Wall Street analysts are scouring tea leaves for signs of how the Mouse House’s streaming service is faring — and whether it’s taken a bite out of Netflix. Disney Plus’ launch in the first week had “little to no impact” on Netflix usage trends, which is “reassuring [...]

  • Ross Levinsohn

    Maven Media Bosses Stumble Explaining Their Plans for Sports Illustrated

    Ross Levinsohn’s reintroduction into the spotlight of the media world was off to a rocky start. Appearing at Recode’s Code Media conference Monday afternoon alongside his business partner James Heckman, Levinsohn was given a chance to address the elephant in the room right out of the gate, with journalist Peter Kafka bringing up allegations of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content