Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Maryland chapter.

The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has over 51 billion views so with the rise of TikTok also comes the continued rise of consumerism

TikTok is effective in reaching younger audiences with shorter attention spans because of its concise, straight-to-the-point videos. These short and snappy videos allow TikToks and influencers to gain rapid popularity. 

TikTok’s algorithm personalizes users’ feeds based on their engagement with certain types of content, keeping users entertained while mindlessly scrolling through the app for hours. 

Brands have taken advantage of these aspects of TikTok to promote their products. They can finally put a face to their otherwise faceless brand and showcase their merchandise through humor and creativity. 

TikTok influencers play a key role in persuading consumers. The interactive nature of TikTok makes fans feel like they are close with major creators, which enables them to be even more easily influenced. 

Alix Earle, a TikTok star with over 5 million followers, gets paid $30-$70K per advertisement because of her significant influence on users. Earle is known for her relatable personality, “get ready with me” videos and beauty and fashion sense. TikTok users idolize her and her routine sparking a trend of people buying products because “Alix Earlehas it.” 

TikTok makes it even easier for people to find these products because of storefronts that are linked in users’ bios. Javier Irigoyen, TikTok’s head of product for shopping, told The New York Times that “TikTok is a place where users and brands can connect directly, and where an end-to-end shopping experience can happen organically.”  

Recently, I was at Sephora in search of a tanning moisturizer called Drunk Elephant Sunshine Drops that influencers, including Earle, were raving about. When I found out that they were sold out in stores and online I almost panicked but thankfully remembered that there was also a viral dupe for these drops with the same bronzing effect: the L’oreal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer. 

However, this product was also sold out online and in all stores within a 10-mile radius! That was when I realized how influential TikTok is. People want more material items so that they can be like their favorite influencers, so viral products are selling out rapidly. 

TikTok hauls also contribute to increasing consumerism. These videos consist of the creator showing off their recent purchases. They often claim that these items are “necessities,” leading people to purchase more than they need. This issue creates a cycle of influencers continuing buying items to acquire views and viewers continuing to purchase these items. 

TikTok pressures teens to keep up with popular trends. Have you ever wondered why it seems like today’s middle schoolers are skipping the “awkward stage” us college students had to go through? Information about what is fashionable is being ingrained into these kids through TikTok. They feel the constant need to keep up with trends to be socially accepted. 

According to TikTok statistics, users spend 14% more when they find a product through TikTok, and 37% of users saw something on the app and immediately bought it. They are also more likely to recommend the product to friends or family or create a post about the product. 

Why is this an issue? For one, overconsumption is detrimental to our environment. Fast fashion takes an immense amount of water to create the clothes and it increases global carbon emissions. Buying all these products also means that more plastic and packaging is wasted every day. Once the products themselves are not trendy anymore they also go to waste. 

Consumerism also leads people to define others based on their material possessions rather than their actions or character. People are never satisfied. They want to buy more and more in an attempt to achieve impossible beauty standards or gain social status. 

I know the “next big thing” might seem enticing to purchase, but take a second to think if you really need it. Are these products really worth emptying your pockets or harming the environment for? Influencers are being paid to advertise, making the advertisements generally biased, like commercials on television. Unfortunately, the lines are more blurry on social media, because users feel a perceived closer relationship with their favorite creators. 

Julie Kalis

Maryland '26

My name is Julie Kalis and I am a freshman at UMD. I am from Needham, Massachusetts and aside from writing I enjoy playing tennis, skiing, and spending time with friends and family.