The clock is ticking for Tiktok consumerism


Photo by Agata Dolinska

Displayed here are some of the many Tiktok viral makeup products including Rare Beauty Blush, L’Oreal Telescopic mascara, Dior Oil and the Laneige Lip Mask.

By Kalena Yee, Features Editor

From LED lights to New Balance 550s, TikTok is constantly discovering new products that will sell out in minutes. With so many creators, trends and growing businesses on the app, purchasing items because of TikTok has become more prominent than ever.

“I find myself buying things at least once a week, whether it is clothes, makeup, skincare, jewelry, etc.” WCHS junior Jessie Lin said. “TikTok has definitely increased this frequency.”

TikTok is a popular social media app that allows users to post and share short videos and has become a hub for product promotion. According to TikTok Newsroom, 41% of users instantly buy a product after seeing it on TikTok. Although users can find out about new products by exploring hashtags like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, the most common way is through TikTok’s “For You Page,” which is a personalized feed of videos the app thinks the user would like based on their past interactions with the app.

“Three-quarters of my For You Page is filled with shopping-related videos,” Lin said. “They mostly consist of shopping hauls, reviews and get ready with me videos, where people display the products they use daily.”

Types of products that become viral on TikTok can range from makeup and clothing to food and cleaning equipment. Even though trending products are different from each other, they share one thing in common: users want to buy them immediately.

“What goes on in my mind is that since the product looks good or seems to be working well for the person in the video, it must do the same for me.” WCHS junior Emily Ho said. “However, this is definitely not always the case, especially for clothes and makeup because everyone is different.”

Although not all products promoted on TikTok live up to the hype around them, TikTok has proven that it is an effective business strategy and has the power to spark curiosity about a product, regardless of the customer’s satisfaction.

“If I like the product I bought, then I am motivated to buy more things on TikTok since it worked out so well before,” Ho said. “ If I don’t like the product, then I want to try another one to see if that one is worth it. Either way, the buying cycle is endless.”

Consumption because of TikTok has significantly increased, especially with the rise of social media influencers like Alix Earle and Katie Fang. Influencers have larger following platforms and post creative content, which their content includes partnering with brands. Since influencers are seen as more relatable than celebrities, many people feel that a sense of trust is built between the influencer and their followers, which can influence their followers’ purchases.
“I think what people, including me, need to remember is that an influencer’s job is to promote products to their followers,” Lin said. “They specialize in marketing towards their target audience, making it more likely for us to buy things that we don’t need.”

With TikTok trends coming and going, and the ease of online shopping, excessive consumerism can cause a significant dent in one’s savings. In addition, it can contribute to a more pressing issue: the rise of overconsumption in society.

According to One Planet Network, an organization focused on sustainable production and consumption, increased consumption causes increased production to meet this rising demand which can harm the environment through pollution, overuse of natural resources and climate change.

Since TikTok has 1.6 billion users around the world, the number of purchases influenced by the app can add up. Consumers may be conflicted when realizing how their spending habits impact the environment.

“We need to be more mindful about our purchases,” Ho said. “People should ask themselves if they really need this particular product at this moment in time. They can also do extensive research using sources outside of TikTok to see if this is a good quality product that’s worth your money or just another mediocre product that’s trending. It will be interesting to see the future impact TikTok has on our world.”