Live From Reddit HQ at Cannes: Unveiling Our Latest Research on Search and Shifts in Consumer Purchase Behavior

Reddit HQ

Live from Reddit’s two-story HQ on the Croisette at Cannes, we today unveiled our latest research into changing search behaviors via a panel discussion with industry experts. Moderated by our very own Director of Global Insights, Rob Gaige, and featuring our Global Head of Marketing Science, Ryan Brendle, alongside peers from Brandwatch, Kraft Heinz and EMARKETER, the conversation centered on how online communities have become a go-to source for trustworthy product recommendations and advice, especially for Gen Z. The panel comes as we launch research across two special reports: The Fractured Search Journey and the End of the Hype Cycle, conducted in partnership with Brandwatch, and From Search to Research: How Search Marketers can keep up with Gen Z, conducted in partnership with Global Web Index (GWI) and Ambassco.

Image Courtesy: Reddit Inc.

(From left to right: Rob Gaige (Reddit’s Head of Global Insights at Reddit), Meaghan Nelson (Executive Director of Social Networks at Brandwatch), Jasmine Enberg (Principle Analyst, Social Media at EMARKETER), Ryan Brendle (Global Head of Marketing Science at Reddit), and Simon Au (Executive Creative Director at The Kitchen North America at Kraft Heinz)


The increase in AI, bots, and paid influencers is making it hard for people to tell what is real and what is manufactured hype. Our latest research shows that this is especially true of Gen Z, half of whom say social media platforms have fake reviews (1). Gen Z’s use of social media as a method of discovering brands has increased by 36% since 2018 (2), but there’s been a clear erosion of trust and an increase in cynicism during that time. Gen Z often feels the need to validate what they see and hear elsewhere as they don’t trust what they are able to find.

Our research found:

– Young Shoppers don’t seek out brands, brands come to them: Gen Z are 2x more likely to prefer clothing suggestions over searching (3)

– Gen Z is turning to online communities to validate what they discover on other platforms, unable to trust what comes to them: when searching for products/brands, 29% of social media users say social platforms have fake reviews, 30% say social platforms have biased reviews, and 24% say social platforms lack quality posters/commenters. For Gen Z, it’s even higher: 47%, 49%, and 36% respectively (4).

– This is leading to cynicism of the algorithm and exhaustion from the endless cycle of hype: 74% of consumers agree that algorithms can make anything go viral (5).


Unlike traditional social media where hype peaks and trends are fleeting, topics and interests on Reddit have staying power. They continue to live on via experts and passionate enthusiasts vs coming on strong and then dying out. As a result, people turn to Reddit to verify if trending products are even worth their time and money. The data shows that people have talked about brands and products on Reddit more than anywhere else online over the last six months (6), and that seeking opinions from communities is the main reason people use Reddit for product research (7). Reddit’s highly informed users, nuanced opinions, advice, and features like upvoting and downvoting drive consensus and trust. Communities organically serve up real, human validation on the best and most recommended products, which drives trust among consumers, and ultimately confident purchase decisions.

Our research found:

– On Reddit, content doesn’t have to be viral in order to be influential – Reddit community endorsements are the antidote to the hype: More people talked about brands and products on Reddit than anywhere else on the internet in the past six months. (8)

– Reddit is the #1 platform to discuss purchasing products: 51% of purchase-related conversations on the internet happen on Reddit. (9)

– Reddit is trusted: Reddit is the fourth most trusted for product research (78%), only behind family/friends (88%) at #1, Review websites (86%) at #2, and Store Employees (83%) at #3, but above Google and all other social platforms. Among Gen Z, we rise to 3rd, moving ahead of Store Employees (10).

– The #1 reason people use Reddit for product research is to seek opinions from others (11).


Reddit’s Cannes HQ is located at the Intersection of Prom. Robert Favre le Bret and Rue Buttura, and open from Monday, June 17 to Thursday, June 20, from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm (CEST) for scheduled meetings. For all Cannes Lions badge holders, we are open from Monday, June 17 – Thursday, June 20, 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM (CEST) daily as well as Friday, June 21 from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Guests are strongly encouraged to RSVP via our website here.

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