Bengaluru: Facebook is expected to influence more than half of mobile-influenced purchases in the apparel and accessories (fashion) categories in India by 2022, according to a report published by the social media company in collaboration with research firms KPMG and Nielsen.

The report measured the influence of mobiles and Facebook in the three stages of a potential buyer’s path to an actual purchase – awareness, consideration and intent. Facebook and other mobile platforms can help solve friction at each of those stages, the report says. Friction in this case is defined as any unnecessary additional effort, incremental step or inconvenience to the potential buyer that makes them abandon their purchase.

“A consumer in a city like Bangalore versus a city like Gorakhpur needs different communication. What we bring is the relevance of advertisements by virtue of targeted advertising," said Pulkit Trivedi, ‎director at Facebook India. Platforms like Facebook can also help brands capture consumer attention better by helping them build sharper creatives targeted specifically at mobile users, he added.

In India, 97% of all Facebook users consume the social media platform on a mobile device. And overall mobile-influenced commerce is only set to grow in the country. For example, nearly 65% of apparel purchases by 2022 are likely to be influenced by mobiles, the report said. Facebook will play a key role in this.

The social media company’s average influence was at 24% in the apparel space in 2017. That number is forecast to increase to 34% or more than one out of every three purchases by 2022. In the accessories space, it will be even higher at an average influence of 38% versus 27% in 2017, according to the report.

Fashion is not the only category where Facebook is focusing on in terms of advertising in India. But it is among the more popular categories that are showing traction, including others like packaged consumer goods, e-commerce, technology and telecoms.

India’s fashion industry is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 15% until 2022. The apparel category is forecast to become a $102 billion market, while accessories are likely to touch $155 billion. But the next phase of growth will also be shaped by how brands engage with non-English speaking consumers. While that includes potential fashion consumers in tier II markets and beyond, who have both the aspiration and spending power, it is not restricted to those areas.

“Indian language users need not be just in non-urban areas. There is a large pie of people above the age of 40 even in the top ten cities who are not shopping (on mobile) because they are not very comfortable in English, even if they have been educated in the language. That’s the starting point and the end is the population who don’t know English," said Sreedhar Prasad, partner and head of consumer markets at KPMG in India.

The next 300-400 million people should find meaningful ways to interact with their mobiles, Trivedi said, adding that brands should latch on to two big trends to target this potential base. The shift to voice-based technology is one while videos, which are the most democratised form of content, are another, he added.

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