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A majority of Indian consumers are heavily relying on digital and social media platforms for watching beauty tutorials and buying products online, said a joint report by Google, Kantar, and WPP on Tuesday. The millennial workforce, internet penetration, and higher per capita consumption are seen driving the trend.

The change in consumer behaviour has been amplified by the pandemic with growing adoption of do-it-yourself (DIY) content and spike in online sales of beauty products, according to the report. The Indian beauty industry, which stands at 73,000 crore, is expected to reach 1.11 trillion in four years, said market researcher Euromonitor.

Beauty consumers tapped online resources for advice, ideas and inspiration, and nine out of 10 were influenced by the digital media, the Connected Beauty Consumer report said. The journey of a consumer in terms of awareness is shifting from television to digital, with 33% consumers engaging digitally every day, 50% every week, and 93% every month.

Buying beauty products in India has also become a video-centric affair with YouTube emerging as a beauty advisor and search-as-a-discovery platform. Among the consumers surveyed, 81% engaged with beauty creators on YouTube and 26% purchased a beauty product after watching a video. Over 50% of beauty consumers are using social media and online videos and 40% are searching online for research, as per the report. As much as 56% of the consumers used YouTube to compare and consider, while 30% took a final decision after visiting YouTube, Google Search, and e-commerce websites.

In India, tier-1 and tier-2 city consumers were fast catching up with those from the metros for purchasing personal care products. Tier-1 cities showed similar engagement levels with digital touch points at 83% and metros at 81%. However, price comparison and purchase conversions stand a near-50% split.

The study also found that gender divide was a myth, with both men and women showing similar interest and buying an average of three beauty products every month. The survey comprised 1,740 consumers aged between 18 and 45 years in New Consumer Classification System (NCCS) A and B across skincare, makeup and hair care.

“We have also noticed that most purchase decisions take place in the discovery and understanding phase itself, which now happens online. Even in the offline consumer journey, online plays a key role as research, comparisons, and trends are searched online. Brands need to make it easy for consumers to access information, facilitate purchase decisions and gain brand loyalty. Online touch points are growing disproportionately, and online video and social media are preferred," said Kaushik Dasgupta, group head, insights and partnerships, Google India.

Two-thirds of the consumers surveyed admitted to not being loyal to a brand, according to the report. Therefore, brands with easy to find information in the digital space are more likely to make it to the consumer shortlist.

The survey also revealed that consumers are increasingly becoming more open to interacting with new technologies, with 67% beauty consumers interested in virtual reality, 64% inclined towards augmented reality and 69% keen on using voice assistants.

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