Home / News / India /  Indian beauty consumers are highly influenced by digital, says report

New Delhi: From watching make-up video tutorials to buying beauty products online, a majority of Indian beauty consumers are heavily relying on digital and social media platforms, said a joint report by Google, Kantar and WPP on Tuesday. Millennial workforce, rise of internet penetration and rising per capita consumption are pushing this trend forward.

According to the findings, this change in consumer behaviour has been further amplified by the ongoing pandemic with growing consumption of do-it-yourself (DIY) content and spike in online sales of beauty products. Indian beauty industry, which currently stands at 73,000 crore, is expected to reach 1.11 trillion in the next four years, as per market research firm Euromonitor.

The Connected Beauty Consumer report stated that beauty consumers are online for advice, ideas and inspiration, with 9 out of 10 of them being influenced by digital media. The journey of a consumer in terms of awareness is shifting from TV to digital avenues, with 33% beauty 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 adviser and search as a discovery platform. Among consumers surveyed, 81% are engaging with beauty creators on YouTube and 26% have purchased a beauty product as a result of watching a beauty video on YouTube.

The report found that over 50% beauty consumers are using social media and online videos, and 40% consumers use online search for research. 56% consumers use YouTube to compare and consider, while 30% reach their final decision through a mix of YouTube, Google search and e-commerce websites.

In India, tier I and tier II city consumers are fast catching up with their peers from the metros when it comes to purchasing personal care products. Tier I cities show similar engagement levels with digital touch points at 83% and metros at 81%. However, price comparison and purchase conversions stand at almost a 50% split. The study also found that gender divide is a myth, with both men and women showing similar interest and buying an average of three beauty products every month.

The survey was done on 1,740 consumers aged between 18 and 45 years in NCCS A and B across skincare, make-up and hair care categories.

“We’ve also noticed that most of the 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, to facilitate purchase decisions and gain brand loyalty. Online touch points are growing disproportionately, and online video and social media are preferred over any offline medium for shortlisting brands today," said Kaushik Dasgupta, group head, insights and partnerships, Google India.

The report suggested that two-third of the total consumers surveyed admitted not being loyal to one brand. Therefore, brands with easy-to-find information on digital are more likely to make it to the consumer shortlist. Brands should leverage video content and reinforce it with a good-quality website. Going forward, beauty brands need to leverage technology such as virtual reality (VR) to mimic offline experiences such as trying on a lipstick on digital.

“Technology will need to be used to make their shopping journeys seamless and also finds ways of compensating the ‘touch-feel-try’ factor. Online retailers will now have to use creative ways to guide consumers in this journey of discovery and education. Adoption of higher order technology, yet with the critical element of personalization will become a critical determinant to win," said Sushmita Balasubramaniam, domain lead for commerce, South Asia, Kantar’s insights division.

The survey 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. New technologies can help brands meet buyers’ needs and provide a stronger user experience. Partnering with creators can also connect brands to consumers, as they get inspired, learn and buy based on recommendations.

"Covid has forced consumers to experience beauty category virtually through technology tools such as augmented reality, VR and voice. People are open to these tools as long as it enhances their experiences online. Not just marketing but services can be delivered well through digital. At L'Oréal India, for instance, we offer consumers an option to try lipstick shades and hair colors virtually to help them in decision making," said Kavita Angre, chief consumer officer, L'Oréal India.

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