Home / Technology / News /  ‘Bharat users also digitally savvy’

NEW DELHI : Users of social media in vernacular language are on a par with users in English language in terms of digital presence, online payments and shopping habits, said a report by social media platform ShareChat and advertising firm GroupM.

Titled Bharat-The Neo India, the report said Bharat users are as adept as India user in participating in online financial activities. The report defines Bharat users as people who prefer regional languages as their main language for using social media. India users, meanwhile, prefer English as their main language for social media

For starters, 49% of the urban active internet users prefer Indic languages. Preference for Indic languages is higher in non-metros at 53% compared to metros at 39%. The report studied social media behaviour, content preferences and spending choices of 'Bharat' and 'India' users. The survey was conducted online by market research firm YouGov in December 2021 and the findings are based on responses from 3,432 social media users in 17 Indian states along with inputs from media company Kantar on Indic language and urban active internet users.

As far as posting and sharing on social media is concerned, people using Indic languages or Bharat is ahead of India. 29% of Bharat users post content at least once a day compared to India’s 22%. Similarly, Bharat is marginally ahead of India in sharing content at 33% versus 32%.

The report said, Bharat users shop online for gadgets, clothing and accessories, food, beauty and travel. Like India, the majority of Bharat users prefer streaming free videos over watching TV. Daily, 50% of Bharat users stream free video online and about 47% watch TV.

Even for paid subscriptions to streaming services, Bharat is close on the heels of India at 27% versus 29% respectively.

In terms of choice of payment mode, Bharat users are adept at using UPI for online transactions and have a lead over India users in terms of net-banking and debit cards transactions online, the report said, adding that they are investing in stocks, mutual funds, e-gold and even cryptocurrency. Among Bharat users, 56% use UPI and 49% use mobile wallets multiple times a week.

Ajit Varghese, chief commercial officer of ShareChat said the language first users are at par with English language first users when it comes to digital presence, use of online transaction methods, and shopping habits. "Bharat users also outrank when it comes to consuming news, food and beverages, health and fitness, and travel related categories online," Varghese said, adding they are observing similar trends on their platforms.

Prasanth Kumar, CEO of GroupM South Asia said from the media planning aspect, Bharat is unique in many ways, "This is mostly because all the cities that make Bharat are Indic language-heavy, fragmented and display their own sets of consumer behaviour traits. This diversity in our country brings in its own challenges and opportunities. Brands and media planners looking to reach target audiences across the country should focus on a customised approach for this segment," said Kumar.

According to Kantar, there are over 341 million overall urban active internet users and 167 million urban active Indic internet users. The study suggests that urban active Indic internet users over-indexed on NCCS A (New Consumer Classification System) and higher education compared to overall urban active internet users


Varuni Khosla

Varuni Khosla is a journalist with close to 14 years of experience in writing business news stories for mainstream newspaper companies like Mint and The Economic Times. She reports and writes on luxury and lifestyle brands, hospitality and tourism news, the business of sports, the business of advertising and marketing and alcohol brands.
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