Beauty segment purchase decisions seeing strong digital influence: Report

New Delhi: The beauty products segment in India is witnessing a strong influence of digital channels on purchase decisions as customers turn to avenues like videos, online searches and reviews on social media, a report said on Tuesday.The joint report by Google, Kantar and WPP noted that there has been a paradigm shift in how consumers shop, with increased digital influence, dynamic content, robust creator ecosystem and growing online sales.The journey of a consumer in terms of awareness is shifting from TV to digital avenues, with beauty consumers engaging digitally, it said.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, it added.The report found a large segment of beauty consumers saying they use social media, online videos and online search for research to compare and consider, and reach their final decision.It also found that both men and women showed similar interest and bought an average of nine beauty products every month.”Digital consumption is at an all-time high in India, and people are spending an additional two-hours more online, per week.”With multiple sources of discoverability and information research, the consumer purchase journey has become more complex but shopping has become more focused and personalised,” Google India Group Head, Insights and Partnerships, Kaushik Dasgupta said.He added 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,” he said.Online touchpoints are growing disproportionately, and online video and social media are preferred over any offline medium for shortlisting brands today, he added.C V L Srinivas, country manager for India at WPP, said there are still untapped opportunities for beauty brands — from catering to different city audiences to leveraging varied consumer segments.”Consumers count on trusted content and authentic personal advice to complete their buying journey and brands can thrive by owning that interaction. With creative online delivery, brands can recreate the best of offline moments, Srinivas said.From 3Vs (video, voice and vernacular) to DTC (direct-to-consumer) interactive content, conversational commerce and more, smart investing in the right platforms ensures scaled outreach and strong engagement, Srinivas added.The report pointed that consumers also face challenges in their purchase journey like facing difficulty in choosing the right product, deciding on a product without brand experience and being unable to envision how suitable a product is for them.The report also noted that consumers are increasingly becoming more open to interacting with new technologies including virtual reality, augmented reality and voice assistants.”Shoppers are in a mood to explore and experiment. The increasing comfort with digitalisation has given them a sense of empowerment to be able to literally ‘go anywhere and look at anything’, in ways that are not possible in offline shopping.”As a result, there has been discovery of new products and brands to suit their new lifestyles,” said Sushmita Balasubramaniam, domain lead for commerce – South Asia, Kantar’s Insights Division.Technology will need to be used to make their shopping journeys seamless and also find ways of compensating the ‘touch – feel – try’ factor, she added.
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