The ongoing wave of digitization is transforming the beauty industry as today’s beauty consumers are online for advice, ideas and inspiration, with nine out of 10 beauty consumers influenced by digital, a joint study conducted by Google, Kantar and WPP revealed. The Connected Beauty Consumer Report shared insights to help brands navigate the fragmented consumer journey and understand what consumers expect from brands.
In the next four years, the Rs 730 billion beauty industry is slated to reach Rs 1.11 trillion, as per the market research firm Euromonitor. As per The Connected Beauty Consumer Report, 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 advisor and search as a discovery platform. Amongst 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.
Digital consumption is at an all-time high in India, and people are spending an additional two-hours more online, per week, Kaushik Dasgupta, group head, Insights and Partnerships, Google India said. “With multiple sources of discoverability and information research, the consumer purchase journey has become more complex but shopping has become more focused and personalised. 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 touchpoints are growing disproportionately, and online video and social media are preferred over any offline medium for shortlisting brands today,” he added further.
The report also 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 1 and Tier 2 city consumers are fast catching up with their peers from the metros when it comes to purchasing personal care products. Tier 1 cities show similar engagement levels with digital touchpoints at 83% and Metros’ at 81%. However, price, benefits, comparison and recommendations stand at almost 60% overall. The study also found that gender divide is a myth, with both men and women showing similar interest and buying an average of nine beauty products every month.
According to CVL Srinivas, Country Manager for India, WPP, there are still untapped opportunities for beauty brands out there, 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. From 3Vs (Video, Voice and Vernacular) to DTC interactive content, conversational commerce and more, smart investing in the right platforms ensures scaled outreach and strong engagement,” he explained.
The report also captured the challenges that consumers face on their purchasing journey, with 21% facing difficulty in choosing the right product, while 24% find it hard to decide on a product without brand experience and 20% unable to envision how suitable a product is for them. 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.
For Sushmita Balasubramaniam, domain lead for Commerce, South Asia, Kantar’s Insights Division, shoppers are in a mood to explore and experiment. “The increasing comfort with digitalization 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,” she stated.