Sixty percent of internet users in urban India are influenced by social media in their purchasing decisions while shopping online, a new study by Frost & Sullivan has revealed.
The study found that more than 60 percent of internet users in urban India spend four hours and more a day browsing for various purposes such as entertainment, networking, business, academics, shopping, etc. while over 60 million are registered on Facebook and 20 million on LinkedIn.
Frost & Sullivan found that consumers are increasingly relying on social media to make their purchases, either as informed choices, or through peer conditioning. The study found that in the age group of 18 to 35, 60 percent of the respondents indicated that they shopped online once a month and 40 percent of the respondents expected to increase their online shopping budgets over the next 12-15 months
It was found that for over 30 percent of the survey respondents, friends or peer-reference influenced their online shopping; 17 percent were influenced by social media sites that included ads, product reviews, recommendations, product launch announcements, etc. The study further revealed that 40 percent of the respondents indicated that they purchased one or more items after seeing it on a social networking site and many of these purchases were routed through ads on these sites.
Research Director at Frost & Sullivan, Vidya Nath said that for improved results and generating increased revenues online, companies need to find means to integrate online portals with social media and monitor customer behaviour to chart their marketing strategies. Nath further explained that the benefits of social media in terms of investment and returns appear visibly higher than incumbent methods of marketing and advertising but it must be noted that what works for one company, may not work for the other, hence social media marketing has to be carefully and strategically implemented to see tangible results.