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Consumers treat YouTube as virtual beauty advisor: Google, Kantar, WPP report

The Connected Beauty Consumer Report shares insights to help brands navigate the fragmented consumer journey.

Google, Kantar and WPP just released a joint study on the beauty and personal care industry in India. The findings showed a paradigm shift in how consumers shop, with increased digital influence, dynamic content, robust creator ecosystem and growing online sales.

The Rs 730 billion beauty industry is slated to reach Rs 1.11 trillion in the next four years. The Connected Beauty Consumer Report shares insights to help brands navigate the fragmented consumer journey and understand what consumers expect from brands.

Consumers treat YouTube as virtual beauty advisor: Google, Kantar, WPP report

Online sales of beauty products are at an all-time high, and consumer expectations from brands have seen a massive shift. A large population of connected consumers, and a dynamic content and creator ecosystem has created an unprecedented opportunity for brands.

Today’s beauty consumers are online for advice, ideas and inspiration, with nine out of 10 beauty consumers influenced by digital. The journey of a consumer, in terms of awareness, is shifting from TV to digital avenues, with 33 per cent engaging digitally every day, 50 per cent every week and 93 per cent every month.

Buying beauty products in India has also become a video-centric affair, with YouTube emerging as a beauty advisor... Amongst consumers surveyed, 81 per cent are engaging with beauty creators on YouTube and 26 per cent have purchased a beauty product as a result of watching a beauty video on YouTube.

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

In India, Tier-I and 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 touchpoints at 83 per cent, as compared to metros’ 81 per cent. However, price, benefits, comparison and recommendations stand at almost 60 per cent 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.

Speaking on the report’s insights, Kaushik Dasgupta, group head, insights and partnerships, Google India, said, “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."

He says that he has 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, 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."

CVL Srinivas, country manager for India, WPP, said, “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.”

Consumers treat YouTube as virtual beauty advisor: Google, Kantar, WPP report

The report also captures the challenges that consumers face on their purchasing journey, with 21 per cent facing difficulty in choosing the right product, 24 per cent finding it hard to decide on a product without brand experience, and 20 per cent unable to envision how suitable a product is for them.

Consumers are increasingly becoming more open to interacting with new technologies, with 67 per cent interested in virtual reality (VR), 64 per cent inclined towards augmented reality (AR), and 69 per cent 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.

Consumers treat YouTube as virtual beauty advisor: Google, Kantar, WPP report

Sushmita Balasubramaniam, domain lead for commerce, South Asia, Kantar’s insights division, said, “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.”

"Technology will need to be used to make their shopping journeys seamless, and also finds ways of compensating the ‘touch – feel – try’ factor. For example, for makeup as a category, less informed consumers had the comfort of walking into stores with beauty advisors to educate and guide them. 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 personalisation, will become a critical determinant to win,” she concludes.

Read the full report below.

Google WPP KANTAR - Connected Beauty Consumer Report (1)_compressed (1).pdfDownload