Social commerce allows users to complete the entire purchase process within the social media platform.
With people finding new platforms to shop online, India is expected to have 228 million social commerce consumers by the end of 2022, a 45 per cent jump from the current user base, predicts a report by Recogn, WATConsult’s research division. Currently, there are 157 million social commerce shoppers, accounting for 53 per cent of total e-commerce users in India.
Social commerce involves buying and selling of products on a social media platform. This model takes social media beyond its traditional role of mere discovery and allows users to complete the entire purchase process without leaving the preferred social media app like YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.
With accelerated adoption from smaller metros, towns and the penetration of the Internet, this combination of social media and digital commerce is seeing huge growth.
‘Digital Commerce in India – Social Commerce’ is the second report of WATInsights – digital commerce series.
This huge growth is driven by the benefits these platforms offer to both the customers and businesses. While 27 per cent of the shoppers said that they prefer these platforms, as they can browse, like and purchase on the same platform without having to switch to other e-commerce apps or websites.
For 35 per cent of people, their reason to shop on these platforms was that the recommendations and comments helped them in their buying decisions and, for 30 per cent, it was the affordable prices. For businesses, it brings cost-effectiveness and reach through digital marketing, as it connects them directly to their customers.
Heeru Dingra, CEO, Isobar India group, said that social media and e-commerce are paving strong inroads in the regular Indian Internet users’ daily routine. “Since the shopping environment on social media has ripened, there is huge potential to drive sales through these platforms. Hence, the need for an optimised system revolving around building customer trust and creating seamless experiences, is critical.”
“With the customer being at the core of these platforms, focusing on rich customer feedback in the form of comments, opinions, reviews, etc., will help brands cater to their audience effectively, and improve their brand consideration and loyalty.”
The report, which explores consumer sentiments and attitudes towards social media platforms for shopping, reveals that 57 per cent shop on YouTube, followed by WhatsApp (55 per cent) and Facebook (51 per cent). The younger customers prefer shopping on Instagram and Facebook, while older customers prefer Facebook and WhatsApp. These shoppers are likely to make online purchases from ShareChat in the future.
Over 58 per cent of those surveyed said they were comfortable spending time and shopping on these platforms at the same time.
The shopping behaviour varies between males and females. Most male shoppers scroll through social media without any intention of making a purchase and, if they end up making one, it's because the marketing campaign initiated by the brand has played a vital role in influencing them.
On the other hand, female shoppers specifically search for their preferable brand on the app to either know more about the product/service or validate their final choice.
The most popular categories under social commerce are mobile/tablets accessories, fashion and accessories, followed by electronics and appliances, beauty and grooming products, and sports, fitness and outdoor products.
Sahil Shah, managing partner, WATConsult, added, “Shopping was, is and will always be social. Platforms, behaviour and mediums will keep evolving, while more and more people will go online to shop. This report gives a deep view into what the current consumer behaviour is and highlights that social media in paid, owned and earned terms does get the maximum contribution across the funnel; especially where it matters the most, e-commerce.”
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