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Beauty, food delivery & grocery are most purchased online categories in India: Report

The Essence report stated that 88 per cent of Indian respondents are likely to buy via social comm

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Mumbai: Live shopping and conversational commerce are gaining popularity in India, with nearly nine out of 10 people saying they enjoyed the shopping experience, as per a report released by global data and measurement-driven media agency Essence on Monday. Beauty (39 per cent), food delivery/ takeaway (30 per cent), and grocery (29 per cent) were the most purchased categories online in the country, stated the report. More than half of the respondents spent between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 on average on a single transaction on social media, even as there is a growing preference for newer payment methods such as digital wallets and mobile payments.

88 per cent of the respondents said they are likely to buy via social media, as per the report which aims to help brands unlock the potential of social commerce. Essence has unveiled its first-ever social commerce report, which investigates the rapidly growing trend of consumers buying products and services directly on social platforms. The report illustrates the significant opportunity brands have in social commerce, with three out of four people surveyed globally saying they are likely or highly likely to buy through social media in the future.

According to the Essence survey, 41 per cent of respondents worldwide made purchases or intend to make purchases involving social platforms. While social media platforms have always provided an environment for buyers and sellers to interact, the survey demonstrates a shift towards organised commerce on platforms. Increasingly, social commerce enables discovery, browsing and purchasing to take place on one platform without the need to interact with any external websites or applications. Ultimately, it creates a seamless experience with fewer clicks and higher potential revenue and conversion rates.

Global Trends

China, unsurprisingly, is the leader in social commerce, which is forecast to account for 13 per cent of total e-commerce sales in 2021, the report indicated. According to the Essence survey, almost 80 per cent of consumers in China purchased items on social media. India came a close third after Singapore followed by Indonesia, with 49 per cent of consumers.

Transaction Value

In most countries, the average transaction value on social commerce is higher than the average transaction value on e-commerce transactions. Respondents in Japan recorded the highest average transaction value, between $96.74 to $483.67 for social commerce, followed by the United States, which had an average transaction value between $101 and $200.

The higher value transactions look to be driven primarily by men (35 per cent) and by millennials in the 25 to 44 age segment (72 per cent), noted the report. Both the male and the 25 to 44 age segments are skewed towards the purchase of higher-value categories such as hardware, home cleaning, luxury, and furniture.

Live Shopping and Streaming

Social innovations have propelled the growth of virtual shopping. Live shopping and conversational commerce experiences increase the propensity to buy on social media. Four out of five respondents are likely to buy on social media if they have watched a livestream or participated in conversational commerce. Livestreaming has emerged as a major factor in luxury social e-commerce.

“We expect that the future of online shopping - and not just social commerce - will be discovery-driven. Customers tend to be exposed to new and innovative products as they browse more on social media or encounter algorithmically mediated recommendations from friends and family on social platforms," said Essence technology and e-commerce senior director Aniket Basu. "E-commerce is maturing as a field, with social media giving brands and retailers new ways to reach audiences and new growth opportunities. In this environment, social commerce serves as a key future-proofing method for the next five years and beyond.” 

While the use of livestreaming in e-commerce was primarily centred in the Asian market, it is now commonplace worldwide. Luxury brands including Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Burberry all launched their Fall or Winter 2021 shows by livestreaming worldwide. Brands such as L’Oréal are also driving growth in the luxury beauty segment, partly because social media enables the brand to interact with consumers, influencers, beauty advisers and salespeople on the same platform. These innovations and collaborations are driving sales of luxury items both online and offline.

The research indicates that most consumers enjoy the livestream shopping experience, with almost half (43 per cent) of respondents claiming to have enjoyed it and 39 per cent of respondents highly enjoyed it. These statistics held up not only in China, but also in other markets where social commerce is still in its infancy. Globally, 85 per cent of the respondents who watched shopping livestreams report that they are more likely to purchase via social media.

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