India is emerging as a major social media power player.
Interestingly, it’s the country’s burgeoning population of millennials and Gen Z’ers (approx. 830 million) who are leading the charge. India boasts one of the world’s biggest youth markets; the country is also growing at a phenomenal rate, providing a vital opportunity for brands with global interests.
Our lead data analyst Rob Sullivan has conducted a wealth of research on the subject of India’s digital revolution and the impact of social media on consumption and tastes – did you know? 35% of the WWE’s official Facebook page followers are from India? No? You’re not alone.
India now accounts for an estimated 213 million Facebook users
We can get a sense of the speed at which social media is developing in India from a few basic figures. The total number of Indian users registered on all social media platforms at 134 million in August 2015 (We Are Social, 2015)
An article from soravjain.com, an Indian digital marketing and social media blog, put registered Facebook users from India at 195m as of December 2016. The figure has since increased to 213m as of April 2017.
Facebook is offered in 12 languages, which highlights the scale of cultural diversity in India. As a result, success in such a vast market will depend on advertisers segmenting India’s population by demographics, interests, behaviours and so forth.
When brands think about India and connecting with people on social, they have to think carefully about what is uniquely Indian. For instance, almost 50% of the population is vegetarian. Elsewhere, whisky sales dwarf beer and families often spend years saving for their child’s wedding.
Segmenting audiences by interests is a must
In June 2016, Goldman Sachs noted that India has a millennial population of 440 million, with its Gen Z population sitting at 390 million. These cohorts will have far greater access to better education opportunities and higher purchasing power than prior Indian generations.
The chart below highlights how the Indian population skews far younger than China and the USA.
Global Web Index statistics from 2016 also point to where the internet use is. Unsurprisingly, internet adoption has remained low, given income levels and connectivity within the rural Indian population who account for 360 million people.
In contrast the urban mass and urban middle have been the drivers of internet adoption in India, along with the wealthiest bracket (>$250k in annual income).
It is worth pointing out that in many areas, the Indian consumer, in their annual consumption of leisure products is at levels Chinese consumers were at 10 or 15 years ago, meaning there is massive room for growth.
For example, Indian consumption of media on a per capita basis is less than a ¼ of Chinese media consumption (in US$ 2015 – PPP adjusted). Expect those Gen Z and Millennial consumers in India to continue increasing their media consumption and to begin converging on Chinese levels over the next couple of years.
The West has heavily influenced Indian interests
Unsurprisingly, a large number of Indian consumers enjoy Western TV and film with the country claiming a high percentage of English speakers.
The WWE and Mr. Bean are two great examples. 35% of the WWE’s official Facebook page fans are Indian. Wrestlemania was broadcast in India this year on April 3rd, and the WWE Online store was made available at WWEShop.in.
Again, highlighting differences in the Indian media consumer and the platforms they are choosing, only 4% of WWE’s engaged YouTube audience is Indian, a vast gap with the 35% for Facebook. Using figures from Tubular Labs, we can see that WWE’s Indian FB Audience is at 13.1m people for May 2017.
Mr. Bean has similar characteristics: the show’s Facebook page has 27% of its fans coming from India, so 17.5 million people. Mr. Bean actually has more Brazilian, Mexican and Pakistani fans than UK-based fans. The reason behind these figures?
Developing countries want to consume Western content. Social media now provides this content at a speed and scale required for rapidly transforming countries, where TV stations may have faltered.
India: a probable prospect for marketers?
What these insights demonstrate os the importance of digging down into Indian social media interests. You also have to be able to discover niche communities amongst hundreds of thousands of pages. Not an easy task.
But agencies and companies that can find highly engaged communities interested in the relevant products and services they want to sell can capitalise very quickly with these strategies.
India is a complex country. Within the urban categories there lie millions of consumers, each with different desires. Nevertheless, the method of impacting them is the same; tell great stories through your content that reflect what is important in their lives.
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