A recent report released by Facebook India and Boston Consulting Group suggest that during the Covid-19, the impact of digital medium has increased many fold and the digital influence has impacted the buying decisions as high as 70%.

Facebook India and Boston Consulting Group have released three new reports that delve into COVID-19 induced changes in the consumer path-to-purchase across mobile phones, apparel, and consumer packaged goods (CPG) categories. The reports are the follow up to the ‘Turn The Tide’ report released last month.

A key takeaway from the latest reports is that digital influence has increased significantly in urban consumers – up to 70% for mobiles , 55%-60% for apparel, and up to 20-25% for the non-food CPG categories.

There are three kinds of consumer trends that we are witnessing that have made the smartphone even more central to our lives – reversal of past trends such as bringing the outside in-home through virtual experiences, acceleration of past trends leading to stronger adoption of digital and online, and formation of new habits such as DIY.

The findings were revealed during a virtual event and panel discussion attended by several leaders of India Inc, and saw businesses such as Samsung India, Mondelez India, and Big Bazaar, all of which have deep offline retail networks, throw light on how they’ve leveraged digital in these times.

Said Sandeep Bhushan, Director and Head, Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook India, “We know that digital influence has significantly increased across the path-to-purchase – up to 70% for some categories. We are now seeing businesses convert this increased digital influence into tangible business outcomes. A significant digital acceleration has happened on the back of social media, and with 400M+ Indians connected on the Facebook family of apps in India, we play a consequential role in the consumer journey. The opportunity for businesses now is to adopt new solutions that are now available, across the funnel – replicate in-person experiences by bringing alive virtual experiences, focus on efficiency and truly incremental outcomes by platform, and leverage friction-less ways of staying in touch with the consumer in times of physical distancing.”

The reports also points out that some of these trends are here to stay even beyond the pandemic. 90% of consumers who have purchased apparel online during the lockdown show willingness to continue. Within CPG, this figure is 80% for food related sub-categories, and 84% for non-food related sub-categories. Furthermore, the reports reveal that people intend to explore online channels a lot more for purchasing smartphones, consumer packaged goods, and apparel in the coming six months. For instance, 55% intend to increase online spends for mobile phones in the next six months.

Said Nimisha Jain, Managing Director & Partner, Boston Consulting Group, “Across mobile, apparel and CPG, we are observing changes in how and what consumers buy. We expect the online sales market for mobiles to touch 45% in the next 2 years. 8 in 10 consumers are avoiding going out, which will lead to casualization of wardrobes. Nearly 1 in 2 consumers plan to increase spend on heath and immunity related food products. 70% urban consumers for mobile and 55-60% for apparel will be digitally influenced. It’s critical that brands amp up their digital engagement and customize their proposition to win in the new normal”

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