New Delhi– More than three in four consumers (74 per cent) in India will begin shopping at least two weeks before Diwali, mostly on their smartphones, and Facebook and Instagram that influence nearly 80 per cent of festive shopping especially by Gen-Z and millennials can help brands build targeted campaigns based on current consumer trends, the social networking giant revealed in a report on Wednesday.

Festive shopping can be a positive outlet for businesses in these pandemic-hit times so the mantra is to start advertising early, utilising resources like video, augmented reality (AR), influencers, vernacular content and messaging to further drive the brand discovery, revealed Facebook’s ‘Festive Playbook’.

Forty-five per cent millennials prefer shopping early for the festive season and there is a 17 per cent increase in spending by early shoppers in the country.

“There is finally an uptick in the shopping mindsets of the consumers after several months of stay-at-home and social distancing times and saving for an uncertain future,” Sandeep Bhushan, Director and Head of Global Marketing Solutions (GMS) by Facebook India, told IANS.

“With over 400 million Indians connected on the Facebook family of apps in India, we will play a consequential role this festive season in both brand discovery and delivering truly incremental business outcomes,” Bhushan noted.

The shopping season will extend to beyond Diwali — with Christmas and Republic Day Sales extending the festive season and encouraging continued ‘holiday shopping’ and ‘self gifting’.

The pandemic, said Facebook research, has triggered an increase in mobile usage.

The ‘Festive Playbook’ found that there has been over a 16 per cent increase in smartphone time and festive shoppers across age groups connect on the Facebook Family of apps for the discovery and evaluation of products.

“This season, marketers can leverage digital to drive brand discovery among relevant consumer segments, drive performance marketing and ride the e-commerce wave, and build new age innovations to engage with consumers,” said Prasanth Kumar, CEO, South Asia, GroupM, world’s leading media investment company.

The ‘Festive Playbook’ brings together insights from key Facebook commissioned researches, most notably from two distinct studies with YouGov and Boston Consulting Group, respectively.

One of the key consumer trends in the ‘Festive Playbook’ is that a stronger demand can be expected in the festive season, as the country continues to unlock, and as businesses continue to adapt to the new normal by building solutions and experiences that are relevant for these times.

“Across categories such as beauty and personal care, consumer packaged goods, and auto, people said that the Facebook family of apps emerged as their leading source of discovery and evaluation, ahead of other online channels and sources,” the findings showed.

The Facebook family of apps continues to be popular and valued in India with 400 million people using at least one of its apps every month.

Videos today make up for over a third of posts on Instagram in India and the country is one of the leading markets for Facebook Watch.

According to the YouGov study, more than a half of festive shoppers post or watch videos on their social media feeds and 46 per cent festive shoppers would like to see videos that get them into the holiday mood.

“Nearly 56 per cent festive shoppers for apparel and beauty said that product videos would help them with their purchases,” the findings showed.

One out of four automobile consumers who have cancelled or postponed their purchase, would also reconsider if there is minimal contact with the dealership, the report added.

Live broadcasts from Facebook Pages in India also tripled in June this year compared to the same time last year. (IANS)