Word of mouth most trusted medium in India

07 September 2010

NEW DELHI: Word of mouth remains the most trusted source of product information in India, but other channels such as mobile ads and TV shows also have an important role, Synovate has reported.

The research firm surveyed 1,743 consumers aged between eight and 24 years old in Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi, finding that 47% of Indians in this demographic "could not live without" television.

This can be measured against a regional average of 28%.

Furthermore, 58% agreed they enjoyed watching broadcast content, ahead of the 34% norm recorded across Asia.

Personal ownership of a mobile phone in India has surged from 28% in 2008 to 37% in 2010, double the 18% total for Asia as a whole.

Popular activities using wireless handsets are listening to music on 59%, sending text messages on 58%, taking pictures on 51% and gaming on 46%.

Turning to the web, 62% of the sample utilised search engines like Google, followed by email on 53% and streaming music on 42%.

Other widespread pastimes included gaming, with 26% of those polled having played via the net in the last week, while 37% of young Indians had also downloaded something.

Concerning advertising, 55% of the panel were willing to see pay-TV charges rise if this meant commercial breaks did not interrupt programming.

By contrast, 37% would happily receive or respond to mobile ads, providing an incentive - such as reduced data tariffs or free airtime - was offered in return.

On this metric, India was second only to Vietnam (44%), and considerably ahead of the 29% score posted throughout the continent.

When it comes to seeking advice about goods and services, word of mouth is held in the highest regard, as 78% of Indians relied on friends and family in this area.

Despite the common dislike for television commercials, 74% stated this channel was a reliable means of acquiring relevant knowledge, again the best rating in Asia.

Moreover, 67% of Indian contributors expressed confidence in recommendations made in TV shows, demonstrating the medium's wider power.

Elsewhere, 65% suggested on-shelf communications, product displays and similar marketing materials were useful.

"Young Indians like to make informed decisions," said Mick Gordon, managing director, Synovate India.

"While the primary dependence is on family and friends, the secondary sources are also important for trustworthy decisions like TV, in-store displays, etc."

Finally, the survey reported 63% of respondents possessed a DVD player, with desktop computers on 42% and digital cameras on 24%.

Data sourced from Synovate; additional content by Warc staff