BENGALURU: Shopping malls across India are exploring how they can best tap into the nation's ongoing obsession with selfies, going so far as to ask architects to create specific selfie spots when designing new sites.
Malls have noted an increase in social media engagement and footfall as a result of people posting selfies and are moving to facilitate the trend, according to the Economic Times.
"This [creating selfie spots] is in fact now a part of our pitch to architects for the design," Suresh Singaravelu, executive director of retail at Prestige Estates Projects, which owns South India Forum malls and Bengaluru's UB City luxury mall, told last week's South India Retail Summit.
And Yogeshwar Sharma, executive director at Delhi's Select CityWalk, revealed that between 15% and 20% of the mall's annual marketing budget had been diverted into creating temporary selfie booths.
"We will increase our investments on this by 10% next year," he added. "It helps us in driving footfalls in creating fun memories and offer something beyond shopping."
Not all retailers are convinced, however, that accommodating the selfie trend is worthwhile. Several noted that while this might boost consumer interest levels for a while, it was merely a gimmick that did nothing to increases sales.
But such spots should at least be safe: earlier this year the Minister of Culture and Tourism felt it necessary to ask state governments "to introduce safety precautionary measures and declare 'Selfie Danger Zones' at tourist sites".
This followed a spate of deaths among tourists falling out of boats or off cliffs while attempting self-portraits; India is said to lead the world in the number of selfie-related deaths.
Further evidence that the selfie craze has some way to run comes from the success of Meitu, a Chinese app maker whose selfie-enhancement app BeautyPlus Me – which enables users to erase blemishes, whiten teeth and brighten eyes – has topped Google Play's trending list for the country.
Quartz India reported that the app is being preloaded onto domestic handsets produced by Micromax and Lava and will soon feature branded beauty tutorials.
Data sourced from Economic Times, Quartz India, India Today; additional content by Warc staff