India’s Instagram users overwhelmingly say their shopping choices are influenced by what they see on the social media platform, a new study finds.

But, while 84% say what they see on Instagram is likely to lead to them buying through the platform, some 50% of users have actually shopped through Instagram, and almost 75% of those shoppers are from small-town India, highlighting the platform’s reach.

The study, Instagram in India: User Perspective from the digital and social media agency WATConsult, examines usage patterns, content likeability, and what drives people to shop on the platform.

Key findings include:

• There are currently 117.1 million monthly users of Instagram in the country – 51% say they check for updates at least once a day, and 32% look multiple times.

• Instagrammers are most active on the platform early in the morning (6–9am), and in the late afternoon/early evening, between 4 and 8pm.

• 29% of users like to upload experiential images in categories like travel, food, and leisure, with 26% uploading videos and 24% uploading stories.

• For users to be willing to buy through the platform, they need to be convinced of the authenticity of a product. More than 75% of users who have shopped through Instagram say the experience was satisfactory, and a majority are likely to shop from Instagram again.

According to the research, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in India. Users prefer platforms that are seen as cool, informative, creative and popular. One of the key reasons for Instagram’s popularity, researchers found, was its entertainment value and because it offers inspiration through celebrities’ creative content. Users also like the fact they can express their views.

Younger users are the most influenced by celebrity posters and they engage by ‘liking’ and sharing the content. Influencers’ content, recommendations and brand collaborations have a positive effect on users’ decisions to take part in contests and on their shopping choices, researchers found.

Whereas Instagram was originally perceived as a discovery platform because of its visual nature and ‘stickiness’, it has now transformed into a platform that offers both discovery and influences purchasing decisions, the study concludes.

Sourced from WATConsult; additional content by WARC staff