Media consumption of makeup-wearers in urban India

Cheryl Kar
September 28, 2021, 1:58 PM UTC

Investor interest in beauty brands across India is growing. Thanks to media channels and online shopping portals, most of the brands in this space saw a demand for their products even as stores remained shut during lockdown – a phenomenon known as the ‘Lipstick Effect’. 

So what’s driving consumers into buying makeup? Data from our audience intelligence tool, YouGov Profiles, examines the media consumption habits and preferences of Indian Makeup-Wearers: consumers in urban India who wear makeup.  

The data suggests that Indian Makeup-Wearers are generally 21–29-year-olds (35%) and more likely to be women than men (53% vs 47%). Two in five in this group live in a Tier 1 city (43%) and three in five are married (59%). Nearly half of this audience say they are employed (45%).  

With two in five of Indian Makeup-Wearers telling us that they have shopped for beauty and cosmetic products online (41%) in the past month, we looked at what’s driving this audience to do so. Convenience emerged to be the key reason (63%), followed by being motivated by a wide range of products (49%), delivery services (47%) and more payment methods (44%). More than a quarter also say they are driven by promotions or deals (29%).

Online ads are more effective than TV ads 

Seven in ten Indian Makeup-Wearers agree that ads help them choose what to buy (71%), which is ten percentage points higher than the general population (61%). But which mediums catch their attention? Our data reveals that a plurality of this audience considers online adverts (65%) as the most effective, followed by adverts on TV (51%), printed newspapers (44%) and printed magazines (30%). One in five consumers also tell us that adverts on radio (21%) and billboards (21%) catch their attention. Indian Makeup-Wearers are more likely to take notice of ads of every type than the general population.

Indian Makeup-Wearers listen to radio stations in Hindi, but read English newspapers 

Data indicates that half of Indian Makeup-Wearers prefer to read newspapers in English (52%) while only a quarter opt for Hindi dailies (25%). This explains why 28% of this audience have a paid subscription to Times of India as opposed to only 6% who have subscribed to Navbharat Times. 

On the flipside, when it comes to listening to the radio, nearly half of this group prefer Hindi (46%) rather than English (21%). Just 16% show a preference for regional languages. It’s not surprising that, when asked about the stations listened to in the past 30 days, Radio Mirchi tops the list (55%) followed by Red FM (43%), Big FM (30%), Radio City (26%) and Radio One (13%). 

What shows are Indian Makeup-Wearers watching? 

YouGov also asked Indian Makeup-Wearers about the genre of TV programmes they tend to watch. A considerable proportion of this audience say they watch entertainment shows (63%), closely outnumbering those who watch comedy (61%). More than half tell us they watch the news (56%), while two in five watch shows related to current affairs (39%).   

For makeup brands, email newsletters can be a good way to reach their audience 

In general, Indian Makeup-Wearers use the internet to check emails (67%) or for messaging on apps such as Skype or WhatsApp (66%). On the other end of the spectrum, three in five use it for online banking, buying goods online or generally browsing the internet (60%).  

What’s more, Facebook is a popular social networking site among this audience as four in five are currently a member, followed by YouTube (78%), WhatsApp (77%) and Instagram (68%).

Indian Makeup-Wearers shop online several times a month 

Nearly a quarter of Indian Makeup-Wearers say that they have made several online purchases a month (23%). Closely following are 20% of this audience who tell us they bought something online several times a week as opposed to 15% of the general population, suggesting that Indian Makeup-Wearers tend to have a higher frequency of purchasing products online. A small proportion (9%) also say they shop online more than once a day – clearly indicating the popularity of online shopping among this group. 

What motivates this audience into buying cosmetics?

Our data suggests that recommendations in articles or product reviews are what drives 65% of Indian Makeup-Wearers to try new cosmetic products. As a factor, recommendations by friends and family have roughly the same weight as Indian Makeup-Wearers' willingness to try different brands for different products (42% and 41% respectively). Brands may also need to consider what goes into making their products as two-fifths of consumers are concerned about the ingredients in beauty products (39%).  

Data from our International FMCG/CPG 2021 Report shows that about one in five consumers in India have increased their consumption of cosmetic products during the pandemic. It’s clear that in post-pandemic times, online platforms are playing a major role in channeling the influx of consumers for both indigenous and international beauty brands. Insights like these can help marketers decide how to strategize campaigns and increase customer retention.

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. YouGov Profiles data referenced is based on a sample size of 9498 urban Indians who wear makeup. Online interviews were conducted between August 2020 – August 2021. YouGov Profiles data is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about YouGov Profiles.