Indian Consumers Shop for Highest Quality vs Lowest Price says IBM Social Sentiment Index

IBM Social Sentiment Index_Indian Consumer Shopping PreferencesMumbai: Smartphones, laptops, bikes and SUVs topped consumer’s wish lists for this holiday season, as tracked by the latest IBM Social Sentiment Index on consumer shopping preferences in India.

IBM found that style and design along with price accounted for the majority of the social buzz when it comes to purchasing preferences, indicating Indian consumers shift from being highly price conscious.

In the era of Big Data, with the continued explosion of blogs, online forums and other social media channels, social listening analyzes unfiltered attitudes and actions, distinguishes between sincerity and sarcasm and even predicts trends as they surface online.

Being able to quickly understand and respond consumer trends can help brands make more informed decisions through useful insights gleaned from the millions of social media interactions people have daily.

Armed with relevant social data, decision-makers can better measure and understand public opinion on customer issues such as shopping during the 2013 festive season. The index leverages the latest IBM analytics technologies to help businesses predict trends and future consumer actions.

“A deep analysis of social media provides sign posts of the critical hits and misses. Marketers can use this data to have a view of how customers can be understood as individuals,” commented Sivaramakrishnan Narayanan, Director, Business Analytics and Optimization, Global Business Services, IBM. Social media is increasingly influencing consumer purchasing decisions. IBM’s latest report points out consumers’ sophisticated way of leveraging social media; researching products, prices, promotions and reviews to decide on purchasing decisions. Following are the key trends that emerged from the IBM Social Sentiment Index for Consumer Shopping Preferences:

Top Consumer Purchases- Out of the top 10 products on consumers wish list, over 75 percent had wished for smartphones, laptops, bikes and SUVs.

Looking Beyond Price tags- Underscoring Indian consumers move away from being price conscious, style & design emerged as the single most important variable governing preferences for formal wear. Price had very limited impact in this segment.

Top Consumer Preferences- Quality and price accounted for almost three quarters of influencing attributes when purchasing consumer electronics. Style, design and price jointly drove decisions for consumer durables – together impacting 46 percent of preference decisions. Style and design was also an important determinant for purchase of automobiles.

Automobile Deals- Customer care and price featured above style and design for preferences of four-wheelers. Nearly half of the consumer preferences for two-wheelers were influenced by size and space of the vehicle. Price was a criterion for only 26 percent.

Affinity quotient – Notable amongst the various conversations were affinity between words – design and consumer durables; loan and travel and hospitality, perhaps indicating consumer’s preference to purchase various travel packages customized to accommodate the festive holidays.  “Upon studying the commentary on social media, it was found that users’ and prospective users’ of products and services were conversing more about style whereas recommenders were mostly focused on price in their commentary,” added Narayanan.

IBM identified top categories and sub-categories of products based on consumers wishes recorded in iWish which was created by IBM, inviting consumers to record their product wish-lists. The wish-lists were then mapped to discussions and sentiment on various popular social media platforms to understand and analyze conversations. In all, 151,000 conversation strings were tracked. Further, predictive modeling analytics was applied to analyze key influencing factors that prompted consumers to buy a particular product.

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