There are almost more smartphone owners in India than there are people in the entire United States. There are about 650 million mobile phone users in India, out of those users, a little over 300 million have smartphones. Now, take into consideration India’s very young population, with the average citizen’s age around 28 years old. Now, what do twenty-somethings like to do with their smartphones? They like to take selfies. Lots and lots of selfies. Companies like Quantified Commerce see the potential in the progressively visual culture propagated by Instagram.
Over the past five years, “selfie culture” has been on the rise in India. Before, photos were mainly taken by someone else, and only during momentous events. Now, armed with your smartphone, nothing stops you from snapping away photos of yourself while you’re out enjoying a casual day. And nothing is stopping you from sharing those photos on social media outlets, like Instagram and Facebook. “I love to get my pictures clicked and now I do not need to ask others to take my picture. I can take as many pictures of mine as I want and then upload them on various social networking platforms. Also, it has become a trend to make a selfie your display picture,” said Anant Brar of BRS Nagar.
A lot more Indians are expected to be posting and sharing their photos on Instagram in the years to come, which represents a lucrative opportunity for companies looking to invest in social media marketing. As of right now, the primary way Indians access the Internet is through their mobile devices. In the next five years, there are expected to be 176 million new smartphone users in India. “India is in a very sweet spot in terms of smartphone growth,” said Shobhit Srivastava, an analyst at Counterpoint Research. “You have over 300 million people sitting on a 2G device that will eventually move forward to a smartphone… this is the potential that India holds.”
With all these people moving over to a smartphone in the coming years, it’s very likely that Facebook and especially Instagram, which only lets you share photos through a mobile device, will see an uptick in downloads. As of July 2017, India surpassed the United States as the country with the largest number of active Facebook users – with 241 million in total, (including access through mobile and non-mobile devices). Right now, Instagram has 33 million users. But, because you need a smartphone to enjoy all the benefits of Instagram, this number is expected to rise by 2022.
“India is a super interesting market for us. We think of India as one of our high growth markets. In 2012, when we decided to expand Instagram, our user base was about 50% from the US and the remaining from other geographies. Today, about 70% of our users are from outside the US and that will only be growing. Hence, we are looking at high-growth markets including India,” said Mike Krieger, co-founder of Instagram.
With the rise of selfie culture, comes the rise of social media influencers — influencers who can help companies sell their products. Quantified Commerce is a company that realized the value of this trend early and decided to invest in it. They have been building digitally native vertical brands (DNVBs), that realize the importance of social media influencers. “Selfie culture is here to stay, so brands have to adapt to it” says Agam Berry, co-founder of Quantified Commerce. “People rather have products sold to them not by big brand corporations, but by selfie-taking Instagram influencers who they admire and they can relate to.”
Quantified Commerce partners with influencers to create compelling content and video for social media, which it uses to advertise and build brands instead of the usual traditional advertising. Being a vertically integrated company, they control everything from manufacturing to distribution, cutting out the middleman and providing a direct-to-consumer experience. The company has seen extraordinary growth of 100 -300% per year in the last 4-5 years, in part, thanks to influencer collaborations on their beauty and wellness products.
As long as influencers keep taking selfies, Quantified Commerce will continue to bring consumers high quality products and uniquely tailored high-touch one-on-one brand experiences that traditional advertising struggles to provide. In this exceedingly visual digital landscape, traditional advertising just doesn’t have the same reach it use to. That’s why companies are seeing the benefits in investing in Instagram’s strong visual narrative. Consumers want to be shown by influencers they follow why a product is worth buying.