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The Indian influencer marketing industry, currently valued at about Rs 1,275 crore, representing a 42% increase (over Rs 900 crore) in 2021 is slated to grow at a CAGR of 25% for the next five years to become a Rs 2,800 crore industry by 2026, according to Influencer Marketing Report 2.0 of GroupM’s INCA

The influencer marketing industry will be valued at Rs 1,638 crore in 2023, Rs 2,048 crore in 2024, Rs 2,456 crore in 2025 before reaching Rs 2,800 crore in 2026.

According to last year’s INCA report, the influencer marketing industry was pegged to grow by 25% to reach a Rs 2,200-crore value by 2025.

While defining the industry size for influencer marketing, GroupM has considered only the talent and production cost and not the media deployment cost for the same; neither does it account for any celebrity brand endorsement deal.

With over 467 million active social media users in India, influencer marketing has emerged to be a powerful tool for brands to reach their audience. As per the latest Kantar-INCA's Like, Share, Subscribe: The Marketing of Influencing report, 54.9 million people are direct consumers of influencers across the spectrum in urban India. The report also states that two-third of the digitally active population is following an influencer.

According to the INCA survey 2022, 75% of brands prefer to work with Nano, Micro and Macro Influencers.

Macro influencers are clearly the most preferred type of Influencers across brands with 40% of respondents indicating their preference. 27% use micro-influencers, 12% use nano-influencers, and 9% use mega influencers and celebrity influencers each. 3% of brands also use virtual influencers.

Personal Care, Food & Beverage and Fashion & Jewellery are the top 3 categories that use influencer marketing.

Most sources agree that Industries like Fashion, e-tail, Food and Beverages, Entertainment and Fitness leverage influencer marketing in the most financially rewarding way. This is fairly obvious since these industries rely heavily on influencers to move the needle for them and therefore benefit from any windfall that these associations can bring their way.

One in four consumers in the digital space is reached by influencers with the trend set to move upward in the coming years.

Demographics include male and female consumers who have different areas of interest when leveraging IM: Males show a propensity towards Tech, Sports and Fitness Females show a propensity towards Food, Fashion and Lifestyle.

While consumers across all age groups rely on influencers, those in the age group between 45-55 have a higher propensity to purchase on the basis of Influencer recommendations.

The report states that Instagram reels are the most preferred short format used by influencers and more than 60% of the respondents have tried live streaming on social media platforms. 75% of marketers have used influencer marketing to increase top-of-mind awareness (TOMA).

According to the report, more than 90% of the respondents have pledged to be ASCI compliant and 100% of the respondents have said that it’s important to create value/cause-related content.

Additionally, about 75% of the respondents admitted that they use influencer marketing to increase their awareness. 60% of the marketers have mentioned that influencer marketing is either a high or top strategic priority in their overall marketing plan and 90% have mentioned it as a medium to top priority.

Short format content followed by live streaming and social commerce is the most trending tool used by influencers and most of them have incorporated or want to incorporate short format content followed by live streaming.

The most preferred measurement metric is the cost per engagement followed by brand awareness and then sales.

30% of the respondents are already using influencers to create cause-related content, out of which environment/sustainability, gender equality, and diversity are the top causes; whereas 80% of the marketers are committed to increasing their influencer marketing budgets.

Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook are the most active platforms for most of the respondents.

Ashwin Padmanabhan

Ashwin Padmanabhan, President, Investments, Partnerships, and Trading - GroupM India, said, “Influencers and brands are collaborating on creative campaigns, which is great to see. In this report, GroupM INCA India highlights how brands are using influencer marketing to promote their products and strategies. Brands need to take advantage of these research-backed strategies to ensure that their marketing monies are spent on partnerships and content that are likely to have the greatest impact on their brand. With influencer marketing growing exponentially in popularity and the ability to monetise it through social media, it has become one of the fastest-growing sectors in digital media.”

Prasanth Kumar

Prasanth Kumar, CEO, GroupM South Asia, said, “Brands in recent times have shown immense interest in influencer marketing and it’s a positive sign that many brands are pushing their initiatives through influencers. In today’s world, influencer marketing is proving to be one of the key tools to promote businesses worldwide. Influencer marketing is becoming a data and content-driven marketing strategy due to the collaboration between businesses and influencers that leads to campaign outcomes. This report will be invaluable for marketers, influencers, and brands to understand how influencer marketing is taking shape in the country. They can leverage this to grow their businesses."