Italian chocolate: In everyone’s lips, even on the web

Cioccolata India

From conquering the land to strengthening the economy. In India, people are consuming more and more, mainly because of the aspiring middle class that, from 2005 to 2011, has doubled its income. A new vitality is also reflected in the demographic data, with almost half of the population being under 25 yo. This data raises optimism that has been confirmed in a study made by Farnesina.

India represents a market of significant potential, unique because of the great margin of inclusion it offers. In this scenario, Italy is India’s fourth commercial partner amongst EU countries (after Germany, UK and Belgium). In 2014, the exports to the Asian country were of 3,04 billion euros (+2,3% from 2013). The main products from our country were car accessories, textile machinery, chemicals, paper and cardboard, machinery for special applications and for packaging, and ornamental and building stones.

We can’t forget about Agro-food products. Amongst these, chocolate, despite not being a traditional ingredient in Indian food, has a great consumer base. In special ocassions, such as birthdays, weddings or national holidays, a lot of Indians would rather buy chocolate as a gift, instead of traditional sweets. Also, traditional bakeries and cafes in Mumbai and Delhi have made chocolate the base for their sweets and milkshakes.

The forecast he forecasts indicate a growth in the product’s consumption until 2019, at least. So much so, that the main chocolate producers have decided to invest in the Asian market, not only concentrating efforts in the supply of diverse products (snack, spreadable cream, chocolate bars etc.), but also on the packaging and kits for special ocassions. If Cadbury and Nestlè are amongst the strongest brands, Italian Ferrero is right behind, in third place. This status has been gained little by little, since entering the Indian market in 2014. Today, Nutella and Ferrero Rocher are a “must” in bakeries and restaurants in Mumbai. So much so, that, when an acquaintance travels from Italy, locals always ask for the product as a gift.

Due to high prices, Italian chocolate and Ferrero products are limited to high income individuals and the aspiring middle class. In any of the capital’s cafes, a slice of Nutella or Ferrero Rocher cake costs around 350/400 rupie, the daily medium cost of living for a family of four in poor conditions.

Like other Made in Italy products, chocolate is a status symbol that is exhibited not only in holidays and home visits, but also online.

How does the web react to Italian chocolate?

This online “chocolate-mania” has Ferrero in third place on conversations.

Fig1

If we broaden the research on Italian chocolate and its main brands (Fig.2), from September 2015 to January 2016 in the Indian web, there were 8,261 posts, generating 133,587 interactions (comments, retweets, shares, likes, etc.) from 93,095 users, with an average density of 40 users involved in conversation and a 38% participation rate (38% of posts generated at least one answer, starting a conversation), index of desire to share and virtuousness of the subject.

 

FIg2
DIt is noticeable that over the total content, only 6 posts over 29 were in Hindi language, all the others were in English, the language of younger generations and rising social classes, who receive anglophone-related education. Regarding Italian brands and products in India, the most important is Nutella Ferrero, with a great presence in Twitter and Instagram.

 

Fig3

(Fig.4). The ranking does not change, but the volume increases and the amount of shares and comments broadens towards Instagram and Facebook.

Fig4

Chocolate lovers choose Instagram

Adding up the posts and interactions, Instagram is the most used channel (Fig.5) to join a trend or show a status symbol. Indian users shoot, post and publish in real-time pictures of the desserts and sweets made with Italian chocolate, or talk about restaurants that offer products with Nutella or Ferrero Rocher. Less frequently, chocolate lovers use Facebook and Twitter to share images or recipes.

.Fig5

In India, woman between the ages of 25 and 34 are the ones who love chocolate the most.

Indian women love Italian chocolate and this is reflected online, 65.1% of female users post or interact with other users about the subject, compared with a 34.9% male user base. The most interesting range goes from 25-34 yo, followed by men and women ranging from 35-44 yo and youths from 18-24 yo.

Fig6

The online response is not disappointing, and opens intervention spaces for Italian companies in this sector, in terms of marketing, consumer care, brand loyalty, and consumer commitment. Chocolate lovers are ready to answer in one click.

Katiuscia Carnà

An analyst specializing in Indian language and culture, sociology, interculturalism and religions. After obtaining a degree in Languages and Oriental Society and receiving two Master’s degrees in Religions and Cultural Mediation and Sociology (Theory and Research), she won a PhD in Educational and Social Research. She is a Hindi language and Indian culture teacher, a translator and linguistic and cultural mediator, and a co-author of texts and interfaith courses. She has studied and carried out volunteer projects in Africa and India and conducted research on Indian and Punjabi Sikh cultures. Languages: Italian, English, Hindi Urdu, Bengali.