Social media such as Facebook and Twitter and blogging sites have become powerful tools that influence what people buy, according to a report by online researcher Nielsen. The inaugural Asia Pacific Social Media Report states that from China and India to Australia, online reviews are a major influence in buying electronics items, cosmetics, cars and food, among other things.

During the survey, it was found that 55 per cent of Indians that read online product reviews have purchased products based on feedback. Consumer durables and electronics are the most common products purchased based on reviews (64% of purchases). The survey also revealed that close to one third of India’s social media users (32%) use microblogging sites such as Twitter at least once a day.

“The findings we have uncovered in this social media report highlight, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that social media is here to stay and needs to be taken seriously by the broader business community,” Megan Clarken, managing director, online business, Asia Pacific, Nielsen, has said. “Businesses can no longer afford to simply observe the social media phenomenon, they need to embrace it.”