Snapchat, the visual messaging app for friends and family, has today released new research in partnership with YouGov on Indian nickname culture, uncovering a national fascination with nicknames.
The research reveals some of the most popular nicknames in the country which are Sonu, Babu, Macha, Shona, and Pinky, in addition to unearthing some interesting insights into the unique subculture of nicknaming. This study also inspired two new Nickname-themed Augmented Reality (AR) Lens on Snapchat – ‘India’s Top Nicknames’ and ‘My Nickname’.
This first interactive AR Lens called ‘India’s Top Nicknames’ includes five bespoke designs featuring India’s favorite nicknames. Not only that, for the first time Indians can customize the ‘My Nickname’ lens to create their very own nickname. From Guddu, Sunny, and Tinku to Angel and Baby, the new custom nickname AR experience has been purpose-built by Snapchat to allow users to celebrate their nicknames proudly and share them with their loved ones.
The survey revealed that the majority of Indian Gen Zs and young Millennials love to use their nicknames online. The reasons for this, besides keeping names snappy, are to seem cool, to safeguard their privacy and because nicknames can be easier to remember. Unsurprisingly, data shows that over 96% of Indians have used a nickname at some point in their lives.
Nicknames – intrinsic to the Indian identity
In India, nicknames go beyond mere labels; and play a significant role in defining individual identities. Often known as pet names, ghar ka naam, or dark naam – nicknames are etched deep within our cultural fabric.
The survey outlined that the five most common nicknames in Bangalore are Macha, Chinnu, Anu, Ammu, and Maga.
But popularity aside, it’s worth noting how these endearing monikers have had a significant impact on the way Indians perceive themselves and interact with others. More than half of the respondents said that they have had three or more nicknames at some stage in their lives. Contrary to popular belief, nicknames are also a matter of pride, as only 15% say they are embarrassed to use their nicknames publicly.
Kanishk Khanna, Director of Media Partnerships – APAC, Snap Inc said, “Nicknames are such an integral part of Indian lives and given to us by our real connections – friends or family. We wanted to share some fun findings on Indian nicknames – from the weird and wacky to the oddball, romantic, and downright hilarious, this custom nickname AR experience will help bring users closer to their inner circle and enable the fun and joy of sharing nicknames.”
Nicknames help in forging connections
The survey further revealed that Indians use nicknames to build deeper connections and validate relationships. 67% of Indians revealed that they use nicknames to feel closer to someone. This reiterates the emotional connection and cultural attachment associated with the concept of nicknaming in India.
Among the people who have ever had a nickname, 60% confirm that they received their nicknames either during childhood or their school years. However, the nickname received before school is the one that most still go with, highlighting the lasting impact of early connections to one’s identity.
Nicknames create a distinct sense of belonging. 61% mentioned that they go by a different name at home and almost 60% have experienced situations where people remembered their nickname and not their actual name. The survey results corroborate what we’ve always known deep down—nicknames are the heart and soul of our identity and signify the strongest connections we hold dear.
The two Nickname Lenses will be available on Snapchat in India from June 21. Just search for ‘IN’s Top Nicknames’ and ‘My Nickname IN’ in the lens carousel and simply point your phone to your face to get in on the fun.