Changing profile of the Indian consumers

By Ankita Agarwal on January 9, 2013

Owing to its large population size and growing disposable incomes, India offers a profitable investment opportunity to the marketers across the world. Today’s marketing is consumer-oriented and therefore the global marketers need to understand Indian consumers if they want to successfully harness this opportunity. The changes in a country’s economic, social, legal, political and technological environments bring around significant changes in the psychographic profile of the consumers, further influencing their buying behaviours. India has seen rapid development in all these spheres during recent decades which has completely transformed the profile of Indian consumers. From a consumer’s point of view, the task of understanding their preferences and buying behaviour may seem easy but the marketers argue that the things would have been easier only if the consumers were static in their choices. Let’s find out how Indian consumer has changed over the years and how marketers should react to these changes.

Indian consumers are socially connected

Recent researches establish that the Indian consumers have a mass presence in social media and are increasingly networked. A recent article in The Economic Times claims that Facebook alone has crossed 65 million users in India. From the marketers’ viewpoint, this may act as a signal to concentrate more on promoting their offerings on social media. Social media also leads to effective word-of-mouth publicity.

Indian consumers are cautious

Indian consumers are highly educated and increasingly aware of their environment. They are also well aware of the dangers of environmental degradation. Health is a priority for Indian consumers today. The increasing environmental pollution and growing stress levels have resulted in greater incidences of cardiovascular ailments, obesity, and neurological disorders as well. As such, most of the consumers’ purchases are guided by health concerns. The marketers thus need to study the health trends of Indians over recent years; common diseases and the underlying causes. The information so gathered can be utilized for product innovations. Future marketers need to serve Indian consumers with healthier offerings.

They are style-conscious and have a low brand loyalty

A number of recent researches conducted on population ageing establish that a larger population of developed countries is ageing as compared to that of the developing countries like India. The larger younger Indian population exposed to global media and connected through social networking looks for the style. From impulse buying products to the high involvement products like cars and smartphones, the purchases are largely influenced by style. The reduction in family sizes accompanied by an increase in family incomes leaves Indian consumers with better incomes at their disposal. An article in The Hindu opined that the new generation of Indian consumers does not mind to borrow for holidays. A study conducted by A.T. Kearney predicted that by the year 2020, Indians will be spending 3 times more on hotels. This offers good scope to global marketers for investing in the Indian hospitality industry. Other industries that stand to benefit from this trend are entertainment industry and organised retail industry. This can also be understood by the marketers as the need for making consumers’ purchases as a complete shopping experience.

Indian consumers are exposed to a large array of brands offering similar products. The competition among brands brings greater discounts and better sales promotion offers for the customers. As a result, the consumers today are full of choices and this leads to lower brand loyalty. Since the products are often similar, the consumers want the best deal no matter which brand offers it. So, the marketers must keep innovating to differentiate from their competitors. Indian consumers no longer depend on whatever information the marketers provide him about the product. They explore all possible information sources in order to review, compare and contrast every product alternative available to him before making his purchases.