Changing Profile of Indian Consumers

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 behaviors. 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 behavior 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 years and how marketers should react to these changes. Today, the Indian consumer is:

  1. Socially Connected: Recent researches establish that the Indian consumer is no more living in isolation. He has mass presence in social media and is 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.
  2. Environmentally Aware: Indians are now better educated and increasingly aware of their environment. They are also well aware of the dangers of environmental degradation. The lesson for marketers here is to invest in environmental researches and offering an environment-friendly marketing mix to the consumers.
  3. Style-Conscious: A number of recent researches conducted on population aging establish that a larger population of developed countries is aging 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 style. From impulse buying products to the high involvement products like cars and smartphones, the purchases are largely influenced by style. The marketers therefore need to blend utility with style.
  4. Low Brand Loyalty: Indian consumer today is 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.
  5. Informed Purchases: Indian consumer no longer depends on whatever information the marketers provide him about the product. Today’s consumer explores all possible information sources in order to review, compare and contrast every product alternative available to him before making his purchases. The marketers therefore need to be transparent in their offerings and explicitly provide as much product details as possible on various platforms.
  6. Spends on Leisure: The reduction in family sizes accompanied by 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 do not mind to borrow from future incomes 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 into 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.
  7. Time Poor: Though Indian consumers have improved incomes at their end, they are short of time now due to increased work hours. Dual income families are quite common in India today. The consumers are more conscious about getting value for their time rather than value for their money. The marketers therefore need to offer them speedy delivery with greater convenience. Any loopholes in the supply chain leading to delayed deliveries or stock-outs may prove disastrous now. Brand promotion needs to be more visual today while the deliveries need to be made at home for the busier Indian consumers.
  8. Health-Conscious: Health is a priority for Indian consumers today. The increasing environmental pollution and growing stress levels have resulted into 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.

References:

  • Bloom, D., Boersch-Supan, A., McGee, P. & Seike, A. (May 2011). “Population Aging: Facts, Challenges and Responses.” Retrieved from: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/pgda/WorkingPapers/2011/PGDA_WP_71.pdf
  • “Consumer Wealth and Spending: The $12 Trillion Opportunity.” (2012). A.T. Kearney, Inc. Retrieved from: http://www.atkearney.com/documents/10192/278946/consumer+wealth+and+spending.pdf/2e8877d8-01ca-4655-909b-4236721ecbb0
  • Narayanan, C. (November 25, 2010). “The Indian Consumer, 10 Years On.” The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved from: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/todays-paper/tp-brandline/the-indian-consumer-10-years-on/article1011244.ece
  • Sachitanand, R. (December 26, 2012). “Companies target social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN for pitching consumers.” The Economic Times.

Ankita Agarwal

Analyst at Project Guru
Ankita is working with the editorial board of Project Guru as a Research Analyst and Writer. With Masters in Commerce and Business Studies, Ankita learned much of what she knows about management through experience. She has previously worked in various financial institutions like Birla Global, HDFC Ltd. and Citi Financial. She is self-motivated and writes for the Knowledge Tank section of Project Guru. She has authored more than 80 articles so far in Human Resources Management, Strategic Management, Finance and Marketing. She likes to pen her thoughts about the latest issues gripping these areas across the world.

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