Mrs Sharma buys the same brand of tea and shampoo month after month out of sheer habit.
Mr Kulkarni looks for durability in a television when he buys one for his family. It is a long-term asset to be replaced only when it drops dead.
Mr Venkataraman buys branded distemper when he wants to move from chuna to a better-quality branded paint.
Mrs Ganguly has one refrigerator in her house.
These are the behavioural patterns of the generation pre-liberalisation. What's particularly interesting is that behaviours shaped by a few categories -- largely technology products -- have perhaps changed consumer mindsets so dramatically across all other categories that marketers need to re-orient themselves to optimally milk opportunities in the market place. Pulling back it may be worthwhile to first identify the four macro-behavioural trends emerging in consumer markets today.
Consumers jump steps as they enter: In the past, consumers entering a new category -- especially consumer durables -- tended to enter quite gingerly. However, today the line between entry-level and upgraded products is disappearing.This is perhaps due to many younger consumers, even though being first-time buyers, are not necessarily first time experiencers -- and prices of many durables are no longer defined by list price but by EMI instalments! So a Maruti 800 is not necessarily an entry-level car, the Ford Ikon too is an entry-level vehicle.
Upgrade is part of life: In the past many products -- especially durables -- were bought as lifelong possessions.This is no longer true. Today the average life of a mobile is 12 months, that of a TV three years; cars four to five years and soon even homes will be changed more frequently.
"One household, multiple products" is coming in. So, two cars is no longer a luxury but a practical necessity for working couples; two TVs in the house is recognition of the fact that different family members have different interests...
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