THE INDIAN CONSUMER MARKET
SECTION – H
Consumer is the one who purchases a final product manufactured by a company, for resale purpose or for final consumption. The Indian consumer market is one of the most promising markets in the world, evolving faster than ever across all socioeconomic strata, regions and town classes. Post liberalization Indians have seen a tremendous increase in incomes, multiple income households, exposure to international lifestyles and media, easier financial credit.
In these fast changing times, it becomes imperative for companies reaching out to the Indian market, to catch the pulse of the Indian consumer, to gain a better understanding of the Indian consumer behavior and to get key insights into issues like: • What does the Indian Consumer’s shopping basket consist of? • What is it that the Indian consumer is buying - Is it Apparel? Books? Music? Or Durables or Grocery? How is she paying for her purchases? • How much is she willing to travel to get one-stop shopping options? • Is she discount driven enough to wait for promotions or markdowns? • How different is the Delhi consumer from the one in Kolkata or Chennai, and how different are they from those in Lucknow or Ludhiana?
All these questions have taken a top priority not only to domestic marketers but also for companies like Wal-Mart and Carrefour that are planning to set up retail chains to tap the potential Indian consumer market.
Marketing in India is growing through an indefinable phase. Various print, electronic and other media are influencing everyone right from "Karta" of the family to the kid, the consumer‘s making decision and the way in which the new generation Indian consumer behaves is undergoing change at a never before pace. In today's global marketing era, which stresses on customization and localization, influencing the consumer’s decision has become more important in this changing environment.
Emergence of the New Consumer
Understanding the Indian consumer market means understanding its individual segments. Pertinent questions facing Indian marketers today include: “Who are the new consumers? What are they spending their money on?”
Three major emerging segments were identified: Kids, the Youth (including the young working singles) and the Urban Indian Woman. These segments have shown a tremendous increase in influencing and driving purchase decisions and hence are huge drivers of change in the consumer market. More interestingly, purchases are being driven not by necessity, but to satisfy individual needs. A high-potential emerging market is also the vast rural hinterland, which has its own unique characteristics.
There are 300 million children aged between 4–14 years in India — a vast market by any standards. The role that children play in purchase decisions has changed dramatically in the past 4–5 years. “From pester power, kids have changed their role to becoming influencers.” And this is not only in product categories like confectionary and toys, but in larger long-term-use categories such as cars, electronics and even consumer durables like refrigerators and air conditioners, which were, traditionally, decisions taken by parents. Today the roles are reversed, with kids pointing out the pros and cons of purchase decisions to their parents. Due to a higher degree of exposure to the outside world, their awareness levels are rising and as a result, they are clearer about what they want. Another driver is their mastery of technology, which is a primary component of a high proportion of new products in the market. The relative ease with which they are able to grasp technicalities and understand product features and usability (or lack of) has made them experts in the eyes of their parents.
With the majority of its population below the age of 25 years, India’s young consumer market is the primary target of every...