India has over one billion people with 120 dialects & languages. Three-fourths of the population lives in rural areas, contributing one-third of the national income. India ranks third, in terms of internet penetration in the world, while social media growth is by 37.4 percent. The e-commerce market is expected to grow from $11 billion in FY14 to $20 billion FY15. India is one of the most lucrative markets even though the per capita income is low, but has huge market for costly products. A recent development in India’s consumerism is the emergence of the rural market for several basic consumer goods.

Characteristics Of Indian CB

“Indian consumers are noted for the high degree of value orientation; due to this Indians are labeled as one of the most discerning consumers in the world.”  Even, luxury brands have to design a unique pricing strategy in order to get a foothold in the Indian market.

 “Indian consumers have a high degree of family orientation.” Brands with identities that support family values tend to be popular and accepted easily

 “Indian consumers are also associated with values of nurturing, care and affection.”Product which communicate above feelings and emotions gel with the Indian consumers.

Influence of Internet / Social Media / Ecommerce

With the advent of eCommerce portals like Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, etc the buying behavior of Indian consumers has increased, as they meet shopping requirements of Indian consumers. Some of the facilities offered, which lead to growth of eCommerce in India are:

  • EMI options
  • Cash on Delivery
  • Huge discounts to buy online
  • Cheaper than brick – and –mortar stores
  • Increase in usage of internet through smart phones
  • Social reviews

But the major game changer being able to reach to rural India, since they already have disposable income, but no stores (Brick – N – Mortar) selling luxury branded products. With eCommerce and smart phones with internet, they are now able to order brands which they wish to wear, without traveling to city to buy those brands.

Different Segments of Indian Consumers

  • Socialites Consumer: Socialites belong to the upper class. They prefer to shop in specialty stores, go to clubs on weekends, and spend a good amount on luxury goods. They are also brand and fashion conscious and would mostly shop at luxury malls, fashion designers boutiques or abroad.
  • Conservative Class of Consumers: The Conservatives belong to the middle class; they are true reflection of Indian culture. Slow in decision making and seek a lot of information before making any purchase. Most often they look for durability and functionality of the product, but at the same time are also images conscious.
  • Working Woman: This segment is the one, which has seen a tremendous growth in the late nineties and has opened the floodgates for the Indian retailers. Working women have disposable incomes and have their own buying decisions for products which appeal to them.
  • Rural Consumer: The Indian rural market has been growing at 3-4% per annum, adding more than 1 million new consumers every year and now accounts for close to 50% of the volume consumption of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) in India. The market size of the fast moving consumer goods sector is projected to more than double to US$ 23.25 billion by 2010 from the present US$ 11.16 billion.

Over the years, as a result of the increasing literacy in the country, exposure to the west, satellite television, smart phones, Bollywood movies, social media and newspapers there has been significant increase of consumer awareness among rural Indians. This awareness has made the Indian consumers seek more and more reliable sources for purchases such as organized retail chains that have a corporate background and where the accountability is more pronounced

The Indian consumers are price sensitive and prefer to buy value for money products. Here are few influences on the Indian consumer buying behavior, which a marketer should know.

  • Ecommerce Marketing: Indian eCommerce industry is set to become a $0.5 trillion business in the next 10 years. With the sudden rise of eCommerce, most brand and cost conscious consumers are turning towards portals for buying or comparing product price with brick – N – Mortar stores. Currently the products Indian consumers are buying through online are smart phones, clothes, books, low value white goods, stationery, electronics, educational material and lately eLearning courses.
  • Celebrity Influence: In India, celebrities are regularly used as brand ambassadors in marketing communication by marketers to lend personality to their products, increase trust factor and promote the brand. Celebrity endorsements work to a great extent for all class of consumers in India, as Bollywood and cricket plays a huge role in INDIAN life-cycle.
  • Quality Oriented Outlets: Indian consumers looking for quality choose expensive brands as they feel that price is an indicator of quality. Most products in India have long shelf life, even after break down, they get it repaired. Most consumers ensure that products / brands have a service outlet in their nearby area for future break down repairs. If a product / brand don’t have any service centres, it is difficult to sell to INDIAN BUYERS.
  • Freebies: Indian consumer’s buying behavior is influenced by freebies, discounts, one – on – free, 40% discount, etc. Freebies are consumer products given free of charge as gifts to purchases of selected products above a certain value. Freebies generally comprise tooth paste, soaps, detergent, cooking oil, cash back, USB, headphones, speakers, mobile covers, etc.

 Changing Trends in Indian Consumer Behavior

  • Bulk Purchasing: Urbanization is taking place in India at a dramatic pace and is influencing the life style and buying behavior of the consumers. Bulk purchases from hyper stores seems to be the trend these days with purchasing becoming more of a once-a-week affair, rather than frequent visits to the neighborhood store.
  • Trendy Lifestyles: The current urban middle and upper class Indian consumer buying behaviour to a large extent has western influence. The Indian consumer has become much more open-minded and experimental in his/her perspective towards western trends. Most international Brands have presence in India and have gained wide consumer acceptance.
  • Buyers’ Market In The Making: Post India’s economic liberalization, policies were initiated in 1991 for opening of market, many new product offerings have entered the Indian market and product variety has also increased manifold. Indian consumers have always preferred foreign goods and with liberalization, they have a choice vis-à-vis local products.

The sellers’ market is slowly moving towards becoming the buyers’ market.

  • Social Media + Internet Influence: Social media has played a spoilt sport, now people buy to get LIKE. Often, users check reviews on social media prior to purchase decision, even prefer movie review from friends rather than film critics. With lowest broadband connectivity, most Indians are turning towards smart phones with internet, often checking new offers and products on mobile app.
  • Consumer Spending Behavior: Possibly the most challenging concept in the marketing is to understand the buyer behavior. The attitude of Indian consumers has undergone a major transformation over the last few years. The Indian consumer today wants to lead a life full of luxury and comfort. Wants to live in present and does not believe in savings for the future.

Consumers now have the power of information at their fingertips, enabling them to compare and shop wide range of goods and services anytime, anywhere.

Lately, this trend has accelerated, as mobile apps have been playing larger trans-formative role to consumer fingertips.

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