Decoding the regional India consumer

India is pushing a phenomenal growth story despite lowering GDP claims and talks of reception all around. We have been witnessing this all around us – rising affluence, which drives the vast consumption. In India, emerging trends are having a huge impact on consumers’ behaviors and consumption patterns, as in other countries that are perched on the brink of rapid change.

Certain factors shape a growing market. Behind the growth landscape, we can trace an emerging story – shifting consumer behaviors, spending patterns along with rising incomes and churning of society. 

To elaborate, brands today need to focus on three areas of India’s fast-growing consumer market: rising affluence, the country’s urbanisation and the shifting pattern of the family structure. More so, let’s take a look at the surging regional markets. Yes, it is surging and how!

What’s the scenario?

Effectively, there is a blurring of lines between the aspirations of rural and small-town consumers and metro dwellers. 

So, keeping the urban consumers aside, time has come to focus on the users from rural and smaller towns. Take the ‘internet’ phenomenon. Globally, the second largest Internet user base is India, with a base of over 530 million internet users, with ever growing base specially in in Tier II-III-IV cities/towns. In addition there has been exponential growth in Indian language content apps. Evidently, the consumers here are also mobile-first users. The shift surfaced with the launch of Reliance Jio, when costs dropped (by 93 percent!), which highlighted the fact that over 65 million users on an average used the internet! Various case studies by market leaders also communicate the same story. One such is Amazon India pointing out that 88% of their new customers are coming from Tier II and III cities. 

What is the composition of the regional consumer? We have been focusing on the urban Indian millennial, using an array of apps, whether it is to book a ride, buy movie tickets to shopping online, or to grab a bite – in other words, to meet their daily needs it’s a matter of a click. Doesn’t this make our lives easier? 

Indian Regional Consumer Decoded

How do we profile the Regional India consumer? In such a vast country like India, consumers are scattered in far corners. There exists a complex mix – of varying climate, languages, lifestyle, literacy-levels, religions, customs, economic status etc. Such heterogeneity throws up myriad implications for a communicator. 

Firstly, Indian consumers are marked by great diversity – diversity in religion, language, culture, tradition, culinary, customs etc. Religious groups span across Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Parsees; moreover, there are sects, sub-sects, castes and sub-castes too. This is really marked as far as the regional consumer is involved.

Secondly, as far as lifestyles go, the scene is complex. You cannot generalise Indian consumers. Everything displays different behaviors that are revealed in the purchase, use and consumption of products and services. Culture and subculture vary from region to region – eg the North Indian culture is glaringly different from the South Indian. Social marketing also varies from region to region.  

Thirdly, aspirational levels have skyrocketed. The regional consumers today, want the best of everything their money can buy. They want to be upbeat with the global trends to get themselves cracking on the social media platforms like Tiktok. And that is where the key lies. A global aspiration wrapped in local cultures and languages. 

It is certainly complicated, when it comes to discerning the Indian consumer, who is diverse and constantly changing. Besides, the regional consumer is evolving rapidly, adapting to the change that is ruling the markets. And, the communication revolution is aiding and abetting this movement. Decoding a regional consumer involves understanding what makes him and his social fabric. We have started realising that he can’t be equated with the Metro dweller but what he really stands for, remains an ever-learning sphere. 

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Reputation Today is India’s only print magazine for Public Relations and Corporate Communications professionals. It is the official magazine of PRAXIS - India’s largest offsite summit for Public Relations and Corporate Communications.

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