About INgene blog : First ever Indian Youth trend Insights blog

About INgene : First ever Indian Youth trend Insights blog:
This blog explores the detailed characteristics of Young-India and explains the finer & crucial differences they have with their global peers. The blog also establishes the theory of “adopted differentiation” (Copyright Kaustav SG,2007) and how the Indian & Inglodian youth are using this as a tool to differentiate themselves from the “aam aadmi” (mass population of India) to establish their new found identity.

The term youth refers to persons who are no longer children and not yet adults. Used colloquially, however the term generally refers to a broader, more ambiguous field of reference- from the physically adolescent to those in their late twenties.
Though superficially the youth all over the world exhibits similar [degree of] attitude, [traits of] interests & [deliverance of] opinion but a detailed observation reveals the finer differential characteristics which are crucial and often ignored while targeting this group as a valued consumer base. India is one of the youngest countries in the world with 60% of its population less then 24 years of age and is charted as the most prospective destination for the retail investment in the A. T. Kearney’s Global Retail Opportunity Report, 2007. With the first ever non-socialistic generation’s thriving aspiration & new found money power combined with steadily growing GDP, bubbling IT industry and increasing list of confident young entrepreneurs, the scenario appears very lucrative for the global and local retailers to target the “Youngisthan” (young-India). But, the secret remains in the understanding of the finer AIOs of this generation. The Indian youth segment roughly estimates close to 250million (between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five) and can be broadly divided (socio-psychologically) into three categories: the Bharatiyas, the Indians & the Inglodians (copyright Kaustav SG 2008). The Bharatiyas estimating 67% of the young population lives in the rural (R1, R2 to R4 SEC) areas with least influence of globalization, high traditional values. They are least economically privileged, most family oriented Bollywood influenced generation. The Indians constitute 31.5% (A, B,C, D & E SEC) and have moderate global influence. They are well aware of the global trends but rooted to the Indian family values, customs and ethos. The Inglodians are basically the creamy layers (A1,A SEC) and marginal (1.5% or roughly three million) in number though they are strongly growing (70% growth rate). Inglodians are affluent and consume most of the trendy & luxury items. They are internet savvy & the believers of global-village (a place where there is no difference between east & west, developing & developed countries etc.), highly influenced by the western music, food, fashion & culture yet Indian at heart.








Saturday, March 15, 2008

survey on indian youth- 15/3/08

India, a country with faster economical growth fuelled by the aspiring younger generation (below 30 years) tops in A. T. Kearney’s Global Retail Investment Report 2007 among 30 emerging markets. Though, 57% of fashion retailers are targeting youth to sell their product there is no specialized marketing & trend forecasting agency to cater this segment. Without prior survey and understanding the retailers are blindly following the trends of USA or Europe and expecting that the Indian youth will embrace the same without even blinking their eyes. The results are disastrous, which can be seen in the immature death and burial of homegrown & International brands each year. In India, the climate, customs, idols, psychology and attitude of youth are not the same as their peers abroad (though superficially in a broader scale they “appears” same).
Mr. Kaustav senGupta, Asst. Professor and Centre Coordinator of Department of Fashion & Lifestyle Accessories, NIFT Chennai has done a survey on globally sensitive economically affluent young Indians (15 to 24 years) for last 3 years on the attitude & behavior, likings & aspirations, dreams & nightmares covering 4 A1 cities and 3 A2 cities (832 respondents, mostly the “innovators” and motivating leaders among the groups) and came out with interesting facts that will change the outlook of fashion & media mentors. The compiled data and his predictions are available in the form of ‘fact book” and ‘direction book”. The research methodology includes primary data collection, secondary data gathering, group discussion, individual interviews, discussion with the economists & sociologists, Statical analysis with psycho-demographical study.

Some of the facts are as follows:

Communication & Media :
Most of the aspiring young Indians “hate” books (or “don’t have time to read”…as they say) other than the study materials...girls prefer to swipe through magazines (glamorous, glossy and with interesting visuals)…most favored magazines are: Cosmopolitan, Elle, Vogue India, M.
A few favorite books and authors of last year are: The Vinci code, Harry Potter, Sidney Sheldon and Dan Brown …so, it will be better to avoid magazines and books to communicate to the younger urban generation at large.
Social networking sites are the main source of “being in touch”…Orkut is the most popular one…though the trend is moving from mass to niche networks.
The language is changing. English is no longer the same as what we see in contemporary advertisements. The mass media have to review their word books. A few examples are :
Tym = Time, Bro = Brother, Nu = New , D/ Da = The, Hez = He is, Coz = Because
Bt = But, Lyk = Like, Lolz = Lots of laugh, Nd = And, Nyway = Anyway, Hw = How
Frndz = Friends, Bout = About, Ppl = People, Lyf = Life, Vry = Very, V = we, Wid = with, Plz = Please, Gr8 = Great, I c = I see, Luv ya / u = love you, Dis = This, 2gethr = Together, Lettin’ = Letting , Fav / fev = Favorite, G2g = Get togo, Watvr = Whatever
Mwwahh / muuah = A gesture of affection / love, Wzzup = What’s up, Muzik = Music
Gal = Girl, Cud = could, Coll = college, 2 b contd = to be continued , Yap /yeh, Nup / nops, Gud = good, K = ok, Tk cr = take care, In2 = into etc.
And, breaking alphabetic orders like : PrIyAnKa …nExT…
These words are to ‘make d life ezy’…as they says.

This generation is not much into TV. They just check the sports, news, music videos and movies…Indian soaps are boring and blunt.
Blogs are the new ways to “be informed” and ‘recognized”. The idols and “inspiring team leaders” are getting popular through blogs. Even the anger and protests are spread through blogs. So, the traditional way of protests are changing. The political parties should look at it. The days of gathering under the sun and breaking the voice is gone.
The movies should be of action or sentimental …mainly retro or futuristic . A mix of newly defined patriotism with action or sentiment is going to be the sure hit…the aspirations of foreign land is gone. Today’s youth thinks that Singapore is great for a shopping trip, Malaysia for spending few days over the beach, UK for clubbing, Europe for a 10 days refreshing trip but India is better to live forever. “ahh here we have freedom…where else can u spit in road? Hah”
Music scenes are changing along with the roaring night life. For music they look towards America. Rock, Hip hop, Trance (Tech, Tribal, Progressive), House music, Psychedelic and Lounge are some of the popular one in clubs and discs. Most ranked artists are: 50cent, Eminem, Linkin park.

The best advertisement strategy should be the “word of mouth” and guerilla marketing then the traditional ones in print and TV.

Fashion, Attitude, Lifestyle and Food habit:

They are becoming “exhibitionist’ in nature. Loves to showoff to differentiate themselves from the “mass” or to connect themselves with the “better Indians’
This generation is becoming more and more “individualistic”. By look and lifestyle. Everybody peruses to be the perfect idol or team leader.
Cell phone is the most wanted gadget, with lesser and lesser lifecycles (to be in fashion). The most wanted gadget is i-pod and i-phone. Online gaming (plus role playing) is the ‘in thing’. Those who are working in BPOs and call centers are getting used with the ‘nicknames’ and ‘role-playing’ faster (with their dual life structure). The survey shows that more and more youth are doing a night shift in call center to earn extra bucks…sometimes without the knowledge of their parents.
For girls the favorite article to cling on (other than the cell phone) is “teddy”.
Weekend clubbing is ‘in’ and “pub surfing till stoned’ in weekend nights are one of the common sports / amusements.
In overall attitude Indian youths are “patriot at heart” (softer, happy & sentimental in nature)…and they are a perfect blend of ethnic styling with western attitude. They balance in between the “showoff” outdoor and “pleasing parents” indoor.
“Style tribes” are still a far cry but “goth-ism”, “soft punk” and “hiphop” are a few favorite ones.
Girls feel attracted to “wealth, tattoos, long hair, thrills” in opposite sex while boys looks for “intelligence & overall look”.
This generation is not much into active sports (other than watching…) but going to gym is “cool”.
The survey says that the trustworthiness is going down. But, still they remain loyal to a brand if the brand constantly provides them the ‘attitude’ they are looking for.
The family value is still high. 89% respondents replied that the most important thing in their life is “friends & family”.
The “arranged marriage” phenomenon is out. But they want the parents to be involved in the process of marriage, even if it’s a pure “love marriage”.
The most favorite character (in regards to attitude) of the year is “captain sparrow”…Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean…”
Interestingly, Most of them wants the occupation of their “own’…not a service. Wants to be the entrepreneur.
DJing/ turntable is a hip profession (may be supported by one or more “day time” jobs)
The most favorite unisexual colors are black & white. Boys loves blues and rugged while the girls are more into pinks and ethnic mix
Tattooing and piercing is ‘in” (39% respondents has tattoos and 62% has piercing in different body parts)
Sneakers are the most favorite shoe style along with the open toe slip-ons & flip-flops.
All of them loves “ghar ke kana” or ‘ma ki hath ka bana hua…” other than the Chinese, Continental and Mughal dishes.


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the survey will be published monthly once.
Copyright to :

Kaustav SenGupta
Asst. Professor & Centre Coordinator
National Institute of Fashion Technology
Chennai

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Interesting...found in net...

Booming and Bubbling India- XIX

Posted : September 24, 2007 at 6:19 am [IST]

The economy is on song, (despite recent dat revealing a suspected slowdown in manufacturing growth), and India Inc. is in rapid expansion mode. This the way a report starts on a feature, ‘India is now world’s 7th largest IPO market’. It is not one sector or one institution that is on move. India is marching ahead with all its problems and speedbreakers.

From a count of zero last year, four Indian companies- Hindustan Unilever (HUL, ranked No 4), Infosys (10), ICICI Bank (19) and Wipro (20) have made it this year to the global list of Top Companies for Leaders -2007, a survey conducted by Hewitt associates in paternership with The RBL Group and Fortune Magazine.

Where to Next for India? The vast majority of the global Fortune 1000 companies agree that India is indeed worth the effort. Indian companies can innovate, build capacity in areas not generally seen as a strength, and be aggressive in expanding-beyond a predominantly U.S. focus-into Asian markets.

Sensex records single biggest gain: The Bombay Stock Exchange’s barometer Sensex on Wednesday crossed the magical 16,000-point in style, with the single biggest all-time gain of 653 points, as a cut in US interest rates triggered a buying spree in Mumbai. Experts predict it to reach 19K, and inflation slips to 3.32%, and the rupee hits a nine-year high as a sharp cut in interest rates by the US Federal Reserve increased appetite for emerging market assets and a surging stock market attracted capital inflows.

PE deals hit record $10.8 bn in 8 months: For the first time, private equity (PE) investments in India have already crossed the $10-billion mark in a calendar year, with over three months still to go in 2007, as against the total value of PE deals announced stood at $7.86 billion in 2006. The total value of equity deals involving Indian companies is now nudging the $60-billion mark.

Indian executives dread foreign postings: Gone are the days when an overseas posting would necessarily bring cheer. While Indian CEOs often don’t want to move, companies insist these postings are a means of giving their senior executives international exposure.

Organic farming changes fortune of Rajasthani farmers: Farmers in villages in Jhunjhunu district are experiencing the steady incomes generated by organic farming.

India-UK trade to cross 10 bn pounds: “There has been a step-up in the India-UK trade which is expected to cross 10 billion pounds this year.” With the surge in bilateral investment, trade between India and Germany is likely to double to 20 billion euro in the next five years and as a result, Germany would rise to become India’s second largest trade partner from its current fourth position after the US, UK and Japan, according to a FICCI-KPMG paper.

Indian financial mkts projected at $17 trillion:India’s financial markets size was estimated to race from under USD one trillion to 17 trillion by 2025 as globalisation led opportunities shift from veteran markets to emerging markets, according to an IBM study.

Rs46, 000 cr link to North-East planned: The Union government is proposing a massive investment of Rs46, 000 crore to set up new power transmission capacity, which, by 2012, could move 46,000MW of power from the North-East region and Bhutan; and will connects the North-East to the rest of India.

Left-ruled Kerala gets high on India’s IT boom: In a state that has shunned global corporate giants such as Microsoft Corp. and Coca-Cola Co, the tech industry raked in $60 million last year. Kerala’s fledgling tech industry has attracted hundreds of tech firms from the West, raking in more than $60 million (Rs243 crore) last year (may be tiny but growing slice of India’s $50 billion tech industry).

Omnitech Info enters into JV with Japanese firm: Omnitech Infosolutions Ltd has entered into an agreement with Japanese firm Sanwell Company Ltd (SWL) for setting up a Joint venture - Arham Technologies Company Ltd (ATCL) with a total investment of $ 1million (Rs 4crore) to undertake business in IT consultancy, software development for embedded systems, infrastructure management and performance management services for telecom, banking and financial services for Japanese market.

Moser plans Rs 2,000cr PV plant near Chennai: New Delhi-based leading optical storage media manufacturer Moser Baer (India) has chosen Chennai to set up a Rs 2,000 crore solar photovoltaic fabrication facility.

TutorVista expands global classroom: TutorVista, which broke new ground by offering personalised customer services through online tutoring to students in the US from India, has just extended its reach to the UK and Korea. English language tuition to Koreans is being seen as testing waters that also lap the shores of China and Japan. And its next target is teaching Spanish, the second most-spoken language in the world.

India’s largest power plant ahead of schedule: Mundra project that would comprise of five super-critical units of 800 Mw each is progressing on schedule, or rather “ahead of schedule.” Orders for equipment have already been placed with Japan’s Toshiba and Korea’s Doosan.

Media Labs Asia brings education to the doorsteps of tribals: Media Labs Asia is a body established by the Ministry of communication and Information Technology - in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Vigyan Ashram and Bhatke Vimukta Vikas Pratishthan to train over 100 children of denotified nomadic tribes in Maharashtra.

Visual effects, made in India: Prime Focus, transports the 1,400 VFX (visual effects) shots to London, there is a sense that Indian studios are coming of age and executing high-end shots for big international releases. Tata Elxsi’s visual computing lab (VCL) is working on an episodic 3D series for a North American client and doing visual effects for a project for one of the largest studios of Hollywood.

More Indians enrolling with Australia universities: India contributed 42,798 full-fee enrolments in Australian universities, demonstrating 60.9 per cent growth on YTD June 2006, higher than China’s growth on YTD June 2006, which stood at 13.8 per cent. Indians now are the third largest migrant group in Australia after the British and the New Zealanders.

Four Indian Americans make it to Forbes list: Four Indian Americans - Acoustics pioneer Amar Bose, Google founder director Kavitark Shriram, venture capitalist Vinod Khosla and Bharat Desai CEO of an info-tech outsourcing firm - have made it to the Forbes list of richest Americans.

OVL wins three exploration blocks in Myanmar: ONGC Videsh Ltd, the overseas arm of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), has won three offshore exploration blocks in Myanmar.

Insurance BPO to create $2-bn revenue, one lakh jobs: India has emerged as a net gainer with the country likely to generate $2-billion revenue and over one lakh jobs through insurance outsourcing business by 2010, according to a KPMG report. The size of the industry is over 1,500 property and casualty insurance companies and 1,300 health insurance firms in the US alone that makes insurance outsourcing an attractive market.

Jewellery exports post 24% growth: The domestic jewellery industry is glittering with exports posting more than 24% growth in the first five months of the fiscal with the demand for Indian jewellery surging and the global sales of diamond increasing manifold. In terms of value, the exports rose to $7,752.45 million in April-August 2007 against $6,237.32 million a year ago.

Skoda to set up turbine facility: Czech power company Skoda Power AS is setting up a turbine manufacturing facility at Hyderabad at an investment of around Rs2, 000 crore that will be set up in four phases, and will be completed by 2011 to help the fast growing power generation sector on the equipment supply front, as India has been coping with shortfalls in power generation equipment.

CAM man wins global recognition: Tapan Parikh, a doctoral student at the University of Washington and founder of Ekgaon Technologies, is the winner of the TR35 2007 Young Innovator award, instituted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published magazine Technology Review. Parikh received global recognition as the 2007 Humanitarian of the Year for his effort to help small business people by making mobile phones a more effective and result-oriented medium. Microfinance groups in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are using CAM, the mobile device developed by Parikh to increase productivity and earn more money in diverse as well as traditional businesses they are involved with.

Benetton to make India major hub: Apparel major the Benetton Group, which has a presence in 120 countries around the world and produces 130 million garments every year, will make India its major sourcing hub for fabrics to cater to markets like South America, Russia, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and Japan.

Four Indian companies bag global corporate awards: Four Indian companies, Oil and Natural Gas Corp and NTPC Ltd from the public sector, and Jubilant Organosys and GTL from the private sector, have been selected for the Global Award for emerging economies as part of the annual Golden Peacock Awards for corporate excellence.

Closing the gap on developed countries: Outbound deals have been steadily increasing for the past three years, culminating in 32 deals being recorded in the first half of 2007. North America was by far the most popular destination for Indian acquirers, being responsible for 18 of those deals.

New car buyers seek design, performance: Nearly 45 per cent of buyers of recently launched vehicle models tend to evaluate at least one other new vehicle model during the shopping process, compared to buyers of models that have been on the market for two or more years (37 per cent), according to a JD Power study.

Canada names fossil after Lucknow-based geologist: Canadian government officials and scientists had recently met at Canada’s Portugal Cove South city where two top geologists - Guy Narbonne from Canada and Jim Gehling from Australia - announced the new name of one of the many fossils discovered by SB Misra in the late 1960s.

Jet Airways bags international award: India’s largest private air carrier Jet Airways has been honoured with the Avion Award for the Best Overall In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) for small airlines worldwide.

Ericsson in push for rural broadband: Swedish telecom equipment maker Telefon AB LM Ericsson has launched a trial project in Tamil Nadu to showcase its rural broadband offering, which could enable the delivery of telemedicine and interactive education services at an affordable price in India’s villages.

India’s M&A average: two deals a day: India Inc continued with its M&A frenzy in August, striking an average of two deals a day, a marginal increase over the previous month’s deal numbers, but over three-fold jump in value terms. A total of 62 M&A deals valued at $3.37 billion were announced in August, against 59 deals worth about $0.94 billion in July, according to data compiled by Grant Thornton.

India new launchpad for auto giants: India is turning out to be the new launch pad for global car models as major carmakers prefer India to Europe and the American markets.

US cos could save $9.9 b thru outsourcing: Estimating that US businesses could be sitting on $9.9 billion in potential infrastructure savings through outsourcing, a latest Forrester study has found that companies that have outsourced, in the past, ended up with 12-17 per cent cost savings.

Refining capacity to be raised by 92 million tons: The government would augment the country’s oil refining capacity by 92 million tons from the present 149 million tons in the 11th plan through installation of four grass-root refineries.

Electronics hardware exports up 30% in FY07: The country exported electronics hardware worth Rs12,500 crore in 2006-07, up 30% from 2005-06, with North America accounting for more than a quarter of it at Rs3,410.95 crore.As per estimates of Department of Information Technology, 125 countries imported software while 191 countries imported hardware from India in 2006-07. In 2005-06, the electronics hardware export was worth Rs9,625 crore.

Reliance Energy eyes coal mines abroad: India’s No. 2 private power producer, Reliance Energy Ltd, is scouting for coal mines overseas.”We are looking at opportunities to acquire coalmines in Indonesia, Australia, Africa and Mozambique,

Selling Computers to India: Lately, China’s growth has started to slow, and the industry’s leaders have started to recognize the potential of the region’s other giant market, India. This year, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Lenovo, and Acer have all announced major initiatives there, making India one of their key battlegrounds. Best of all, the demand is coming not just from multinationals and big Indian companies, but also from consumers and small businesses.

Young Indians are Happiest in the world: Young middle-class Indians are the happiest people of all and much more satisfied with all aspects of their lives compared with other nationalities, according to a new global survey by Swedish research and consulting firm Kairos Future. Further, work comes as top priority for Indian youth, followed by a good career and higher status. In contrast, for those in Europe, a good living environment comes on top and above all work-related aspects, Kairos Future said.

FDI inflow outpaces portfolio investment: Reversing the past trend, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the country outpaced portfolio investment by almost $5.6 billion in 2006-07. The FDI inflows during the fiscal worked out to be $21.19 billion, while portfolio investments touched $15.62 billion, according to a report on the International Investment Position (IIP) of India released by the RBI.

BSE market cap breaches Rs50-trillion mark: The record breaking rally in the country’s stock market today pushed the total investor wealth past the Rs50,00,000 crore milestone for the first time in its history. The cumulative market capitalisation of all the 4,500-odd companies listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange, the world’s biggest bourse in terms of listed firms, soared to a new peak of Rs 50,18,265.06 crore on 21 September.

India’s retail to create 20 lakh jobs in 2 years: Organised retail, which is growing at 30 per cent annually on strong income growth and favourable government policies, is expected to create up to 20 lakh jobs in the next two years, says a study.

A new study on income inequalities in India says average incomes have risen sharply for the bottom 20% of the population by nearly 10% in rural and urban areas, between 1993-94 and 2004-05

Vienna push for small reactor export: The IAEA today adopted a landmark resolution moved by India to promote the development and deployment of small and medium nuclear reactors for countries with small electricity grids. The resolution is in line with India’s goals of exporting homegrown 220MW pressurised heavy water reactors to developing countries. India is the only country that produces such small reactors suitable for small electricity grids.

India’s Cell-Phone Ride Out of Poverty: Struggling artisans and tradespeople in rural India are finding that mobile phones are their ticket to better sales and better lives. Dominating the mobile handset landscape in India is Nokia with a 74% market share. As for service providers, at last count, there were 13 mobile-phone operators, with Bharti Airtel leading the pack with a 24% share and Vodafone (VOD ) in third place with a 17% share.

And India wins, India in final: India swept to a stunning victory over Australia to earn the right to take on Pakistan in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 in Johannesburg on Monday.
Chak De! India.

- Indra

Source: http://drishtikona.com/archives/industrymanagement/001862.php

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Why the Indian consumer is different
February 20, 2007 13:02 IST

That the Indian consumer is a breed apart was demonstrated in the latest global ACNielsen Consumer Confidence and Opinions Survey.

Indicator: even as India once again topped the 45-country survey with a consumer confidence index of 137, suggesting the highest optimism about the future, Indian consumers do not seem to be willing to spend much.

The country does not figure in the top 10 spenders' list for any of the categories, except for investing in shares and mutual funds, where it leads the world.

On the other hand, more than half the respondents from the country keep their spare cash in bank accounts, while they are in the lower 30th percentile when it comes to choosing holidays and new clothes. That's a very different pattern, for example, from the Russians and the Thais, who while scoring a lower 107 in consumer confidence, are on top of the respective lists when it comes to updating wardrobes and taking holidays.
India stands out again while factoring in "concern areas" as reflected in consumer confidence: apart from terrorism, the country does not appear in the top 10 list for any of the areas of concern.

Further, it is seventh in the list of countries that have no worries at all! The conclusions are mutually reinforcing: even though Indians are on a high, with minimum worries and high confidence about job prospects and the economy, they remain conservative when it comes to spending.

What does such consumer behaviour mean? One, despite the higher growth in spends by consumers in recent years, the continued conservatism shows that, in many areas, the market potential may only have been scratched at the surface.
The second implication would be that the higher consumer confidence could in itself be a reflection of the fact that they are conservative spenders. Because, while they are not free-wheeling shoppers, they also top the charts in savings in mutual funds and shares. There is a financial foundation on which their confidence is built.

What should companies be doing while targeting this special breed of consumers? The obvious answer would be to make brands more relevant for them. Smart companies are already doing this by regionalising their brands.
Second, there is the need to identify future growth segments and start building a knowledge base from this perspective. ITC has managed the transition in recent years from a company that mostly had an understanding of male preferences (cigarettes) to understanding the housewife as well.

Third, companies should ride on both well-entrenched trends as well as those which are yet to be established. The focus on health and well being is an emerging trend which companies like Pepsi (through Tropicana) are riding on. On the other hand, Hindustan Lever has identified "return to nature" and "increased social consciousness" as factors to tailor its communication for Surf.

Source: http://in.rediff.com/money/2007/feb/20guest1.htm
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Who is the real Indian consumer?
February 14, 2007 08:32 IST

Who is the real Indian consumer? The one who believes the job market will explode or the one who fears it will blow up in his face?

The one who thinks this is a good time to shop, or the one who stashes away money in savings accounts and dabbles in the stockmarket? The one who is sure his wallet will be healthier this time next year or the one spending sleepless nights worrying about the state of the economy? The latest round of the ACNielsen Consumer Confidence and Opinions Survey seems to suggest that the answer lies somewhere in between.

According to the survey, which was conducted in October/ November 2006, Indians are the most optimistic consumers in the world - again. At 137, India is at the top of the consumer confidence index for the fourth time in a row, an all-time high: the June 2006 score of 131 was a point lower than the previous round.

The optimism seems to have extended across the world, but the global and regional scores seem decidedly mediocre when compared with India. While the global index has climbed one point to 99, the Asia Pacific region moved up four points to settle at 98.

Still, the Indian consumer's confidence doesn't seem to translate readily into a willingness to spend. The country doesn't figure in the top 10 spenders' list for any of the choices, except investing in shares and mutual funds, where it leads the world.

Instead, over half the respondents still keep their spare cash in bank accounts, while those choosing holidays and new clothes are in the lower 30th percentile.

Compare that with the Russians and the Thais, who score a relatively lower 107 in consumer confidence, but are top of the list when it comes to updating wardrobes (Russia's [ Images ] fashionistas lead with 74 per cent preferring to spend spare roubles on new clothes) and taking frequent breaks (Thailand, with 67 per cent).

Even if they keep a tight hold on the purse strings, Internet users from India turned out be the most upbeat on all issues polled. Roughly 505 respondents from the country were surveyed - just one less than the number last year - and all appeared overwhelmingly optimistic about prospects in the job market and the state of the economy.

And 95 per cent think local job prospects will be good in the next 12 months, while 88 per cent feel the same way about the state of their wallets - the highest scores not just in Apac, but across the world.

About 68 per cent think this is a good time to buy things they want or need, a climb back to the optimism of 2005. Here, India is just slightly behind Denmark - 71 per cent Danes believe it is the right time to go shopping.

The highs and lows

The ACNielsen survey is the largest bi-annual study of its kind. The October round was conducted with over 25,000 respondents from 45 countries, including 15 from the Apac region.

Unlike last time, though, when six of the 10 most confident countries were from the region, this time's high scorers represent all the continents, except Africa (there's only one country from Africa on the list, South Africa [ Images ], which scored an even 100 in consumer confidence).

Norway and Denmark have maintained their positions as second and third most optimistic nations - their scores of 134 and 129, respectively, are higher than last time and significantly higher than the score for their region: 93.

But that's probably because Europe continues to have the dubious honour of dominating the bottom of the list: as in the last round, seven of the most pessimistic countries are from that continent. Austria, Italy [ Images ], France [ Images ], Turkey, Germany [ Images ], Hungary and Portugal all score below the global and regional averages for consumer confidence.

The least optimistic, though, remains an Apac member. South Koreans are almost as gloomy about their prospects as last time, although their index has gone up two points to 56.

Close to 92 per cent expect job prospects in the next 12 months to range from not-so-good to unapologetically bad, while 85 per cent think this is a bad time to shop - the worst figures for the region. If you were thinking of launching new products and brands in these markets, perhaps a slight postponement may be in order.

What is the outlook like, then, for the rest of the region and globally? Not everybody is as optimistic as the Indians.

On the contrary, across Apac, 59 per cent believe this is a bad time to shop, and close to half the respondents don't expect much by way of job prospects and improvement in personal finances. Those percentages hold true, more or less, for the rest of the world as well.

The Americas buck the trend to some extent. While 70 per cent of Latin American respondents believe their money positions will be better a year from now, close to half their neighbours to the North are readying for shopping sprees.

The optimism in North America is surprising, given the general sentiment against President Bush, rising health and college costs, a weak real estate market and, of course, the war in Iraq.

Worry warts

Not surprisingly, war and terrorism is top of mind for North Americans, more so than anywhere else in the world. Over 23 per cent said it would be a major concern over the next six months, with 11 per cent giving it top priority.

The figures for worries over terrorism are identical (perhaps understandably, though, India is the most worried about terrorism, with 31 per cent citing it as their major concern). The world averages for war and terrorism are much lower, at 11 and 15 per cent, respectively.

Instead, the usual three worries take centrestage on the minds of netizens across the world. About 39 per cent cite the economy as a major concern; health issues give 34 per cent sleepless nights, while 32 per cent fret over job stability.

The order of priority is maintained across Apac as well, only the intensity of the concern increases. Close to half the region worries about the economy, health concerns dog 41 per cent and job security is an issue with 38 per cent of the respondents.

The Indian consumer's insouciance shows in the numbers: apart from terrorism, the country doesn't appear in the top 10 lists for any of the listed areas of concern. And it is in seventh place in the list of countries who have no worries at all, with 15 per cent Indians adopting a "what, me worry?" attitude. The most laidback consumers appear to be the Dutch: one in four says he has no major concerns.

Compared to the regional average of 45 per cent, just 27 per cent Indians - the lowest in the regional - name the economy as a major concern over the next six months; that's a 22 percentage point drop since the last round.

There's a slight increase in those worrying about their health: 30 per cent now, compared to 26 per cent six months earlier. But anxiety over job security is down, too, with only 31 per cent naming it as a major worry.

But, in a sense, even those numbers are high when compared with respondents' perceptions of their job prospects and financial situation.

Remember, just 5 per cent Indians thought local employment opportunities would be "not so good" in the coming year - nobody opted for "bad". And only 12 per cent felt the same way about the shape their wallets would be in a year from now. That optimism doesn't really tie in with nearly a third staying up nights worrying about these issues.

Shopping carnivals

So where does that leave Indian manufacturers seeking markets and customers for their products? Perhaps they should head for South America, instead. Apparently, there's a continent full of people there who are eager to spend good money on new clothes, holidays and parties, new technology and even doing up their homes.

Latin America's scores are consistently higher than the global average on most decisions regarding spare cash: even the region's consumer confidence index, at 102, is higher than the global 99.

Unlike Apac respondents who prefer (49 per cent) to rest their disposable incomes in savings accounts, less than 40 per cent of Latin Americans follow that practice. Instead, they prefer to spend their spare cash on new technology and out of home entertainment (42 per cent each), new clothes (40 per cent) and decorating their homes (38 per cent).

Equally significantly, just 8 per cent of South American respondents said they had no spare cash. Compare that with those living paycheque to paycheque in other parts of the world: 20 per cent in North America and 13 per cent in Europe.

Clearly this is a market waiting to be tapped. (For the record, Indian companies have already woken up to the region's potential: last year trade with Latin America crossed $5.3 billion.)

Like their counterparts across the world, consumers in Apac still prefer to keep their money in savings accounts, with holidays, new clothes and out of home entertainment following in no particular order.

Most consumers seem to be house proud, and Indians are no exception: 39 per cent prefer to keep their spare rupees to do up their homes. That's higher than the global and regional averages (26 and 22 per cent, respectively).

Indians are clearly still more debt and risk averse than the rest of the region. Compared to the Apac figure of 25 per cent, about 32 per cent of Indian consumers prefer to pay off debts and credit cards with any spare cash, while 52 per cent left it in the bank. Or are they?

An almost equal number (49 per cent) said they bought shares and mutual funds with their disposable income, up from 40 per cent in the last round. Clearly, the lure of the rising Sensex is still irresistible.

How it was done

The ACNielsen Online Consumer Confidence and Opinion Survey covers more than 25,000 internet users around the world every six months - representing a global online population of close to 1 billion consumers.

The survey was launched as an Asia Pacific initiative about six years ago, before "going global" at the of 2004. The latest survey, conducted in October/ November 2006, polled Net users in 45 markets.

In the Asia Pacific region, the countries surveyed are: Australia [ Images ], China, New Zealand [ Images ], Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan [ Images ], South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines. About 500 people were interviewed in each country.

Three questions are used to calculate the consumer confidence index. They relate to job prospects in the next 12 months; the state of the respondent's personal finances in the next 12 months; and, based on the cost of things and the respondent's personal finances, whether or not it's a good time to buy things he wants and needs.

The scale of answers to all three questions are: Excellent, Good, Not so good and Bad. To calculate the index, each response was given values: Excellent (200), Good (133.3), Not so good (66.6) and Bad (0).

Source: http://www.rediff.com/money/2007/feb/14con.htm

1 comment:

Prashant said...

Well the report is really a usful and exciting one but, while reading it only one doubt raises in the mind that what are the demographics of the youths referred here. Whate %ge of them are villagers and urban, what is their income level(naturallu guardians income level if they are not earning). If the report wold have been segmented accordingally then it would have been more reliable. prahantcthakur@gmail.com