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.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy Kumar is uncool! shifts in the Ad imagery in India

Ad imagery in India is evolving as the consumer shifts from functional products and brands to lifestyle and luxury brands. What’s an average Indian aspiring for?

55-year-old Happy Kumar is now a happy man. He has finally managed to buy a flat. Though his Maruti 800 is already five-years old, he believes, it will have a smooth run for his lifetime. In all these years, he has managed to collect all household appliances – be it a refrigerator, a colour television or a washing machine. He is quite content with his life. Up till the early 90s, Happy Kumar would have been considered an achiever in Indian society because he now has everything that makes his life comfortable and would last his lifetime. But today, he might be called ‘uncool’.

Kumar’s 25-year-old son, who works for a leading IT company, is an ambitious young man. He wants a house in an up-market colony, an LCD television, a mid-segment car and a highend mobile phone which would enhance his lifestyle and the family’s status in society. Between 1985 and 2005, the average household income has grown by approximately 6 percent and in the next two decades, it is expected to grow around 7 percent. At the most obvious level, it’s about the need to advertise one’s possessions. It’s about the watch that boasts of unmatched precision or the car that has been the preferred vehicle of a celebrity, or the leather handbag that was seen with a Page 3 socialite. Today, simple possessions mean a host of unique values to the owner.

Indian households are fast moving from functional products to lifestyle products. In the last decade, these consumers have faced a major challenge to their beliefs. From a market where every product or brand was rated for its durability, or cost effectiveness, the market has changed, demanding product upgrades, and even dumping of old products much more quickly. While increasing average household income and easy availability of finance has had a major contribution toward this change in mindset, the marketers have done enough to lure and inspire consumers.

Along the way, the definition and understanding of luxury, as it is understood in India today, has also evolved into something that approaches global views. For instance, when LG entered the Indian market, many Indian brands had predicted that the television market in India was already saturated. The belief was that there may be a few who would switch to colour television sets from their black and white box, but the transition would be in limited numbers as colour televisions were fairly expensive and the household had already invested in a black and white television. Plus, there was no market for discarded televisions. But brands such as LG and Akai changed the ules of the game. LG offered an exchange price for the old television sets, while Akai cracked the market by offering a Japanese brand at Indian prices.

Once the market opened up, the rest was relatively easy. As multiple brand offerings came in, a pecking order was duly established, with a brand like Sony tasting serious success. Of course, the sustained rise in prosperity means that even a Sony was not enough. Making it easier for the market to make a shift to next generation LCD’s, and that too, bigger, more expensive screens. A similar situation can also be seen in the automobile sector. Till the late 80s, simply owning a car was a luxury, with a purchase expected to serve at least two generations. When Maruti entered the middle-class homes, owning a car became a reality. The tagline ‘realise your dreams’, was apt as it re-defined the meaning of personal transport in the country. Here too, with the inevitable entry of all major brands, the market has now evolved to make space for the truly luxury offerings. As per a study done in 2007, the luxury car market is estimated to be growing by 50 percent every year.

The launch of brands such as Volkswagen Beetle or Honda Jazz – a hatchback more expensive than a sedan – corroborates the fact that Indian market has matured to accept these ‘luxury’ brands. Let’s compare two different ad spots that typify this new bridge between the old and new luxury– the latest Volkswagen Beetle TVC and another TVC of Hyundai Accent from the past. The Beetle shows a couple driving the New Beetle. As they stop and step out of the car at a cafe, a valet is shown staring at the car. The man asks the valet the charge to park the car. The smitten valet replies that it will cost Rs. 200 but in a twist to the tale, ends up paying the amount to the couple instead of taking the money from them and drives the car away.

The TVC for the Hyundai Accent is also based on a similar situation. In this, the valet salutes the owner of the car because he believes that the person is a big man as he drives a big car. This latest Beetle TVC explains that big is no more a luxury for the Indian consumer. For them, luxury is what enhances their social stature.

Another sector, which has taught the Indian consumers to upgrade to a lifestyle product frequently and enhance their image, is the telecom sector. In less than a decade, the same consumer has shifted from a black and white screen mobile phone to a colour screen mobile phone and then to a Blackberry handset. Today, the basic service is probably the cheapest part of the package, when a rich consumer opts for a mobile connection. It’s because the mobile phone has become a lifestyle statement for many – the more expensive the handset, the higher the status. This reminds me of another television commercial for a handset brand where a man hides his mobile phone because it had a black and white screen.

What drove the growth in the telecom sector - applies for IT products. In these two sectors, the value- added product was offered at no extra cost. Today, one can buy a coloured screen mobile phone at a cost lower than what he would have had paid for a black and white screen mobile phone, some eight years ago. Thus, easy availability became the next issue that helped prepare the ground for luxury further. The next dimension to luxury is the freedom to do what one wants to do and self indulgence.

Luxury brands increasingly appeal to the user’s sense of independence. With a whole new generation that has benefitted from a growing economy, and earning well, a luxury brand is now an indulgence to reward oneself. Today, it’s easy to find a L’Oreal beauty salon in the neighbourhood, in any of the Indian metros. The brand’s tagline is – ‘Because you are worth it’ – inviting people to self indulge!

The average Indian man and woman is shifting from spending just on necessities to personal products. As per a survey, if people were spending 4 percent of their income on personal products in 1995, they are expected to spend 11 percent on the same by 2015. A look at how the luxury market is growing would indicate the growth of the luxury market in India. The market for high-end watches is estimahttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifted to be at INR 600 crore and is growing at about 20 percent annually. Similarly, ownership of a private airplane, or even a helicopter, the ultimate status symbol, one might argue, has shot up over 300 percent over the past 10 years. Indians are turning luxurious by the day. Or we should just believe in Shah Rukh Khan when he says – Don’t be santusht (satisfied)! Or Karo Jyada ka Irada…

[Prajjal Saha is deputy editor, afaqs! He started his career in advertising as a copywriter for an agency called Campaign in Kolkata, and moved to journalism shortly after. His experience with the world of journalism spans over a decade. He joined afaqs! seven years ago. Previously he has worked with media2media, where he was associated with niche publications.]

Source: http://www.imagesfashion.com/content/ContentDetail.aspx?pg=1&cid=585

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