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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

tablet war

the battle of tablets are in full swing! Last year, DataWind in association with the Government of India came out with a 7 inch Android tablet for students. Named Aakash, the tablet costs Rs 2,999 in the market; while its subsidised rate is just Rs 2,250. Aakash, which was hailed as the cheapest tablet in the world, was projected as revolutionary and was talked about the world over. In fact, its makers got lakhs of pre-orders. Before the euphoria could die down, though, public sector telecom operator BSNL has come out with an extremely low cost tablet of its own. Manufactured by Noida based Pantel Technologies, the Penta IS701R tablet has WiFi and is priced at Rs 3,499.
The tablet market is clearly getting divided among the have ("I have an iPad") to haven't ("I can't afford an iPad, hence the cheapest is better"). The marketers are missing the concept of "disposable gadgets" (use it for a year and renew it to a newer one) ! Today, like other products, the gadgets have very less life (before its faded into the "uncool" category) and almost no resale value. The marketers should en-cash it and sell the "cheap" gadgets as "disposable one" rather than calling it as cheap / for poor!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The greed and death of massification

The recent hiccups in Blackberry’s network and deliverance brought another interesting case study on why going to mass looks lucrative but can be a killer, in India.

The earlier case study where I argued that the hibernation and certain death of Orkut (the first ever “ice age” social network in this subcontinent) was due to the sudden “en-mass” appeal of it.

India is clearly divided in between “have” and “have not”. The have will always try to float ahead of have not and prove that they are away from the clutter. A struggle for “identity” (the flick kick of “struggle for existence”) is what defines a product in this subcontinent.

Many products understood it early and succeeded or they got it as they have evolved. For example, Facebook now has the “timeline” app that differentiates one who “knows” the apps from the one who’s mass citizen of FB and not app savvy! In future FB will add more features that will distinctly divide FB India between “Have” and “Have not” (need not be the economic definition but social currency). Now the blackberry is available at a price of any smart phone in India and hence it’s moving towards the mass.

This massification will eventually kill Blackerry’s charisma and convert it into another museum piece like Nokia. The consumption psychology and adapted differentiation theory has to be well placed before the “greed” of capturing the “whole India”.

The global consumer trends and influential local trends among youth in India

Below are few pivotal macro trends that are emerging in the global consumer scenario:

1. Personalization and interactivity: the consumers are demanding more personalized products that will have a story to tell and will be capable of “interacting” with the user in a smarter manner. The “mute” products with no relevant stories to be connected are appearing as “dead” products to display one’s association. Right from the Levi’s “custom fitted” denim to the Gucci bag “for a cause” (where the money donated for the betterment of AIDs patients in Africa) has their own stories to tell and carry over. Even in the luxury watch segment, the customized watches with personal touch (ie. Writing one’s most memorable incident in the dial, a miniature tattoo at the back or the number of diamonds equal to the age of the consumer) are in demand.

2. Environment friendly, organic, recyclable or ethical: with the growing awareness of global warming, ozone layer destruction and carbon credits, the global consumers are looking for products that will enable them to exhibit their belonging to the cause. The survey also suggests that the consumers are willing to pay more if the products are eco-friendly, recyclable or ethically produced. The organic shapes are becoming predominant in product design.

3. Multi functional: Consumers are looking for products that will have multi functionality. A mobile that can also function as a computer and a TV, a laptop that will also be a data warehouse, mobile office, TV etc. or a jewel that can be worn at multiple occasions with equal relevance and adorning various body parts.

4. Globally local: the local products with global essence are in vogue. Right from the discovery of long lost jewellery craft skills to the herbal local medicines the consumers are becoming conscious (and proud) about their local heritage and craftsmanship.

The Indian young consumers will look for three distinct yet interconnected product directions: the affordable affluence, cultural & social connectivity and power prominence.

An affordable product that doesn’t “appear” affordable will be in trend. The retailers must carefully choose the promotional mode so that the products doesn’t overtly exhibit the essence of being affordable or otherwise the product fate can be similar to the “people’s car” Nano! Today the consumers don’t like the fact that the products will loudly speak their “cheapness” thus demeaning the economic status of the user.

Consumers will love to reconnect with the glorious past and redefined heritage with eagerness to contribute to social cause. The Corporate Social Responsibility will also emerge as a defining factor of the product. Protecting the heritage will fuse with CRM. The pseudo luxury of acquiring the gold / diamond will move to real luxury of philanthropic activities.

The Power of womanhood has to reflect in the product. The retro trends of 80’s “power women” will be back with extravaganza. The designs should suit the varied role of young women in contemporary social environment.

The recently published Juxt Indian Women 2011 study report (in the Marketing Whitebook 2011-2012) states that the order of priorities for Indian women in different strata has been changed from the previously perceived one. The highest priority in life is money (76%) which comes above family (35%) and taking care of children (15%)! The romantic relationship (2%) and spiritual experience (1%) is at the bottom of the list. One must be wondering of why the money is in the top of priority list and what the ladies will do with this money? Will not they be tempted to flaunt their newly acquired economic power? Will not they be taking their own decisions without depending on their counterparts? Will not they love to “wear” their power rather than appearing as a decorated (by the family members) docile housewife? The luxury and fashion is an essential tool to exhibit one’s monitory power so that she can access the desired social status denied till date. In the slow economy scenario, fashion is also an essential trait to exhibit that one is far ahead of the “have not” / grassroots (who will presumably suffer in economic downfall). As the Valblen’s theory of Conspicuous Consumption states, the over consumption is one method to show that one is “having power to consume”. The new Indian women in corporate and political arena are proving that they can play the pivotal role when it comes to appear “strong yet emotional” and they can also camouflage well within the social norms. The latest directional trends towards men’s checks and prints being introduced among female shirts, the broad shouldered suits, the stilettos and the “manly” BlackBerry mobile

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kaustav was quoted at WGSN trend insight report

Recently Kaustav was quoted in the insight report of WGSN (www.wgsn.com), a leading trend forecast agency. A snapshot is added. For more details, please visit the original website of WGSN.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Indians are among the happiest!

Notwithstanding the economic woes and conflicts, the world is a happier place now than what it was in 2007 and Indians are among the happiest on this planet, says a survey.
According to a poll conducted by global research company Ipsos, despite woes, conflicts, world a happier place than in 2007 as 22 per cent (up 2 points) of global citizens say they are "very happy" and the happiest people reside in Indonesia, India and Mexico.While eight in 10 (77 per cent) citizens in 24 countries surveyed said they are 'happy' in their lives, one quarter (22 per cent) said they are 'very happy' ? a key measure that identifies comparative depth and intensity of happiness among country citizens and the world, the report said.On a national level, Indonesia has the highest proportion of happiest people with 51 per cent citizens reporting they are 'very happy' followed by India and Mexico (43 per cent) each.Brazil and Turkey shared the third position, where 30 per cent of citizens expressed their contentment, followed by Australia and the United States each at 28 per cent.On the other end, Hungary (6 per cent), South Korea (7 per cent) and Russia (8 per cent) have the lowest number of 'very happy' people, followed by Spain (11 per cent) and Italy (13 per cent).Regionally, Latin America has the greatest proportion of 'very happy' people (32 per cent), followed by North America (27 per cent).Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and Africa shared the third place with 24 per cent of 'very happy' people.Not surprisingly, it is citizens in Europe who drag the global average assessment of happiness downward as only one in six (15 per cent) say they are 'very happy'.The poll of 18,687 adults conducted from November 1 to 15 2011 also demonstrates that those who are married appear to be the happiest when compared to all other groups, especially those who are not married. Besides marriage, age and socio-economic factor also played an important role for determining the level of contentment among people.Those who are under the age of 35 are more likely to say thet are 'very happy' than those who are in the age bracket of 35-49 across all countries surveyed, meanwhile, those with a high education and those with a high household income are among those most likely to be 'very happy'.The greatest improvements were found in Turkey (up 16 points since 2007) followed by Mexico (up 10 points), Australia (up 7 points), Japan (up 6 points) and India and Canada (each up 5 points).Of the 24 countries measured, 9 countries experienced increases in happiness intensity compared with 13 that dropped and two countries with no change.Those countries experiencing the greatest drop in happiness intensity were Brazil (down 9 points) followed by Indonesia (down 7 points), Russia (down 6 points) and South Africa (down 5 points).