The success of Indian economic growth has now a new chapter added to it which is termed as a feather in the cap. The emergence of rural India as a potential market has led many companies to explore this untapped zone.
The importance lie in the fact that still 70 % of rural population which is a whopping 800 million people still live in Rural India in around 6.5 lakh villages. This is a figure which no company can afford to ignore.
There are many reasons for how the rural India has developed into a vast customer base and these reasons have greatly influenced the consumer behaviour. The Evolution of Rural consumer is a complicated study because it is not a simple economic development story.
Rise of the Bottom of Pyramid
Traditionally over the period of time rural India was ignored but gradually many political parties understood the important of this part is for vote bank politics
Recently government have used different paths to appease them. There are Centrally sponsored schemes (CCS) designed by governments which are meant to aid the rural poor monetarily against certain amount of work done or subsidize the essential thing so as to protect them against fluctuations of market.
These schemes does not serve the purpose of improving their livelihood but to aid them temporarily on monetary basis. This monetary aid has spurred consumption by them since they were able to spend on essential items which they were not able to do so earlier.
Other than these schemes there are reasons such as high farm incomes due to high MSP offered as well as improved infrastructure of roads, electricity, telecom etc. has generated employment opportunities and improved farm & non-farm incomes in rural areas.
After few years the rural incomes have risen and many substantial changes have occurred in the pattern of consumer behaviour wherein the rural people have now started to spend from essential based to demand based needs which has significant implications for marketers of private companies wherein it has widened the scope of products which can sold in these rural markets.
Over the period of time this population is ever increasing and so is the awareness regarding brands and various products. This demand of all sorts of products and brands is due to media and telecom penetration. This penetration has great effect on youth who are exposed to various brands and products as well as when they see these trends in urban areas.
Challenges Galore for Marketer-
. Although these disposable incomes have been instrumental in increasing of consumption but this is not in at a scale of urban consumption. There are many interesting trends which have emerged from the rural market.
The consumer behavior of rural customers are influenced from factors which is quite different from urban customers and requires a complete different orientation. The purchasing power as well as how a product or a brand is perceived are issues which require careful handling as traditionalism still prevails in minds of rural customers although due to rise in incomes they have started to spend.
Family influence and position in society in terms of caste, gender directly impacts the purchasing decision.
. This is basically a challenge for companies since although there is a market for every product but only when it is positioned accordingly.
Addressing issues & tapping the Rural consumer
These sets of challenges are addressed by these companies by bringing innovation in their marketing campaigns.
The issues of acceptability and affordability are primarily observed and pointed out as the most critical issues regarding rural customers whenever any company wants to position their brand in the market.
This has led to introducing of low cost packets and introduction of small sachets in market which were quite economical and quite affordable.
Almost every company now has realized the importance of designing their products according to acceptability by rural consumers.
Thus this rural consumer is targeted by private companies by creating touch points which would appeal to them and customize product as per acceptability of this segment. This story of rural India is unique in nature as it describes how various factors from traditionalism to media exposure shape consumer behavior which are diverse in nature and gradually evolve with time.