Rising income, availability of brands influence consumer buying behavior
Digital leads media growth but traditional rises too
Indians look for sale pricing, in shopping behavior change
Indian consumers are smart shoppers. In the past they typically traded down when they needed a lower price point. But that behavior is changing. Now Indians are beginning to shop on promotion, similar to the way consumers in many other country markets wait for sale prices before purchasing.
Greater shopper knowledge and choice weakens loyalty
Now more knowledgeable and discerning, Indians shoppers also face ever-expanding choice. The number of brands Indians are using is increasing. But as they try new brands, they sometimes become less loyal, making the role of marketing more critical.
Consumers recognize quality and are willing to pay for it
More Indians recognize product and service quality – and are better able to afford it. They are trading up. And when affordability is an issue, consumers sometimes buy smaller package sizes, selecting quality over quantity. This ongoing trend leveled slightly this year because of a slowdown in FMCG sales.
Urban and rural Indians now closer in spending priorities The rural economy is slowly shifting away from its dependence on agriculture, and the Internet has democratized the flow of information, including the availability of brands. Although rural Indians spend less than city dwellers, the spending priorities of these two groups are similar.
Brands and Branding
New, quality Indian brands challenge market leaders
Many local Indian brands now have the product quality and marketing skill to challenge the well-established brands of multinational and Indian conglomerates. Some of these brands confine their business to only one or two states. (Of course, India’s largest state is equivalent in population to Brazil.)
Popularity grows for products celebrating Indian heritage
Herbal products are making a comeback across personal care sectors. Preference is rising for FMCG variants with Indian flavors, a shift in preference from international flavors. These trends are related to the resurgence in Indian pride rooted in the country’s economic development and growing global stature.
Real people replace celebrity endorsers
The use of brand ambassadors is shifting away from celebrities, usually film or cricket stars, to more relatable people, often someone respected for an extraordinary accomplishment or contribution to improving Indian society.
Societal changes affect purchasing decisions
In today’s India, with communal and individual priorities increasingly in tension, the purchasing cycle sometimes changes, with fewer people involved and faster decision making.
Initiatives simplify tax system, liberalize foreign investment
India has had a reputation as a difficult place to do business. But in the past year, India’s parliament passed legislation to simplify the tax system, replacing a mix of national, state, and local level codes with a single levy, the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The nation also liberalized foreign investment in several key sectors of the economy, including defense, aviation, pharmaceuticals, and retail.
Digital and Media
Internet use rises sharply, along with mobile access
Internet use, particularly using mobile phones, continued to grow rapidly throughout India. The number of people living in rural India who accessed the Internet with mobile devices almost doubled in a year. Urban mobile use rose 65 percent during the same period. By October 2015, almost 69 percent of urban Internet users accessed the Internet every day.
Travel leads in online share, as retail experiences growth
Online travel commanded the largest share of e-commerce, 61 percent, but retail grew robustly, 57 percent year-on-year, driven by sales of mobile phones and accessories, PCs, apparel, and footwear.
As digital expands quickly, traditional media also grows
Driven by digital and led by FMCG, media spending reached a five-year high, but even traditional media like TV experienced strong growth, distinguishing India from most other major media markets.