India’s Rural Market: The time is now

by Brandi Moore on December 7, 2010

Neilsen released a series of data on India’s rural market last week at their first India based conference.

Data points everyone thinking about selling to India or already in trying to sell to India:

- India’s consumer persists as a crossover shopper.  They visit many stores instead of relying on only one to service their needs (read this carefully Wal-Mart).  They are very aware of pricing differences and can recall them when asked.  This is not the US consumer who ignores small price differences for convenience.

- Indian are looking for tactile experiences before purchase.  If they can feel the bristles of a hairbrush or smell the product you win.

- small packages that offer value and quality are the ticket to the poor population’s wallet.  QUALITY is highly sought in India.  Cheap does not replace quality.

- Lots of TV (hundreds and hundreds of channels in India) and other media outlets make it difficult for advertisers to target shoppers easily.  Firms will need to start targeting specific populations based on their interests.  While this may seem daunting just capturing a small group of the rural population nets big dollars.

- Simple products Westerners take for granted (deodorant) are just coming to market in India.  Its an opportunity to sell anything that is seen as “useful” by the rural consumer.

-Rural market will grow from 9B to 100B in the next 15 years.

-Rural purchasing power is growing faster than urban purchasing power

Colgate is one firm to look to as a model in understanding rural India.  I heard the President of their India division speak last year and it was amazing the depth of understanding Colgate has of India’s market today from their ongoing commitment to the country.  They have been selling their products throughout India for decades and continue to lead the pack in selling small packages, offering the experiences Indians seek, and developing relationships with the mom and pop shops that Indians like to frequent.

Links to the press releases:



Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mckaysavage/  (Thanks!)

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