Lifestyle and Habits of the Rich and Hard Working

Meet Calmat Sidhu. He resides in South Delhi with his wife and two children. He is an educated man, holding a senior position in a multinational company. He works ever tirelessly to take his company to new and greater heights. Mrs Sidhu is also educated but prefers to be a housewife.

From a marketer's point there is nothing spectacular about the Sidhu family. In both the current national surveys, namely National Readership Survey (NRS) and Indian Readership Survey (IRS) Mr Sidhu would have qualified as SEC A. The current studies do not have the scope to analyse Sidhu further in terms of his potential as a consumer of goods and services. He would be a potential customer of both - say luxury cruises as well as washing machines.

"There is a need to understand the super rich end of the market, since as a group, their consumption is disproportionate to their size," says Partha Ghosh, associate V-P Initiative Media. Realising the need the Media Research Users Council (MRUC) undertook this study calling it The IRS Platinum.

The Communication Channel Planning (CCP) division of Initiative Media had the first hand privilege to analyse the data. These are the unique highlights of the study.


IRS Platinum defines super rich as any household that has a colour television, refrigerator, washing machine and a car. The study was restricted to Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, and Pune. These were the cities where there was a high proportion of households that satisfied the above criteria. These towns account for 39 per cent of all the super rich households that reside in Urban India today.

It is interesting to note that Metros such as Calcutta and Hyderabad are missing from the list. These cities would have definitely qualified by the normal demographic parameters. They missed out since the penetration of one or more of the listed durables were low in these other wise large metros.

A sample of 5,226 was surveyed by ORG-MARG on behalf of MRUC to understand the lifestyles of the affluent, with media and consumer habits of such individuals and their households. Only 3.4 per cent of the households in those six metros qualified to be called the Platinum households. Sidhu happens to be one of them.

His friends call him Sid. He resides in his own two bed roomed flat in South Delhi. He is V-P marketing in a consumer durables MNC. He is a postgraduate and holds a professional degree in marketing. He and his wife have two children. Their average monthly household income (MHI) is Rs 23,000. And interestingly enough every month 60 per cent of this amount is spent to maintain the life and style of the Sidhu household. Six years back they had bought their washing machine. Welcome to IRS Platinum.


As per the study, every second Platinum household is in Delhi. Mumbai comes next but the probability drops down to one out of five. It is true that today Delhi is by far the city of the super rich of India. These households on an average have an income of Rs 24,450. Mumbai earns the highest (Rs 31,970) and Bangalore earns the least (Rs 20,180). The chief wage earner of the family is highly educated. Eighty-eight per cent of them are at least graduates! In terms of occupation, he is predominantly a businessman in Mumbai, Chennai and Ahmedabad. In the other cities he is either an officer or an executive at a senior level.

In these households the housewife is also highly educated (68 per cent are at least graduates). However in spite of their high education only 17 per cent are either working full time or part time. The average household size is 4.5, which reflects on the nuclear structure of the families.

In this elite group, 85 per cent of them have their own house. They are now gradually going in to buy their second TV set. Almost all of them have a cable and satellite connection. These households should be now ready to try out DTH, some form of PAY-TV and of course Internet through cable. Incidentally every house has at least one telephone connection.


The interesting part is the information that IRS Platinum provides on the monthly family expenditures. The patterns are indeed very revealing. On an average 61 per cent of MHI is spent to maintain the life and style of these elite households. It rises to 69 per cent in Ahmedabad and drops to 56 per cent in Chennai! The expenditure is tracked across 20 heads ranging from the monthly electricity bill to the amount spent on last eating out. On an average each head accounts for about 5 per cent of the total expenditure. The highest amount goes for Monthly provisions accounting for almost 17 per cent of the total spend.

Eating out emerges as a trend, which is prevalent in this elite group. Two out of five households eat out at least once a month. This is highest in Bangalore (43 per cent) and lowest in Pune (33 per cent).


At city level certain interesting patterns emerge. Chennai has the highest average monthly telephone bill. They spend the maximum on Personal care products as well as on Cosmetics! Likewise they spend the maximum while eating out, on alcohol and beverages, on buying gifts and also on charity and donations! A very interesting city indeed! Bangalore pays the highest monthly rents, maintenance and on travelling and conveyance.

In terms of occupation, it is the reflection of the Indian economy with 44 per cent focussing on the manufacturing sector. Within this, engineering goods alone accounts for 8 per cent of them. This is the largest skew across all the three sectors put together. Financial services including banks (5.5 per cent) and the current favorite, IT and software (4.2 per cent) stand out amongst the rest.

In terms of the mother tongue Hindi is by far the language (78 per cent). Other than Hindi, Gujarati stands out very clearly (35 per cent) in Mumbai. As expected Gujaratis play a significant role in this elite segment.

In terms of their media habits, as expected almost all of them can be easily reached through either the print or the television. Radio has lost out (25 per cent), but of these tuning in, almost 90 per cent of them are tuning into FM! However unlike the West, predominantly they tune in at home. Listening to FM on the road is picking up but will score once all the privatised stations go on air later this year. But the surprise package is Internet. It has already overtaken Radio (30 per cent)! They are already spending more time on the Internet than in reading!


Internet is being used predominantly for Email, followed by chatting, making friends, surfing, and gathering information other than news. Commercial activities done on the net in the last one month are checking account statement, buying-selling shares/bonds and mutual funds. Relative to other cities, Internet has picked up very well in terms of reach in Chennai and Mumbai.

Internet is being used predominantly for Email, followed by chatting, making friends, surfing, and gathering information other than news. Commercial activities done on the net in the last one month are checking account statement, buying-selling shares/bonds and mutual funds. Relative to other cities, Internet has picked up very well in terms of reach in Chennai and Mumbai.

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