Dheeraj Sinha provides insights into Indian consumers mind and wallet

MUMABI: Today’s India is seeing things it has never seen before - medals in Olympics, cheerleaders in cricket, kissing scenes on national television, fairness creams for men, agricultural tips on SMS and marriages arranged on the Internet. There is a cultural shift that is happening with time, said Bates Asia chief strategy officer Dheeraj Sinha who spoke at Shopper and Consumer Insights Forum here.

Sinha is author of the book ‘Consumer India-Inside the Mind and Wallet’. At the forum, he talked about changing India. He pointed out some cultural shifts happening in the society. According to him, there is a change in morality which is happening through the Bollywood eye. What is shown in Bollywood or advertisements is what is happening in and shaping real life. Earlier when people were bothered about society more, the movies showed those values; today when people are more concerned about what they want in life without bothering about society, films and advertisements are showing that.

He felt that the mindset of the consumer is changing. He is living more of Kshatriya kind of life. Indians are living out with a warrior kind of feeling, of getting what they want.

“The fact that Big Bazzar and other retailers are successful is because in India shopping is like an event. In a context where everything is changing, all brands in India should remember that staying attached to the foundation would help them. Dabur has a huge market and has products like Chyawanprash. This shows that brands should stand for tradition and package themselves in that way because there is a space in the market. Reiterate the value that India has given us,” he said.

According to him, the country is young but there are no youth brands. Being young is an easy way for brands to succeed. Virgin Mobile ads during IPL last year were learnings for the industry. “TV legitimates many things. Earlier when there was a kissing scene shown in movies, it used to be a big issue. But now even television shows that and people have accepted it. Also, abuses in beep form are used on Indian television today. They are considered to be cool,” he added.

Sinha noted that Indian consumers buy into a ‘proven success’ rather than ‘niche experiments’. People have the tendency to follow what others do. Whenever anything big happens, it goes viral because people want to have the same experience and don’t want to be left out.

When Docomo launched in India, it came out with a tariff that wasn’t being provided by any other network. They played with the leadership values and changed the paradigm. So, it’s essential for brands to scale up and do something that the competitors are not doing.

Youth is not the only market. There are other people in India too. But people like Ratan Tata, Vijay Mallya, Shobha De, Javed Akhtar have found their way of change.

Also, today the ‘bottom of the Pyramid’ wants to be ‘top in statuses’. People hesitate in buying Nano because that will show others that they can’t afford it and will question their status.

Sinha concluded by saying that Indians have progressed more than India has. China’s growth is policy-led but India’s growth is people-led.

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