Nielsen conducts survey to study consumption habits of affluent Indians

MUMBAI: The Nielsen Company India has launched its first Nielsen Upper Middle and Rich (UMAR) survey to provide a realistic picture of the affluent in Indian society today. Covering more than 18,250 affluent individuals across 35 Indian metros, Nielsen UMAR survey aims to profile the hard-to-reach affluent Indian consumers, their lifestyles and media consumption habits.

The Nielsen survey covers both the mass and emerging media consumption habits of affluent Indians, including television, print, radio, cinema, and online. It also covers lifestyle habits such as gym membership, shopping habits including frequency and spends, and consumption of various FMCG categories by affluent individuals.

Said The Nielsen Company MD South Asia Partha Rakshit, "The primary reason for conducting Nielsen UMAR was to obtain first of all a realistic estimate of this segment, and secondly, to profile their media and consumption habits. There is no study today in India which provides an accurate estimate of this target group; large scale surveys like the NRS and IRS grossly underestimate this segment as their sampling procedures are directed towards a mass audience and not specifically to this segment."

The survey has initiated a new method of defining ‘affluence‘, based on lifestyle and consumer durables‘ ownership of a household rather than monthly income and education which are the main parameters of defining socio economic class (SEC) and are inadequate to cover the consuming disposition of an individual. The variables considered for lifestyle mapping were employment of domestic help (maid/driver); holiday trips abroad; and dining out habits. For durable ownership, the variables that were considered are laptop/desktop, air conditioner, car, television, microwave, washing machine, and number of family members with internet connection at home and the type of connection used.

Three distinct segments of affluence emerged by such lifestyle and consumer durables mapping - upper middle, upper-upper middle, and rich. The grouping was done based on the ownership of a car, a computer, an LCD, and a holiday abroad.

The Nielsen survey estimates a total of 2.5 million affluent households in India, of which 2.2 million belong to the upper middle segment-households that own a car and a computer, but without an LCD and a holiday abroad. Upper-upper middle segment consists of about 0.2 million households and are the owners of a car, a computer, an LCD, but miss a holiday abroad. The rich segment makes about 0.1 million of the households in the affluent pie, all of which are the proud owners of a car, a computer, an LCD, and also a holiday abroad.

Rakshit added, "The Nielsen UMAR survey followed the premise that income is usually understated by the rich and wealthy in society and to categorise the target consumers that we wanted to reach, SEC was also an inadequate classification. We needed something more tangible to identify the affluent segment."

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