Hindi ‘Hinterland’ is a pressure cooker close to boil

10 May,2012

By Ruby Bana

 

Hindi Hinterland has always been known as the most remote part of India. But let’s not forget the latent ambition and grit that exists here, in addition to lagging in affordability and access. It’s a pressure cooker close to boiling point.

 

This is where the most visible transformations will happen and pent-up demand will explode. Even in psychological terms, it’s not just about IAS/IPS as road to success but enterprise, showbiz (look at the talent shows), technology careers, and so on.

 

The first, and the most important, change that has happened is ACCESS. Access to communication (mobile and internet), ambition (talent and confidence) and Retail (access through retail boom as well as e-retail – dream it, buy it…). This consumer will skip a decade and join the metro counterpart sooner than we think; especially the youth, who move faster than the others. Let’s remember: we are a “young” country and we adopt change much faster than most others.

 

I don’t think the discussion will be anymore about: will 70 per cent of middle FMCG products markets come from hinterland consumers, but it’s now moving to how 70 per cent of Durable and Lifestyle consumers will come from upcountry markets.

 

Computer/laptop manufacturers, smartphone manufacturers and others will be looking at the 70 per cent market from Hinterland/middle India in the next five years. I feel it’s not going to be so much a challenge of reach going forward as technology will change things sooner but it’s a challenge of conversion. The brands that succeeded in the metros may not be the exact same ones that garner the larger share of the hinterland market and I don’t mean just affordability here.

 

This consumer will be more “information/evaluation” based purchaser rather than the fad based consumer of metro India. They will also be responsible consumers. Brands will have to reflect the same by demonstrating solid commitment to their core values. They will have be enablers of change, and have meaningful roles in their eco-systems. Some brands have already started this process a decade back, these will benefit the most. The rest that get in early now will reap disproportionate gains from the next wave. We wait at our own risk

 

– The writer is Chief Strategy & Insights Officer, Madison India

 

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