There is upward mobility in rural India, and aspiration levels are high. The rural consumer is growing more and more value-conscious. A report by CRISIL on rural consumption reveals that village spending outpaced urban consumption in the two years up to 2011-12, and was fuelled by a strong increase in incomes, rising non-farm employment opportunities, and the government’s rural focus through employment generation schemes.
The issues in rural marketing have been lack of proper infrastructure and communication facilities, unorganized and dispersed markets. However, a study conducted by Deloitte (Technology, Media and Telecommunications 2012) reports that voice platforms and localized content will lead the way for growth in rural markets. 32% of the total mobile subscriber base in India is from rural areas. According to TRAI, 91% of the villages in India are covered by at least one operator. The Indian telecom market is exploding, and it is our rural markets that are driving the growth. Technology products in rural India have a high prestige value.
Many businesses find rural India a huge market place, which houses the very rich as well as the very poor. What they find difficult to understand is that the rural mindset is distinct from the urban set-up, and calls for a different approach and strategy.
Some tips for marketing your goods and services to rural consumers:
• While resisting fancy consumption, the consumer in rural India is willing to adapt and adopt. The majority of rural consumers are value-conscious.
• Product identification is higher in rural areas as compared to brand identification. The purchasing power is not a yardstick for pricing and positioning of a product in the rural market. The product design and the pricing have to align with the rural mindset.
• There is no average rural consumer. Vernacular language holds the key to differentiation in the rural market.