Whatever you can rightly say about India, the opposite is also true – Cambridge economist Joan Robinson.
We can argue that global best practices will work just fine in India – it’s an economy with 125 million English speakers, 300 million smart-phone users, more internet users than the US and almost the same number of Facebook users. But we can also confirm that there are numerous occasions when these global practices will collide against the reality of India and fail. Desi is an Indian slang for being local. Here are some of the contradictions that make being a #DesiDigital marketer so challenging. And such fun!
- India is in the midst of rapid urbanisation,- by 2025, 120 cities will have matched today’s major metropolitan areas in average household income.The ‘Urban Mass’ in India represents a fourth of the total workforce with 129mn people. But the marketer cannot ignore the fact that nearly a 3rd of the richest 1% live in the countryside.
- Delhi, the capital has amongst the worst air quality in the world – and yet its residents make 3x that of the rest of India. Smart marketers will have to connect the dots and see how they can relate disposable income to cleaner air solutions.
- Our per capita income per annum will cross Rs 1 Lakh (approx $2,000 in nominal terms), yet the top 1% make at least that much in a month. So the marketer cannot view India as a homogenous mass. Even as the % of the absolute poor drops, the disparity amongst the new emerging middle class is steep.
- Indians do not have the same drivers as other Asian countries – gold continues to reign supreme, weddings are a serious investment, and performance often trumps brand aspiration.
- Online retail will continue to grow from a base of around 3% of total retail spend today to around 10% by 2025. A big shift is that digital will influence 1/3 of retail sales by 2025, making it imperative for brands to solidify their digital presence.
It’s a country that is home to over a 100 billionaires, but the vast majority of our billion residents have very little discretionary spend – so cost of customer acquisition must be commensurately very low. A lesson that many ecommerce players are learning the hard way, after burning crores to acquire customers who spend Rs 850 on general ecommerce sites, with the exceptions being travel and electronics. A low-spender stays a low-spender so it is important to structure your acquisition and delivery strategy around the right mix.
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