Three Generations, One Big Market: A New Segmentation of India
India is big and India is young. Its size and its demographics, together with the growth potential that India’s economy is showing, have made it a fashionable market. Marketers from across the world and within India are betting high on these two aspects of the country. But these are also the two most critical characteristics of India that every marketer must examine carefully and get a real understanding of in order to make it a success in this country. India is big but is India one whole piece of a homogeneous market? Are there different segments in India which have distinct behaviour patterns? India is young, but is young the only marketable population in India? If not, then aren’t we missing a piece in the picture? Most of the marketing and advertising in India today is designed for the young mindset. When the entire country is being made to feel young, what’s happening to those who are actually young?
The problem with India as a market is in many ways similar to the problem with India as a tourist attraction. A couple of years back, a global internet survey on India as a tourist destination discovered that the country had high awareness and appeal in most parts of the world. But most of the people who would have liked to come to India never got around making a plan. And the reason cited for this was the complexity that India posed. While India was attractive, it looked like one big piece of complexity from outside with no visible handles into how to get in, where to move around and when to get out. India as a market of one billion plus looks similar, attractive but complex. With no direct handles into feasible segments, and little knowledge beyond big,
young and growing.
Its not that attempts at segmenting India opportunity into smaller bits have not been made. Several segmentation approaches have been propounded and many studies have been conducted by marketers, research and advertising agencies alike to find the different marketable segments in India. But rather than solving the problem of complexity, most of these segmentation methods end up adding to complexity. Segmentation approaches based on the belief that there are many Indias in one India suggest several permutations and combinations leading to infinite consumer segments. Other research bunches people into segments based on a certain pattern in their reported behavior. This doesn’t really tell you whether the different behaviour patterns are from different people or the same people at different times and moods. Most segmentation approaches thus either hyper segment India or manufacture segments that belong more to PowerPoint presentations than the real world.
The value of India as a market is still in its mass nature. Hyper-segmenting India is like defeating the very nature of its opportunity. Is there a way to segment India that unlocks larger opportunity than slicing thin what we already know? That unveils what lies beyond the big, young and growing India, while at the same time giving us easier handles into this big pie, handles that are real and sizable? This paper aims to propose a segmentation of India which splits the big India opportunity into real yet feasible segments, and in its course unveils potential beyond what’s currently visible. Download the full report