Consumerism in India

Devangshu Dutta

February 7, 2007

In my view, India and China are two countries that can change companies.

Most analyses of “consumer India” are led by affluent analysts primarily based in the biggest cities. These incomplete analyses are followed avidly also by international companies to draw up their India strategy. Most do not even scratch the surface of the diversity of the country, let alone customize the approach.

There are reasonably large and distinct consumer segments in India–many are alien to most companies based in the developed markets, because they have been extinct there for several decades.

The companies that seem to be succeeding are the ones who don’t come in expecting a billion-plus market (or even a “percentage” of that) hungering for their brand/product just as it is sold in the US or Europe. They are the ones who take the time, and show the patience, to understand the specifics that their target segment in India is looking for.

They are the ones who are prepared to to the extra mile in tailoring their offering to India. Some may even launch new products in India and then take them elsewhere.

If you’re prepared to discard the filter of the history of developed markets when looking at India, then opportunities abound.