A new government and a global tournament that has captivated consumer attention marks the first half of 2014. Business and marketing around the sub-continent is gearing up to make up for lost time in the second half of the year. Which is why we thought there’s probably no better time to pause and review a selection of the choicest insights and trends that illuminate the Indian consumer to go beyond the obvious.
During the rest of the year, the sentiment created by key influencers and smart marketers around personal finances will dictate how people direct their disposable income and investments. With an investment-oriented budget, marketers should take cognizance of the fact that increasingly, two-thirds of the cautiously optimistic consumer will continue to rely on friends and family to make borrowing decisions. And while a fourth of them will continue to be deterred by lengthy processes and unfriendly pricing – a fact that savvy marketers will attempt to overcome with promotional offers that manage to attract 30 percent of prospective loan buyers. Similarly, the online purchase of health and auto insurance will continue aided by quick claims’ settlement and expert agents.
On the consumption front, consumers will play the balancing act between juggling consumption and spending on leisure. Again a high reliance on word-of-mouth marketing strategies, online search and in-store promotions will hold consumers’ interest as they continue to indulge in the more affordable pleasures of movie-watching and domestic vacations. Younger consumers will continue to satiate their need to wander, with a majority choosing planned tours and discounts/ cash-back offers rather than reward points and special services.
In terms of high-ticket purchases, the auto industry may see a much-needed uptick. Nearly half of auto consumers will continue to rely on website and reference sites to form their decision but a clear majority (70%+) will make up their mind based on their in-store experience and interaction with sales staff. A clear signal that even in a high-octane advertising campaign, online and in-store strategies will need to be perfected. Interestingly, the rise of the female consumer in a category dominated by men, will continue unabated. With women more involved in decision-making, safety features, automatic transmission and run-flat tyres could become prevalent across models and segments over time.
Overall, India’s rising middle class will continue to focus on their abodes and employment prospects. The trend of Individual Home Builders (IHBs) in tier-II cities will continue with three-fourths financing their home-building independently and relying heavily on ‘experts’ like contractors and architects to make brand decisions.
And the ever-increasing and constant flow of young engineers graduating each year, will hope to ride the anticipated economic recovery to populate their favoured IT services and products sector with most of them motivated by opportunities to learn on the job and job security.
With much of the pessimism and anxiety of the first half done away with, these trends are symptomatic of a nation holding its breath and waiting for a great finish to what is likely to be a nail-biter of a match for most businesses.