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India’s Crossover Shopper Comes of Age
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India’s Crossover Shopper Comes of Age

The modern Indian shopper is visiting a broad ‘repertoire’ of stores, is brand loyal and value conscious, according to a report unveiled by The Nielsen Company.

The study on shopper habits and retailer strategies across urban India found that instead of gravitating to just one store, the Indian shopper is moving across store types to fulfill a variety of needs.

Released at Nielsen’s flagship Consumer 360 event in Delhi, the study examined the trends in the context of the emergence of modern trade and parallel growth of the traditional trade.

“While retailers usually see shoppers gravitating towards one or two shop types to meet their needs as markets evolve, the ‘Crossover Shopper’ is a phenomenon that has come of age in India as shoppers have now developed a fixed set of stores across format types to meet multiple needs” said Radhika Chandok, Executive Director, The Nielsen Company.

Of the shoppers studied, nearly 40 percent claimed to know the prices of most items and nearly half (45%) claimed to notice a difference in prices across modern and traditional trade formats.

Armed with this value awareness, the Indian shopper is simultaneously loyal to multiple store formats rather than gravitating towards any one kind. He or she isn’t bound by rules either – for instance, the Indian shopper flits across the formats to fill shopping baskets with different categories from each store type in addition to the general store typically visited.

“The ‘Crossover Shopper’ is visiting multiple retail outlets and developing loyalties towards a set of shops rather than any one kind. This means good things for retailing in India because the shopper is spending time across more shop shelves than ever,” said Chandok.

The study found shoppers were also more demanding and responded readily to products and packaging that indulged their senses by interacting with products that smell, feel, and taste better at the point of sale. For marketers and retailers, this means the ability to stand out and create an experience that appeals to the senses, in a timely and relevant manner at the point of sale, will be critical.

“The new Indian shopper needs to have a tactile and sensorial interaction with products at the point of sale. Whether it is chewing rice grains, touching toothbrush bristles or sniffing soap wrappers to make a decision, she is unafraid to let her ‘experiences’ dictate her purchase choices” said Chandok.

She also said mediums of communication with shoppers were fragmenting across multiple platforms. “Whilst interaction with mass media has not gone down in terms of time spent, the spread across more channels has reduced the opportunity for brands to have impact on shopper eyeballs.”

The Nielsen study also revealed retailers’ views of the next big trends in retail:

  • The development of e-commerce strategies to service the new shopper
  • A higher degree of shopper engagement to convert store visits to sales
  • The evolution of traditional trade as it competes with modern trade expansion
  • Category management practices and operational efficiencies within the supply chain