India’s thriving towns will prompt strategic shift for gifting industry

From durables to falling realty market, from credit cards to personal loans, time-share holiday plans to cars, almost all products and services are keen to woo the ‘other (untapped) India’ as agriculture-based income and apparent insulation from unreliable equity market variables definitely makes this buyers’ segment so much less unaffected by the prolonged slowdown.

Rural markets in the country are showing an impressive growth curve largely owing to increasing income levels and higher purchasing power, prompting a drastic change in people’s lifestyle and enhanced aspirations. Indian and multi-national marketers are slowly realizing this, causing a subtle shift in their strategy as underlined by Nandini Sen Gupta in an article recently published in the Times of India. The writer makes some valid points based on statistics and interviews with market players.

Durables and India’s rural market

Understandably, the non-metro share of the market – across product and service categories – isn’t that large, as of now. In durables segment, the rural market constitutes not more than 15% of the total sales. The same in cars is roughly 17-20%. But what savvy and visionary marketers are interested in is the clearly upward-looking aspiration curve that is geared up towards lavish lifestyle options as well.

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India, one of India’s leading time-share firms is looking to widen its distribution network mostly to tier 2 and 3 cities like Pondicherry, Trichy, Madurai etc. According to its CEO Rajiv Sawhney: “We , the company would like to boost its presence there alongside locations such as Nagpur and Surat where the new money, new aspiration and new-found eagerness to spend exists. So this is where the business is headed for now.

The fact that marketers are looking to focus on hinterland for business growth is something that the corporate gift industry must also take notice of. This will help the industry players to rework its strategy for further expansion and growth in the coming years. India’s thriving towns clearly demand a shift in business strategy on their part.
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