I wonder if 2017 will always be the year that everything we thought we knew about the Indian consumer changed.
The myths and misconceptions around the Indian consumer (“Indians only want a good discount”; “Indians don’t like simplicity”; “Indians don’t get seduced by design”). As Apple launches its store online, Ikea opens one of its most ambitious projects in Hyderabad and Muji brings its functional minimalism to India what we’re witnessing is three of the world’s hottest brands pit creativity against the challenges India presents. We asked a few friends from inside and outside our portfolio what makes the Indian consumer of 2017 unique. Here’s what they had to say:
BUZZ BUZZES FASTER?
“In the context of new concepts, there is a disproportionate role of peer influence. Indian consumers are lot more likely to be convinced about something new if they hear about it from their friends / family who have already tried the product / service and vouch for it. While this is true everywhere in the world, the proportion of early adopters to followers is skewed much more acutely here. In other words your first few thousand loyal customers are worth their weight in gold for startups hoping to change mindsets in India.”
– Kranti M, Head of Design, Furlenco
“I am surprised by willingness of Indian consumers to experiment. People who have bought our coffee expecting it to be instant have been willing to listen to how to brew the coffee using whatever equipment they have at home rather than simply return the product for a refund (which we always offer).”
– Matt Chitharanjan, Founder, Blue Tokai
LIKE HOW IT FEELS
“During the conceptualization of Behrouz, I wanted to cater to the Connoisseurs in the market who would are keen to indulge in a great product and are not price conscious. Most pundits advised pricing the products at ca. US$3 which was 20% higher than average but we went ahead and priced the products at ca. US$5 which allowed us to use higher quality ingredients and offer the best packaging which is essential for a delivery business. More than half a million satisfied customers have come to love the brand for exactly that and don't mind paying the premium.
UX is not only for Mobile Apps / Websites / Tech products but is hardcore to a physical product as well. Opening the packaging, the first look of the product, the fragrance on opening are all pivotal points of UX for Behrouz which have helped it become the largest biryani brand in India.
The other key aspect of the brand launch was the brand rhetoric and communication. It is the story of Behrouz that has led consumers to feel part of history and tradition.”
– Revant Bhate, Entrepreneur in Residence, Faasos
“There is a noticeable shift in the Indian consumer's willingness to try innovative print products such as metal prints. We have seen AOV on our App and Web platforms almost double YoY. Indian consumers are aspirational and if a brand is presented as value for money through its positioning and touch points (app / web site) that are of international quality design and content, consumers will experiment. We don't have to look cheap and always be sasta, sundar aur tikau.
The Indian consumer will always be on the lookout for a bargain but I believe they will pay extra if the price matches expectations on experience from digital to physical. There has to be a sensory reward."
– Ajay Memon, CEO, Parabo
JUST DO IT
“At least 30% of our customers buy in the very first session they visit. We are an unknown company with a very high ticket size and a supposedly planned purchase. This impulsive behaviour is surprising. So much so that not trusting the data in Google Anaytics, I actually mounted a customer survey to understand this and customers in their own words told us the same thing.”
– Saroja Yeramilli, Founder, Melorra
PRICE TO PLAY
Competitive pricing is a given in India. A premium experience tops it up. We cant play the “it’s-all-in-the-experience” game since value is equally important.
– Subramanyan Sharma, Head of Product, Cleartrip