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

WHAT’S NEW

“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 top 2% of the Consumers who would be happy to indulge in a great product and not mind paying a premium for the same. Most pundits advised pricing the Biryani's at Rs. 250 ($3.80) which was 20-25% higher than average but we went ahead and priced the products at Rs. 300 ($4.65) which allowed us to use higher quality ingredients. Customers not only paid the price but also the brand is mainstream commercial having already served more than 300K customers and is now the largest Biryani Brand in the country.

UX is not only for Mobile Apps / Websites / Tech products but Ux 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 lent it the ability to charge the premium to the customer.

The other key aspect of the brand launch was the brand rhetoric and communication. It is the story that has led consumers to feel part of history and tradition.”

– Revant Bhate, Head of Innovation, 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

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