Brands target young Indian consumers

24 February 2010

NEW DELHI: An increasing number of advertisers are shifting their focus to young consumers in India, as they seek to drive growth in the rapidly-growing south Asian market.

The National Council of Applied Economic Research reported in December 2009 that the "youth market" made up 37.9% of the Indian population, estimated to stand at 1.2 billion people.

More specifically, Sandeep Goyal, chairman of Dentsu's local arm, argued the new generation of "twenteens" are highly attractive for marketers, as they have "the attitude and mindset of a teenager, and money in their pockets".

"There are four screens that are important for the youth: the mobile phone, computer, television and film," he added.

Hero Honda, the Asian nation's biggest motorcycle manufacturer, regularly conducts surveys of the youth demographic, investigating everything from general psychographics to individual purchase preferences.

The company also pre-tests all of its advertising with members of this group, such as students and people in their first job, in an effort to ensure it connects with this audience in the marketplace.

Anil Dua, Hero Honda's svp, marketing and sales, said: "The insights have helped us sharply position our products in the market, based not on price but on the need.

"Those in villages will check with the local mechanic and acquaintances, though the mass media is important for him. In contrast, an urban youth would refer to specialist magazines on bikes to reach a decision."

Some 80% of the customer base of Virgin Mobile, the wireless telecoms firm, are under the age of 30 years old, and typically send more texts, and spend longer on calls, than the average consumer.

Prasad Narsimhan, Virgin Mobile's chief marketing officer, suggested "the single largest phenomenon about the youth is that they network.

"They do this to create possibilities for themselves. And we have positioned our brand on this insight. Our pivotal differentiator revolves around helping young people network better."

In order to tap in to the needs of this cohort, most of the mobile operator's marketing team are between 25 and 30 years old.

"We are willing to go to areas that are a taboo for the society but not for the youth," Narsimhan explained.
Figures from Bharti Airtel, the telecoms giant, also show that data download sizes have grown from a norm of two gigabytes a month two years ago to eight gigabytes a month today.

"There is an explosion in data download; YouTube is the most accessed site on Airtel broadband," said K Srinivas, its joint president of telemedia.

"I have learnt that these people are more individualistic and impatient. They want everything here and now."

Bharti Airtel's latest ad campaign, which boasts the tagline "Impatience is the New Life", was first launched on the web, and hopes to attract new customers of no more than 25 years of age.

The company has also begun to track feedback about its services on blogs and other Web 2.0 portals popular with this audience, and offers a range of free Twitter services on its handsets.

Data sourced from Business Standard; additional content by Warc staff