Middle class offers growth in India

08 February 2011

NEW DELHI: The number of middle class shoppers in India will increase by more than half during the next five years, offering considerable opportunities for brand owners.

According to the Centre for Macro Consumer Research, part of the National Council for Applied Economic Research, this demographic should increase by 67% by 2015/16.

This means 53.3m households - 267m people - should earn a minimum 3.4 lakh rupees ($7,495; €5,498; £4,642) and maximum 17 lakh rupees per year at 2009/10 prices.

Some 31.4m homes, or 160m individuals, meet this criteria today, and these figures are projected to hit 113.8m and 547m respectively by 2025/26.

This audience now contributes 13.1% of India's entire population, and is due to take a 20.3% share in five years time, climbing to 37.2% at the end of the forecast period.

Overall, it is estimated the average middle class residence allots around 50% of its income or day-to-day living expenses, with the rest typically allocated to savings.

"A middle class family has strong purchasing power to spend on durables and other items," Shukla said.

"There is a huge market being created for the white goods and automobile makers."

Among the primary factors stimulating this trend are India's rapid fiscal growth, reaching at least 9% going forward, and surging rates of urbanisation.

In demonstration of the possibilities such shifts afford, while India's middle class currently makes up under 15% of the nation's citizenry, its members account for 53.2% of computer ownership.

This total stands at 52.9% regarding air conditioning units, 49% concerning cars, 45.7% for credit cards, 37.8% for microwaves and 21% for TV sets.

A broad range of industries may benefit from rising affluence and changing consumer behaviour, the Centre for Macro Consumer Research concluded.

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff