Indian consumers value substance over style

Subbu Subramanyeswar

Indian consumers are loyal to brands that have a track record of reliable service and those that offer best value for money, but they are not so loyal to premium 'image' brands

India presents one of the toughest marketing challenges to firms around the world, despite being an open, democratic country with a free market economy.

On the one hand is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – a market of 1 billion people with a vibrant economy growing at 8% annually, with 400 million consumers in the aspirational, urban middle class, who have significant disposable income. On the other hand is the rainbow itself. The sheer diversity one encounters in India is truly mind-boggling. Whether in terms of regions, ethnicity, religious beliefs, languages, customs, food, dress, the rich-poor divide, the traditional-modern split, the generation gap and any number of other differences and contradictions, India is not one country, but many rolled into one. It's said that whatever you say about India, the opposite is equally true.