Small town and rural India: The dawn of new consumption

Gurpreet Wasi

The rural landscape in India is hurtling ahead of the clichés in the urban imagination. The gawky youth in filmy looking goggles, tight jeans and fitted floral shirts, the Salman Khan clone, is no longer the popular imagery to represent the progress of India's villages.

Though the rural market in India contributes 70% of India's population, 56% of income, 64% of expenditure and 33% of savings, it is not the large homogeneous mass of popular presumptions. Not much can be aggregated except that it is most definitely a vast untapped market that amounts to 12% of the world's population, contributes to 50% of India's GDP and 17%-plus market growth!

Further undermining the clichés, it is also interesting to note that 54% of rural GDP is from non-agricultural occupations.

The slow unfurling of rural affluence is finally a reality in India and IMRB's recently concluded extensive research on small town and rural consumers, reveals that the size of the affluent ("well-off") group in rural India is close to that in urban India. There are around 1.7 million households that already own a TV, computer/laptop, telephone/mobile phone and scooter/car; and in fact rural monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE) is growing at a faster rate than urban.