India’s economy is growing, driven by an emerging middle class that will account for half the population within a few years and will lead to increasing product premiumisation, a leading business executive believes.

“The Indian middle-class will finally come of age in this decade,” according to D Shivakumar, Group Executive President – Corporate Strategy & Business Development at Aditya Birla Group.

“For 30 years we have been waiting for it to emerge,” he told the recent ISA CEO conference in Mumbai. “Every multinational company has been disappointed with the pace of growth of the Indian middle class; the promise has been huge but the delivery low.”

Things are moving more rapidly now. “By 2030 India will have a dominant middle-class,” he stated. “Only 5% of India’s population will be poor and 51% of Indian households will earn over US$8,500 per annum.” (For more, read WARC’s report: India in 2030: Connectivity, content and the middle class.)

Moreover, he added, India will not follow any other country’s path. “It will not mimic a China or an America or a Germany. India will be a richer, younger, more educated and a more connected country.”

Within the next ten years, one billion Indians will be on the internet, almost all of them using smartphones – and this level of device ownership, combined with low data charges, signals the direction brand marketing will take.

“I believe video, voice, vernacular and views will determine what most brands will do in the future,” Shivakumar said.

Technology is also impacting the front-end of the selling process: as digital platforms have made shopping easier, shoppers want that experience replicated in the physical world, he suggested.

“Premiumisation will accelerate, especially for personal products,” he added. “Almost 53% of the next wave of growth will be in the premium segment,” Shivakumar predicted.

“This means new capabilities in terms of design and packaging have to happen along with more attention-grabbing technologies at the point of purchase.

“People will want to know everything about a brand, they will want an immersive experience at the front end.”

Sourced form WARC