India’s five southern states account for almost a quarter of all FMCG sales and their shopping habits differ in several ways from the rest of the country, research shows.

Research firm Kantar Worldpanel carried out a consumer survey, recording households’ monthly purchases of fast-moving consumer goods, their frequency of shopping, and what they were spending on.

It found that they typically spend more on groceries than the rest of India, Mint reported. And they are also more likely to experiment and to buy smaller pack sizes.

Part of the reason is that these states are more economically advanced, with a 50% higher per capita net state domestic product than the national average, and they have a higher concentration of SEC A and B households (33% v 24% national average). They are also more urbanised.

Taken together, these factors “determine some level of affluence or a slightly more forward consumer demographic and that’s perhaps the reason they are experimenting”, observed K. Ramakrishnan, group head and general manager, Worldpanel.

One way that willingness to try new products manifests itself, Kantar suggested, is in the smaller, and cheaper, pack sizes consumers in these states are buying.

“Southern households are in love with smaller packs,” the study said, noting that the average pack size bought in the south, at 178 grams, is around 20% smaller than the average for the rest of the country. They also buy more packs over the course of a year (586 v 534).

Further, southern households are spending more in total and the fact they pay on average 31% more for household care products and 12% more for food and beverage products indicates they are trading up.

Another relevant factor, Mint noted, is the more developed retail environment. “The south, unlike other zones, has a very well-developed multi-channel distribution,” pointed out Mayank Shah, senior category head at Parle Products.

“For instance, it was among the first zones to latch on to modern trade, and has also been a pioneer as far as digital marketplaces are concerned.”

Sourced from Mint; additional content by WARC staff