Demographic transformation is a major challenge facing India’s brands, especially the rise of Gen Z, which Vodafone Idea is targeting as its next growth sector.

According to Hitesh Sood, associate vice president and head of marketing at Vodafone Idea Limited, online penetration is growing faster than expected – from 570 million users today to 800 million by the end of 2020 – and consumer behaviour is changing accordingly.

Digital trends in the country show that there is a significant shift to mobile viewing, for example, thanks to the launch of content such as online video series and the rise of rural and local language content.

“Of the 1.3 billion population of India, 472 million people belong to Gen Z – that is 50% more than China’s Gen Z population,” Sood told the recent Content Marketing Summit Asia in Mumbai. (For more, read WARC’s report: How Vodafone Idea – India’s biggest telco – is targeting Gen Z).

“But China has more millennials than India, which basically means China has been able to control its population in the last five years and India has become a more youthful country,” he explained.

But marketers have been focused on millennials for the last decade, Sood pointed out. “In fact, millennials is the most researched topic in the history of mankind, but Gen Z will overtake millennials by miles in the coming years.”

Understanding this demographic is therefore crucial to future success. And in many respects India’s Gen Z is not so very different from their peers in other parts of the world, where this age group tends to value individual expression and mobilise themselves for a variety of causes, unlike millennials who tend to focus on the self.

In the Indian context, Sood outlined how 70% of them expect the governments to do more, 48% support same-sex marriage, and 62% believe that racial, gender, ethnic and intellectual diversity is good for society.

Their role as influencers is underestimated, he added. “Fact is, they influence every single purchase decision made by the family, and it extends to every single household item; their influence is not restricted to just fashion, entertainment and travel decisions.”

And having been born into the digital age, their media consumption habits centre around the mobile phone: 70% of them watch two hours of videos on YouTube every day – one reason mobile data consumption is twice as high in India as the global average.

Sourced from WARC