Indian Rural Markets and their potential

India is one of the most challenging markets in the world which fooled big marketers and companies across the world. We have over 1500 Gods segmented into 350 broad categories, and we have a God for every single day of the week. There are 9.5 lakh pan shops, 638,667 number of villages, 612 districts, and 28 states in India. This is the country where you see a pan shop and Haagen Daz together, and a bullock cart and a Mercedes in the traffic jams. Indian market is very challenging and it really fascinates me as a marketer.A very large part of Indian population still lives in villages defining the Rural India.

Rural India is very important for many companies and there is tremendous increase in investments and strategies surrounding the rural markets. Rural India Market buys:

– 45% of all soft drinks 

 – 50% of motorcycles, TVs, cigarettes, washing soap, fans, blades, and a lot others.

Rural Market Opportunities

Few of the companies that are going bullish in the rural markets:

 – HUL with its Project Shakti has already has a reach of 1.7 lakh villages, and aspires to reach 5 lakh villages by 2020.

 – Indian Tobacco Company (ITC) has a lot of penetration in the rural markets and the eChoupals are a big hit in the rural market.

 – Airtel is planning to reach around 2 lakh villages.

 – Marico with its most famous brand Parachute has a reach of 1 lakh villages.

 – Pepsi and Coke, the Cola giants, have a reach of 70,000 villages.

 – Dabur, known for its Lal Dant Manjan and Hajmola, has a reach of 60,000 villages.

 – Colgate with its Operation Jagruthi has a reach of over 60,000 villages.

 – Mahindra & Mahindra sells most of its SUVs in the rural market.
   Mahindra Shubhlabh is India’s largest exporter of fresh produce. Mahindra Shubhlabh engages with farmers in the production of export quality grapes, pomegranates, and apples aimed at delivering to domestic and international markets. It has a huge R&D facility in Pune to research on various modern seeds and saplings.

 – Nokia 1100 with its torch is a very big hit in the rural market. It is a perfect example of understanding the needs of the consumer. Nokia realized the need for a torch in the mobile for the rural people as they walk in the dark streets and fields of the village. Nokia is set to release some low cost phones to tap more from the tier-3 and tier-4 markets.

There are other companies like Godrej, ParleG, Asian Paints, Yes Bank, Royal Enfield, ITC and Revlon. 

Marketing Challenge

Delivering to the rural markets is a real challenge to many companies. In fact, the whole dynamics of these markets are so different that you need to look at a different product mix containing the 4A’s instead of the traditional 4P’s of marketing:

Acceptability – Build what the consumer wants

Affordability  – Make an affordable product

Availability    – Distribution plays a key role in the rural markets

Awareness      – Don’t promote the brand, demonstrate the product.

Top Media in Rural Markets

Dainik group is the leading newspaper in the rural markets. In the realm of television, we have the following in the descending order of penetration in the rural markets.

– Doordarshan has a reach of 97% of the rural markets in India.

– Zee Cinema which carries with the image of movies being the favourites of rural people.

– B4u movies

– MTV

– Discovery Hindi

One of the key trends in the rural markets is people changing very quickly from cable to satellite TV. This is because of the hassle-free dish connection of the satellite TV. Most of the dish TV companies like Tata Sky, BIG TV, and Airtel are selling good in the rural markets too. Similarly, Revlon has come up with a lipstick for the rural markets and it is doing very good as against Lakme. This shows that there is huge potential in these markets and it is interesting to see how these trends will transform the lives of the rural people and in turn impact the Indian markets.

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