India Consumption Story – 1

(Image used for illustrative purpose only)

June 30 every year, the statisticians and policy makers are busy as the date marks the end of NSSO Consumer Expenditure Survey for each year. It is expected that the results of this year’s Survey, when revealed, would herald an era of marking India as middle class, middle income economy and depart from calling her as a ‘poor’ country. Indians, below the poverty line, will be in single digit percentage of overall population. One conservative study says that 44 Indians are alleviating above poverty line every minute while the ‘official’ figure is 100 Indians every minute. I really don’t care about the exact figure so long as this trend is so positive. The hard work done by successive governments towards inclusion strategies and other initiatives will bear fruits sooner than later.

Sure, the policies and politicians have helped. But the real reason for India’s growth is Indians themselves. We do not call ourselves as Roti, Kapda aur Makan economy any more. A famous cola advertisement that blared ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ reflected the mind of young and restless India so well. Indians want more. Out of nearly 1.33 billion population, India has 440 million millennials and 390 million Gen Z teens and children. With over 850 million Indians born after 1980, it is indeed a young country. The young India that is hungry and restless. The young India that is healthier and more educated. The young India that wants all that its money can buy. The young India that wants to earn more money. The ‘youngistan’ that wants to be at the driver’s seat of the world.

The sheer amount of youth in the populace will pay its dividend as a huge story in consumption. Thanks to the mobile phones, better infrastructure to connect, improvements in living standards, etc., the Indians now have better access to opportunities.

Our forefathers told us to save, save and save for the rainy day. The youngistan no longer fears the rainy day. They want to make each rainy day as an occasion and spend on chai and pakoras! The earlier generations of independent India managed to ‘save’ a substantial sum for their next generation. The economy, therefore, had a particularly large percentage of GDP converted into savings. The youngster today has a different outlook towards life. She wants to spend on herself and on her loved ones. She believes in earning more and spending more as against saving more as her mother may have taught her. To confirm this, all that you need is a visit to nearby mall and a restaurant! Spend more to enjoy life, the economy will grow as a consequence. When an economy grows, there will be little need to worry about future and hence the need to save today. Bold and interesting thinking!

If you are an entrepreneur, this needs to be studied further and little more seriously. Your speed of growth will depend on which side of India’s consumption story is your business located.