Nielsen study says rich Indians prefer English newspapers, Hindi TV programmes

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media | September 03, 2009
The Nielsen Upper Middle and Rich (UMAR) survey shows that affluent Indian households prefer English dailies, but watch Hindi TV programmes

The Nielsen Company India launched its survey, Nielsen Upper Middle and Rich (UMAR), detailing mass and emerging media consumption, and the lifestyle habits of the affluent in Indian society. The survey covered more than 18,250 individuals across 35 Indian metros.

The survey identified three segments of affluence from lifestyle and consumer durables mapping - Upper Middle, Upper-Upper Middle and Rich. The grouping was done based on the ownership of a car, a computer, an LCD television, and enjoying a holiday abroad.

Nielsen UMAR survey estimates a total of 2.5 million affluent households in India, of which 2.2 million belong to the Upper Middle segment (owning a car and a computer); and 0.2 million households belong to the Upper-Upper Middle segment (owners of a car, computer and LCD television). The Rich segment (owners of a car, computer and LCD television, and have holidayed abroad) consists of about 0.1 million households.

It says that although nearly half of the targeted consumers are schooled in English, the languages spoken at home reveal a regional bias.

The survey finds that while English is the preferred language for newspapers, the television programmes watched are more in regional languages, thereby disproving a popularly held myth that the well-off are more inclined towards English programmes.

The trend of reading magazines is not very high and more than six in ten individuals do not read magazines.

Nine in ten affluent individuals own a house; three-quarters have a fully automated washing machine; and nearly two in five affluent individuals have a home theatre and modular kitchen.

On entertainment habits, the survey reveals that more than three in five watch movies outside home and more than half use the internet at home. Listening to the radio and watching movies out of home are high among the Rich segment.

Detailing media consumption, the survey says that 98 per cent of the individuals watch TV; 70 per cent read English dailies; 67 per cent watch movies outside home; 55 per cent use the internet; 54 per cent listen to the radio; while 38 per cent and 10 per cent read magazines and English business dailies, respectively.

The survey, interestingly, finds that the slowdown in the economy has had little effect on spending habits, with 40-50 per cent of the respondents saying that their expenditure on travel, luxury accessories, fuel, vehicle usage, branded garments and consumer durables has seen no change. However, spending on luxury accessories and vacations, compared to other items, has reduced.

On lifestyle, fine dining is high among this section of the society, with eight in ten individuals going out for meals often. Shopping is also a fad. Nine in ten prefer to shop at modern retail stores - articles of interest include footwear, jewellery, handbags, sunglasses, cosmetics, fragrances, pens and watches. Respondents are found visiting gymnasiums, spas and beauty parlours, with three in ten visiting a parlour or spa once a month.

The survey ranks Delhi, Bengaluru, Greater Mumbai and Chennai as the most affluent cities in India, followed by Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kochi, Pune, Jaipur and Ahmedabad, respectively.

Partha Rakshit, managing director, South Asia, AC Nielsen ORG-MARG says in a press statement, "The primary reason for conducting Nielsen UMAR was to obtain a realistic estimate of the affluent segment and profile their media and consumption habits. Large scale surveys, like the NRS and IRS, grossly underestimate this segment, as their sampling procedures are directed towards a mass audience and not specifically to this segment."

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