Nielsen Consumer 360: Consumer still sceptical

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Marketing | November 05, 2009
At the conference where changing trends and times were discussed, many discussions ensued on the consumer of tomorrow

Nielsen India organised 'Consumer 360', a conference where members of Nielsen presented papers based on the theme -- changing times, changing consumers and changing rules of marketing.

Asitava Sen, director for Business Consulting Services chalked out certain parameters, which would help predict growth drivers for any marketer.

& #BANNER1 & #He mentioned four critical steps in analysing where a business needs to play, in order to achieve profitability and growth. The first is to analyse the current state of the business, what has happened so far and what has driven the growth in business until now. Next is to identify trends that will impact the category of business. The third point is to develop a category forecast. Finally, one needs to prioritise based on what needs to be done and in what order.

Sen pointed out that trends are mainly affected by the economic scenario (present and possible future), demographics, health and wellness issues and consumer trends in general.

Finally, based on the finding post the analysis, a brand could create its marketing strategies, positioning and communication.

Shreelekha Chaudhary presented a paper on emerging Indian states for FMCG.

She said that presently, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh fall in the high-income and affluence category and are, thus, higher spenders. Next come Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which due to their populace, are fairly good spenders. Madhya Pradesh and Orissa fall in the low-spending category.

Considering factors such as demographics, affluence, human development, allocation of development funds, percentage of youth population and growth of rural regions; by 2015, UP and the adjoining states will join the other higher-consumption states. However, there might be a slowdown in Punjab, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, on account of a decrease in population growth.

By 2020, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and UP will have converted from unbranded to branded products. Urbanisation will occur in Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Bihar, and the consumption in Tamil Nadu and Delhi will upgrade. The slowdown in Punjab, Karnataka and Kerala will continue, but niche products will have better markets in these states.

Finally, Kalyan Karmakar, who is part of the financial services at Nielsen, made a presentation on why the Indian financial consumer wasn't as badly hit by the global slowdown as the rest of the world. Karmakar held Indian tradition and culture responsible for this, which signifies that a man cares more about his family's security than anything else.

Most Indians prefer to save their money by investing in gold, land or savings accounts; and very few were caught in the credit card trap. Thus, stable finances led to a sense of calm and hope.

Karmakar advised financial companies to walk, instead of just talk. He stated that during the slowdown, it was fashionable to be Indian and bank with a public sector bank; all things foreign, which once looked like honey, started creating doubt in the consumer's mind. Hence, it is imperative for international banks and financial services to talk about trust to the Indian consumer and bow to the great Indian family.