At the recently held event, Dainik Bhaskar Unmetro, Rahul Varma, executive director, Media CT and public affairs, Ipsos, spoke about the regions that currently comprise Unmetro India and the characteristic features that define consumers from these regions.
"India," Varma said, "is domestically led and domestically driven," a fact that makes it more resilient to global crises and downturns.
When it comes to the inclination to spend, small town India, he shared, beats urban India. And interestingly, children from these markets play a key role in the pre-purchase decision making process, even in the case of so-called big ticket items such as cars. And 'Made in India' labels are no longer shunned.
Varma then shared some Census data to illustrate how urbanisation has grown between 2001 and 2011: The number of towns in India during this period has risen from 1362 to 3894. And today, there are 46 cities that have a population of more than 10 lakh. Over a decade back, this figure was 19. Moreover, today there are 23 cities that have a population of 10-15 lakh.
Among today's fast-growing towns that comprise Unmetro India are names like Surat, Patna, Ranchi, Jodhpur, Rajkot, Allahabad, Nasik, Coimbatore, Aurangabad, Ludhiana, Agra and Vadodara, among others. Intriguingly, he named Pune and Jaipur as "tomorrow's metros," with special emphasis on the latter.
Some of the indicators of growth include: influx of people to these towns, population growth, infrastructure development, health and education systems, traffic management, rise in tourism, availability of electricity, sanitation, women's literacy and number of private/government institutions.
Varma then went on to characterise the quintessential Unmetro inhabitant. Collective traits that define residents of Unmetro India are: the desire to live life to the fullest, soak up new experiences, maximise life's potential and seek out the unknown. Unmetro towns rank very high on the "fun, enjoyment and vitality" indices.
Apparently, Unmetro-dwellers feel very good about their towns - much more than average urbanites! Towns that rank high on this parameter are Pune, Nagpur, Nasik, Rajkot and Amritsar. "These people have a high sense of pride about their cities but are not arrogant," said Varma.
Moreover, he said, these people are more satisfied and far less frustrated than their urban counterparts. For them, unlike city-dwellers, it is not about the struggle; rather, it's all about having fun.
"Unmetro India is not seeking power. It is seeking enjoyment and recognition," he said about the need of the Unmetro resident to showcase to others that he/she is special. "To target Unmetro India, we have to make them feel sought after and respected," he asserted.
Varma concluded his presentation by urging marketers in the audience to refrain from replicating their urban strategies in Unmetro markets. Instead, marketers should craft fresh, tailor-made brand strategies for these consumers, he insisted.