With non metro cities and towns slowly catching up with their metro counterparts in terms of consumerism, it is difficult to distinguish the two into separate categories. Sandip Tarkas, president, customer strategy and CEO, Future Media and T24, Future Group, believes this and shared his observations about the non metro consumers at a recently held Unmetro event, supported by Dainik Bhaskar and organised by afaqs!.
The overall sense that the teams came back with was one of an air of positivity and optimism for the future; a quality which was not shared by their metro counterparts. There was a sense that things have changed for the better and a new trajectory of aspirations with a belief that they (people in non metros) can do a lot better. The people in Unmetros also wanted a quantum jump and not incremental jumps. Traditional notions of career/opportunities were dramatically changing. This resulted in many self-help and personality development classes cropping up in many of the towns visited by Tarkas' team. Even the gap between towns and cities were reducing with presence of malls and multiplexes.
Interestingly, there is a dramatic change in the demeanour of women, who seem to be far more ambitious and aspirational. "The native talent is no longer vying for attention from metros but is attempting at global spotlight. People don't feel constrained by the fact that they live in a small city," Tarkas said.
Despite what the people in non-metros revealed in this new found attitude, they are also rooted in tradition, Tarkas noted. So, he said, there is an opportunity for national brands with local dialect. In fact, India outside of metros seems to be the emerging India. He concluded his presentation by saying that due to the overflowing prosperity and changing attitude, the brand's stores in every city approached each of them differently, depending on the catchment for that store.
Unmetro was a one day event held in Mumbai. The first leg of the event was held in Delhi.