Unmetros: Open windows

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Marketing
Last updated : August 04, 2014
The demand for PCs, laptops and tablets in non-metro cities is increasing at a rapid pace. The unmetro consumer needs and deserves better healthcare services.

Presenting the keynote at the Dainik Bhaskar Unmetro Conference in Bengaluru, P. Krishnakumar, executive director & GM, consumer & small businesses, Dell India, defines metros as the cities with various opportunities at a point in time, to which people migrated in search of opportunities and which were organised. Cities which do not have all that the metros have as unmetro cities.

P Krishnakumar

Ashwin Naik

"There are 468 towns with a population greater than 1 lakh and 70 per cent of the urban population lives in these towns. The PC penetration in emerging markets in India is 10 per cent, below even Sri Lanka which is at 12 per cent - Malaysia has the highest at 64 per cent. Despite ecommerce being a huge success, about 85 per cent of the market is still unaddressed. Hence, we need physical stores in these markets where the customer can touch and feel the product before purchasing. Dell has 6,870 counters in 1,010 cities."

He mentioned a 58 per cent growth of rural internet users year on year. Online search is going up by more than 300 per cent in Tier 3-5 cities and around 50 per cent of the ecommerce growth is coming from these cities. For Dell, the growth from T3-T5 markets has been four times. Highlighting another interesting aspect of the Unmetro markets, Kumar stressed that these markets are not necessarily value seeking or low value markets, as the stereotypes suggest. On the contrary, sales of higher value devices have done far better in these markets, without the added crutch of special offers, that has become a bane of selling in the over marketed metros.

Ashwin Naik, CEO and co-founder, Vaatsalya in his session, The story of Vaatsalya, shared how the 10-year-old organization, set up to build hospital in smaller towns, is now present in nine locations. "The idea behind Vaatsalya was to provide access to healthcare services in small towns, preventing people from travelling hundreds of kilometers to avail these services. A large number of people travel to neighbouring towns and cities in search of good quality healthcare services - 8 per cent of all overnight trips from small towns to urban areas are health related," he said.

According to him, the current healthcare scenario is a pyramid with primary care at the bottom, secondary care in the middle and tertiary - including specialised services like cardiac and neurology - at the top. But the distribution of hospitals is completely reversed. All tertiary care hospitals are in the urban areas and the rural areas have very few primary hospitals. There is a mismatch of supply and demand. Because of this all the city hospitals are crowded. People go there to get treated for common cold to brain cancer which is an inefficient way for the customers to get healthcare delivery. "Our intention is to reverse the pyramids. We focus on primary and secondary care with services like mother and child care, general surgery and internal medicines," said Naik.

"When we started out, we did not know much about how to run a business, but we learnt a lot along the way. What we have learnt in the past 10 years is that business is a good combination of purpose, belief, rhythm and luck. What works in the urban markets is completely different from what works in the unmetros."

First Published : August 04, 2014
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