India’s youth is more connected than ever before. The ability to indulge within online shopping or watching movies/popular TV shows online, is allowing young people’s hopes, aspirations and expectations across India to converge. This is palpable in their attitudes towards client service, their expectations from brands, their social attitudes towards issues such as empowerment and independence, their professional and personal ambitions and attitudes towards each other. The changes in lifestyle and purchase decision driven by youth now are giving rise to a millennial intersection across India.
163 million (17%) of the rural population are internet users. While there are potential approximately 750 million users still in rural India who are yet to become Internet users, it would be wrong to assume that such statistics do not affect the youth today. Indian millennials are similarly on par with each other professionally, as being from a rural background is no longer a disadvantage, with youths of all background actively searching for funding towards their start up business. As the spread of Internet usage increases within rural India, rural dwellers, including the youths, are no longer at a disadvantage to their urban counterparts with regards to physical access to high street brands or the knowledge of popular pass times. In terms of consumer attitudes, today’s rural consumer is likely to exhibit precisely the same expectations with regards to quality, customer service and product offering as their urban counterparts. Whether rural or urban, today’s Indian youth have more in common than at any time in history.
Much like their urban counterparts, rural youth shares a desire for a comfortable life, progressive values and enthusiasm for technology. With regards to the latter, rural Indians spent most (25.3%) of their money on mobiles and other communication services, according to a National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) surveyconducted in July 2014-June 2015. The study found urban families spending almost the same proportion (26.3%) in this area. India reached the milestone of its billionth mobile user in October 2015 – another indicator of greater connectivity and affinity for technology in rural and urban India. Similarly, the survey also found that rural India spent 44.71% on vehicles for domestic use, while urban India spent 45.72%. According to industry body NASSCOM, there are about 280 IoT start-ups in India, out of which about 40 focus on smart agriculture. With technology giants throwing their weight behind bright innovations of IoT start-ups, indigenous players are ramping up their capabilities in the area.
The rural youth is very aware of mainstream trends and brands. It is not only the media which informs him of this, but also his cousin who works in the city and regularly chats with him about city life over the cell phone. In terms of consumer attitudes, today’s rural consumer is likely to exhibit precisely the same expectations with regards to quality, customer service and product offering as their urban counterparts. They viewed ownership of products as being able to enhance their social standing which made them reject stripped down, cheaper versions of products. A survey by Accenture found that 42% respondents increased spending in a category if it allowed them to buy a better version of the product, displaying a new charisma and perfectionist traits.
Overall, whether it is owning the latest branded technology or embarking on a start up, both urban and rural youths, regardless of their geographical locations, are striving towards the same goals. This millennial intersect is further supplemented through the encouragement of brands like Mobikwik, who provide offers/services aimed at youths looking to spend from their increasing disposable income. Ultimately, brands now have the golden opportunity to open their arms to the new millennial in town, thanks to an ever converging millennial intersect.