IIPM Admission

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


The slowdown has not just blown away the bank balance of big corporate houses but also given a new definition to consumerism, says Naresh Gupta, EVP, Strategic Planning, Publicis India

Recession is the cyclone that has blown away the existing structures, markers and pathfinders. It has reorganised the landscape and consumers have been forced to reorganise their lives. As it happens, while adapting to a new stimulus, people give up a few of their old ways, and learn some new tricks. What has made this effort even more challenging is the fact that there are no previous experiences to fall back on. So we are seeing some major changes in behavior, which will have deeper impact in future, and some changes that are temporary and consumers may give it up, once the threat is over. Here are a few things that consumers are giving up. These are five behavioral trends that are driving our lives today.

Caution is in, optimism is out: India has been among the world’s most optimistic country. We have seen economic growth like never before, and future has never seemed as bright as it has in the past decade. This has lead to a constant search for new pleasures, new experiences and new beliefs. Category after category has been benefited with this optimism that the we have displayed. However, this optimism today is guarded. We are cautious, waiting and keenly watching what the future will bring. All in all, we have pressed the pause button. Thus, optimism is on hold.

Impulse is out, making choices is in: The shopping list has been trimmed down to what is needed. We are making hard choices, evaluating what we need to buy, and not buying whatever we may not need. Just a year ago we would not have blinked an eye and bought that car, Plasma or taken that foreign holiday. As we are relearning the paradox of choice, we are making choices.

EMI is out, MI is in: We had stopped buying a house, or a car or that home theatre system. We only bought the EMI. We always stretched ourselves to buy the bigger house, better car or powerful theatre system. The credit card was the currency and possession was the symbol. Recession has forced us to give up EMI, pack our credit cards, and learn to be frugal. What we look at is Monthly Income, and monthly savings. EMI has moved on to MI (monthly income).

Regular is out, bargain is in: Today’s shopping is all about bargains. Retailers are packing in freebies to lure the shoppers back to turnstiles. Movie tickets get you free popcorns, two shirts get you two more, cars get you free insurance, homes get you loan holidays. This has turned regular shoppers into bargain hunters. MRP now has no value; bargains are what drive the choice matrix. Will we now ever bother to check MRP? Image is out, image is in: Image has been a big driver of our lives. We have always wanted to display our success, progress and prosperity.

Recession or no recession, we will continue to display our progress and prosperity. If Image yesterday was displayed by ostentatious consumption, today it is displayed with being responsive and being caring. Image will continue to drive us beyond recession...

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2009

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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