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Middle Class Growing Aspirations
Wed, 24 Feb Pre-Open

India alone accounts for a whopping 3% of the global middle class population. If reports are to be believed, Indian middle class almost holds a quarter of the country's wealth. Further, demographic dividend of India indicates that the median age of the population in India is 27 years. This indicates a fairly young population. With an unrivalled young population and a rapidly growing economy, India is progressing towards a better and brighter future. The growing aspirations of the young population will drive them to look for products that confirm to the global standards.

Further, aspirational needs of the middle class are always on an increasing trend. They strive to shift to higher income levels. This often leads to shifting to urban areas which in-turn leads to increasing urbanization. With increasing urbanization, India is expected to emerge as the world's third largest construction market by 2020, with a projected 50% of India's population expected to live in cities in the near future. This opens up mammoth opportunities for corporate India.

However, it is ironical that such a huge middle class population contributes to only a quarter of the country's wealth. The figure seems to be on a lower side when compared to the likes of China and Brazil. The middle class in these countries hold almost one-third of the country's wealth. This indicates that the income gap still persists and the middle class has still a long way to go to move up in the value chain.

Moreover, oil prices have acted as a boon to the middle class consumer. As on November 11, 2014, the price of the Indian basket of crude oil was at US$ 79.11 per barrel. By January 16, the price had fallen to US$ 26.43 per barrel or close to 67%. Though the government has increased the excise duty on petrol and diesel, there has been some relief for the end consumer. Lower consumer price index (CPI) has also played its part. Reportedly, lower crude prices and inflation have led to increased discretionary spends in education, healthcare, communication and personal products. However, this point is debatable since a significant impact is yet to be seen at the ground level wherein companies are still witnessing flat turnover.

If the past is an indicator, the Indian middle class certainly has the power to assist the growth of the economy. Both public and private sector firms will need to cater to the increasing aspirations of the new middle-class consumer who wants convenience, quality and variety and is willing to pay an appropriate price for it.

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Nov 24, 2017 03:37 PM