The much acclaimed Indian consumer, on which India's economic growth thrives on, is elusive in many respects. The main reason for this is diversity in the social, cultural, economic, political and geographical environment of India that makes the market conditions challenging to the marketers. India has 27 states, each having their own food habits, languages spoken, religious practices within the same religion and lifestyles. This diversity presents challenges for marketers.
Like the diverse cultures and traditions in India, the different market segments in India are also very complex and thus add to the challenge. What is considered trendy in some markets could well be perceived as downmarket in other regions. Thus, in order to succeed, it is important to understand these differences across geographies and tweak one's products or services across regions.
The diversity associated with the market gets extended to retailing as well; while there are around 15 million small retail outlets (called as kirana shops) which are a part of the Indian marketing tradition, modern retailing in the form of supermarkets and hypermarkets is steadily growing in major metropolitan cities and tier two cities that have a population between half to one million.
Despite these diversities, India is expected to be transformed into one of the leading economies in the world within a couple of decades. In last two decades years India witnessed a remarkable shift in its economic, social and technological environment. The liberalization and privatization policies initiated by the Indian government in early nineties and the subsequent phenomenon of globalization have led to huge inflow of foreign investments and entry of large numbers of multinational corporations in India. The Indian consumer market is vibrant, dynamic and very much open for business. The challenges call for innovative and pragmatic responses from the marketers.