The Indian rural market with its vast size and demand base offers great opportunities to marketers. Two-thirds of countries consumers live in rural areas and almost half of the national income is generated here. It is only natural that rural markets form an important part of the total market of India. Our nation is classified in around 450 districts, and approximately 630000 villages, which can be sorted in different parameters such as literacy levels, accessibility, income levels, penetration, distances from nearest towns, etc.
70 % of India’s population lives in 627000 villages in rural areas. According to the NCAER study, there are almost twice as many ‘lower middle income’ households in rural areas as in the urban areas.
At the highest income level there are 2.3 million urban households as against 1.6 million households in rural areas.
Middle and high-income households in rural India is expected to grow from 80 million to 111 million by 2007.
In urban India, the same is expected to grow from 46 million to 59 million. Thus, the absolute size of rural India is expected to be double that of urban India.
The above figures are a clear indication that the rural markets offer the great potential to help the India Inc which has reached the plateau of their business curve in urban India to bank upon the volume-driven growth.
The Indian rural market with its vast size and demand base offers a huge opportunity that MNCs cannot afford to ignore. With 128 million households, the rural population is nearly three times the urban.
As a result of the growing affluence, fuelled by good monsoons and the increase in agricultural output to 200 million tonnes from 176 million tonnes in 1991, rural India has a large consuming class with 41 per cent of India’s middle-class and 58 per cent of the total disposable income.
The importance of the rural market for some FMCG and durable marketers is underlined by the fact that the rural market accounts for close to 70 per cent of toilet-soap users and 38 per cent of all two-wheeler purchased.
The rural market accounts for half the total market for TV sets, fans, pressure cookers, bicycles, washing soap, blades, tea, salt and toothpowder, What is more, the rural market for FMCG products is growing much faster than the urban counterpart.