The Great Indian Consumption Story


Last week visited a friend’s house whose family had just shifted from Delhi to join him here. After cups of coffee and snacks and lots of chatting the friend took us around the house. While was impressed by the overall space and planning of the apartment in an otherwise cramped city. The first thing I noticed in the kitchen was 3 cooktops? Did I say 3 cooktops for a family of 4? Do each family member requires a different cook top (just as we have our choice of soaps, shampoo, cornflakes, jams) . Curiously I asked him why does he have 3 cooktops?

He said one was the original cooktop which his family had always. The second one was when he shifted to Bangalore while his family staying back in Delhi. As he could not eat the hotel food every day he bought a cooktop so that he could cook something basic for himself. Ok. This was understood. But what about the third? He sheepishly said that was bought due to the offer? My curiosity grew. How can a offer excite him when he already owns 2 and the third cannot be used? Understating my thoughts he explained further that there was an offer at one of the retail outlet on cook top which would give a non stick kadai, a non stock pan and 5 other items. He actually wanted the freebies. As the freebies were either not available for sale or buying all the items would be costlier than buying the cook top he decided to buy the cook top. Now that his family has shifted he has ended up with 3 cook tops. So there goes the consumption story.

Through the advent of modern retail our basic consumption has increased. From the basic eating habit we have moved to a breakfast of cornflakes, oats & muesli. Lots of families have different variants for different family members same is the case with soaps. Now shampoos and conditioners have been added.We have moved from days of cleaning utensils with the ash to detergent soap to detergent liquid similarly with jams from normal mixed fruit jam to exotic flavours like blueberry,strawberry to spreads of hazelnut, peanut and cheese. From a vanilla ice cream to hundreds of flavours available now. Same is the case with other products, from basic Television to LCD to LED; from a basic phone to smart phone to a iphone we have come a long way

The consumption story continues. All of us have upgraded our lifestyle with the increasing income and better access to products thanks to retail. While a retailer takes pride in increasing the Average Bill value e.g a customer shops on average of Rs 1000/ month. The retailers through various measures increases it to Rs 1200 by either selling me a new product such as a box of chocolates which otherwise would not have found its way to my shopping basket or upgraded the products I currently buy e.g- my monthly purchase is a mixed fruit jam for Rs 90 but I am sold a hazelnut spread for 149, thereby increasing my bill by Rs 59.

While the increased consumption leads to an improvement in living standards as well as growth in economy. The only concern being the small cramped space we city dwellers live in which prevents us from trying newer products and the increase consumption of processed foods.

Do you have any such instances where you bought a product which you would have never otherwise bought? Any products you bought just for the offer it had?

Please share with me


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