Single in the city and living on Maggi

Single in the city and living on Maggi

Last week’s segment C1 comprised households whose chief wage earner is highly educated, employed as a professional and is either single or married, but without children. This week we focus on households where the chief wage earner is single and lives alone, is well-educated and is either professional or a skilled worker i.e. segment C2.

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This segment, representing young migrants to cities, single and living alone, makes up more than 500,000 households across Indian cities. They make for an interesting group, with a lot of diversity in origin and occupation but they have one characteristic that keeps them apart from others—these people are those who have struck out independently, in most cases they have no family connection in the city they have moved to and are yet to “settle" down in marriage.

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As it is quite uncommon for Indian women to stay alone in cities, this segment is predominantly male. But there are still 18% females here, looking to meet their career aspirations in big cities and willing to slog it out alone.

Almost all these persons are less than 35 years of age; in fact, while almost a third are less than 25 years, 61% are in the age group 25-34.

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A small 3% of them are divorced or widowed, while 97% have not married yet. This brings out two points—one, in general, people wait much longer before getting married in the city, and two, divorces, albeit a small share, are increasingly becoming more common. The streak of individualism is becoming quite strong in the city, as people value their independence much more than before.

Their educational qualifications are above average—almost 60% are graduates and 17% have completed their postgraduate degrees. However, almost a quarter in this segment have received a diploma or certificate in some kind of technical course, after leaving school. This is a very mixed group when it comes to skills and education backgrounds.

Consequently, there is a lot of diversity in the employment profiles within this segment. The three categories: education, health and social work; manufacturing; construction, real estate and related activities, all take up a little more than 20% each. Public administration accounts for 11%.

The actual job profile would vary substantially depending on their educational and skill profile. Just 10% have launched out on their own, not depending on regular salary for a living.

Income wise, the majority earn less than Rs3 lakh annually. Just 17% earn more than that amount. For the professionals, it is their youth that is keeping the income levels low, and as their careers progress, they will move up into higher income brackets. However, for the skilled workers, the scope for raising income levels is relatively limited, despite the paucity of specialized workers in the country.

Since these are single member households, there are no seniors, no minors. Consumption baskets reflect the life of a single male or female in the city.

A good 78% stay in rented accommodation and rent takes up 32% of the budget. Food is the other important component of expenditure. Here high value food items such as milk, eggs, meat and processed food take up more than 30% of the consumption basket. Food that is convenient and time-saving is a priority for those living alone.

So whether it is eggs and bread, soup packets, ready-to-mix masalas for a quick meal, what this segment is looking for is something that is easy to make and satisfying. There would be a wide range of items that people would be consuming, such as pickles, papads, savouries, sweetmeats, etc., that would have to be sourced from shops as well. This is another consumer segment that just might well be living on the quintessential Maggi noodles and using Kissan ketchup to add the zing thing to every meal.

Going ahead, as these people move up in their careers and life, they will be looking to buy their own homes. Typically, the young and single do not think much about saving for the future, they would need to be made aware of the merits in entering savings and insurance schemes early in life.

This series is brought to you by research firmIndicus Analytics Pvt Ltd--

Illustration by Shyamal Banerjee / Mint

Graphics by Ahmed Raza Khan / Mint