MNCs must look at India as standalone market: Book

MNCs must look at India as standalone market: Book

Mumbai: Instead of comparing Indian market conditions with other emerging economies, and replicating their earlier success models here, the MNCs wanting to have a share in the one billion consumer market pie should consider India as a standalone market, says a top market expert.

“Most market analysts and business strategists bark up the wrong tree when they evaluate the Indian opportunity by asking the question-when will India have the per capita income and infrastructure of China, per capita consumption of Brazil, the education level of Russia and institutional framework of USA," market strategist Rama Bijapurkar says in her book, ‘We are like that only: Understanding the Logic of Consumer India´.

Even though numerous multinational companies came to India hoping to have a share of arguably the largest untapped market in the world, what they got instead was hungry yet astute consumers who bargain on anything from taxi fare to interest rates.

“Evaluating India through a comparative lens will lead to an inevitable conclusion that ‘now´ will never be a good time to enter a market of a billion consumers, US dollar one trillion GDP, growing at eight to nine per cent, because it will probably never catch up with the benchmark ‘someplace else´," Bijapurkar says.

When evaluated through a standalone lens, the glass of market attractiveness is half full and half empty. However, there are several signs that would lead one to believe that the glass is filling - maybe not as fast as we would like it to, but the water level is definitely rising with each passing year, Bijapurkar says.

Considered one of the leading consultants on market strategy and consumer behaviour, Bijapurkar has tried to make sense of the complex Indian market, the diverse consumer behaviour and the ways to make a company’s fortune in this billion-plus market in the book.

Indians are not wannabe Western, the author warns the MNC heads, who think of replicating success stories of West in India.

Euro RSCG, a leading advertising agency, polled over 2,000 young people in the top eight cities in India, in the age group of 15-30. The key finding was that they preferred Indian brands, looks and environments to bring up their children.

They actually believed that personal care products made for India worked better than the imported ones - a huge movement from the 1960s and 70s, when there was a premium on imported goods.

Indian is the brand they are proud to belong to and aspire to make it even better. So any product or service moulded to suit with ethnic environment would do better than something with which they don’t relate with.