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Business News/ News / India/  Online gains traction among media consumers in Bharat
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Online gains traction among media consumers in Bharat

YouTube, Hotstar, WhatsApp and Facebook top the popularity charts for users in rural India
  • Consumption of online content was led by music/audio (69%), news (49%) and gaming (33%)
  • Despite covid worries, rural consumers were positive about economic revivalPremium
    Despite covid worries, rural consumers were positive about economic revival

    NEW DELHI : People in India’s villages are watching more YouTube videos and Disney+Hotstar compared with other streaming apps. They are also consuming more music and audio online followed by news. WhatsApp and Facebook have also emerged as the top social media platforms used by them. These are the findings of a joint report released by media agency GroupM and insights and consulting firm Kantar on Wednesday.

    There has been an internet revolution in rural India, with online being the most consumed media after television, the report said.

    Kantar along with GroupM’s rural and experiential marketing unit Dialogue Factory unveiled the second edition of the "Rural Covid Barometer Report" which explores rural India’s concern about the impact of the second wave and how it alters consumer behaviour and purchase patterns. The research was conducted in villages of 18 Indian states with over 3,800 rural adults (above 18 years) with representation across gender, NCCS and age groups. All socio-cultural regions (SCRs) are also covered within each state to reflect the variability that exists. This includes the migrants that have returned to their villages, too.

    With respect to online content consumption, music/ audio (69%) leads the pack followed by news (49%) and gaming (33%). Usage of video / over-the-top (OTT) video streaming apps are driven by YouTube at 87% with higher consumption in states of Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh (AP), Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Bihar. Disney+ Hotstar is the next most watched platforms at 30% with the highest usage in Uttar Pradesh (UP), Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Kerala.

    Messenger platform WhatsApp is used by 87% people most in Rajasthan, AP, Telengana and Karnataka, while social media platform Facebook by 66% highest in Odisha, UP, Gujarat and West Bengal.

    PhonePe is the most used digital payments app with 19% rural consumers having used these services in the last six months. Usage of PhonePe is driven by Karnataka at 46% followed by Rajasthan at 38%.

    The study also captured the consumer sentiment around covid 19. It said that rural India is highly concerned about the covid situation in second wave with the concerns being higher among women (91%) as compared to men (85%) mostly in the higher age group (55+ year olds). These concerns are driven by the pandemic’s impact on day-to-day life and functioning, fear of falling sick and overall need for financial planning. Consequently, rural consumption and shopping patterns have witnessed a shift.

    Rural consumers are saving 25% of their income, the report stated. It said Southern India (except for Tamil Nadu) is saving more in comparison to other parts of the country. Predictably, expenses are higher on personal care, hygiene and cleaning products while spends on indulgence and beauty products have taken a back seat.

    Puneet Avasthi, senior executive director, Insights Division, Kantar said that with a highly concerned rural consumer, rural India is planning finances better and inclined towards a savings mindset. "This offers a significant headroom for growth to savings and investment products such as insurance and even mutual funds. Additionally, we are witnessing a significant rise in digital payments as an important mode of transaction, this offers a robust platform for rural financial inclusion, as also for suitable hyperlocal promotions. With the change in consumption priorities in favour of health and hygiene products (a trend that has held since the first wave), FMCG marketers should leverage this trend for planning their innovation pipeline," he added.

    In spite of their concerns, rural consumers are positive about economic recovery. Nearly three in four rural households have received some form of assistance via Government of India schemes, providing the much-needed financial cushion to consumers.

    Yet the report projects a slowdown for sectors like consumer durables and automotive (two-wheeler) in rural India in the next six months. But the smartphone category is expected to see faster growth in the near future, it added, aligning with the increased digital media consumption.

    The survey also expects the construction sector to bounce-back with consumers spending on building a house or undertaking smaller construction work in the next six months.

    Dalveer Singh, head of experiential marketing-Asia Pacific, GroupM Dialogue Factory said that growth is going to slowdown for consumer durables and two-wheelers because the future intent on these sectors is low. People have purchased and focused on these needs in the previous six months therefore in the prioritization hierarchy, the appetite for purchasing consumer durables or two wheelers is expected to be lower, Singh said. “Consumers will make purchases for this but on a lower scale compared to a pre-covid times. Smartphones and construction, being essentials, will see continued growth in the next six months," he added.

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    Updated: 09 Sep 2021, 06:29 AM IST
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