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Indian Rural Consumer’s Perception and their Buying Decisions

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Today the consumers of India have a multiple influence on income growth, aspiration to consume and a changed friendly thoughts and social status across the income ship, especially in rural India. Therefore, the buying behaviour of rural consumers has become an important-topic for discussion because in rural India, in recent time, is consuming everything from detergent to cars and this "rural perception" is being the important topic of market analysis. Besides, we know well that purchase decision in Indian homes have become a collective process with women and teenage children playing a major role on product and brand choices. Rural customers are conscious of value for money and for every rupee each spends. It is difficult to analyse the behaviour of the rural consumers towards the perceptions of the product. In this study the try has been made to know the buying perceptions of the rural consumer, their awareness about the product and their influential's on their purchasing behaviour. In this competitive market, the companies have to understand the customs and the role of the rural consumers to establish themselves into the rural market. The Indian rural market with grand size and grand demand attracts great opportunities to the marketers. Two third of our country's consumer lives in rural areas and almost half of the national income is generated from here. Our country is classified in 630000 villages that may be sorted in different parameters such as literacy levels, income levels, penetrations and distances. Customer satisfaction is essentially the culmination of series of customer experiences or, the net result of the good ones and the minus ones. It is an old saying that customer is the king because he is the person whose decision have an influence on the demand of any product or service.
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Indian Rural Consumer’s Perception and their
Buying Decisions
ASHISH KUMAR MISHRA
Program Director
Uniglobe College, Baneshwor, Kathmandu
Abstract
Today the consumers of India have a multiple influence on income growth, aspiration to consume and a changed friendly thoughts and
social status across the income ship, especially in rural India. Therefore, the buying behaviour of rural consumers has become an important
topic for discussion because in rural India, in recent time, is consuming everything from detergent to cars and this “rural perception” is
being the important topic of market analysis. Besides, we know well that purchase decision in Indian homes have become a collective
process with women and teenage children playing a major role on product and brand choices. Rural customers are conscious of value for
money and for every rupee each spends. It is difficult to analyse the behaviour of the rural consumers towards the perceptions of the product.
In this study the try has been made to know the buying perceptions of the rural consumer, their awareness about the product and their
influential’s on their purchasing behaviour. In this competitive market, the companies have to understand the customs and the role of the
rural consumers to establish themselves into the rural market.
The Indian rural market with grand size and grand demand attracts great opportunities to the marketers. Two third of our country’s
consumer lives in rural areas and almost half of the national income is generated from here. Our country is classified in 630000 villages
that may be sorted in different parameters such as literacy levels, income levels, penetrations and distances. Customer satisfaction is
essentially the culmination of series of customer experiences or, the net result of the good ones and the minus ones. It is an old saying that
customer is the king because he is the person whose decision have an influence on the demand of any product or service.
Key words: Rural perception, custom, consumer, purchasing behaviour
Introduction
This paper focuses on the behaviour of the rural consumer towards the product. Today’s rural customer has somewhat changed themselves
on the perception of the marketing of the product. Customers are always in changing mood, everyone wants something innovative and the
innovative product has attracted the rural customers with a surprise. The changing behaviour of the rural consumers, the marketing strategists
and multinationals has concentrated towards the Indian rural market. The marketing channel has played a great role in influencing the
purchasing behaviour of the rural customers. The excessive interventions of the private companies as HUL, Calvin Care, Porter and Gamble,
often resulted in the success of rural marketing in India. The Indian rural market is observed as a high potential market across the world.
According to the NCAER report published in The Economic Times, 1 August, 2010 Indian consumers’ earning, saving and consumption
patterns are rapidly changing much that a recent report by The Centre for Macro Consumer Research (CMCR) of the National Council of
Applied Economic Research (NCAER) predicts that by 2015, incomes of more than 42% rural household will shift from agriculture to non-
farm sources as construction, retail, trading etal. The rural landscape is undergoing a steady but dramatic change although it leads to a shift
in an income sources and consumption patterns by consumers in rural India. Another point that the report brings forth is the size of the
under-educated work force that rural India has. It says that hardly 14% of rural households have a graduate and above as a chief bread
winner accounting for over 28%of the total household income. Reinforcing the perception of Indians as a public who save for the rainy day,
the report points out that as many as 81% rural households save a part of their income for the future, even as more than 50% of households
are confident about the stability of the future.
Attempting to map consumer behaviour accurately is a constant challenge for market researchers. Today the annual size of the rural market
for value is estimated at around 1.80,000 crores for FMCG, Rs 6000 crores for durables, Rs 55000 crores for automobiles. The market
analyst feels that rural markets are important for the growth of companies as Hindustan Lever, the largest FMGC Company in the country.
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Marketing is all about knowing the consumer or customer intentions. Rural consumers are fundamentally different from their urban
consumers and different rural geographies areas considerable heterogeneity and hence it requires rural-specific and region-specific analysis
of consumer behaviour for understanding the rural consumers to know well that to what extent the consumer welfare is being enjoyed by
the rural consumers. Similar studies regarding behaviour of contractors in case of Kathmandu Nepal has been conducted best on positivism
and found that contractors are also reluctant to change at the time of buying contract (Mishra & Regmi, 2017; Chilual & Mishra 2018;
Mishra & Rai, 2017). This shows the behavioural studies is to be focussed for all type consumer in coming days.
Methodology
The knowledge and understanding of rural consumer behaviour leads to consumer protection and welfare that is synonymous with the
concept of economic welfare. Therefore, keeping in view the important goal of consumer welfare, a small level survey has been taken to
observe, understand and analyse the buying behaviour of rural consumers with particular reference to weaker sections.
Objectives
This study aimed at to investigate and analyse the effect of socio-economic influences on rural consumer behaviour in their purchasing
practices and focusing on the pattern of decision making agents with specific attention to the social status and level of income. Basically
this study aims at:
1. To identify the mode of purchase of the products.
2. To estimate the level of bargaining in the purchasing process.
3. To analyse the influence of family members in decision making process.
4. To find out the certain factors that have a bearing on consumer behaviour?
Area of the study
Five retail shops in Balrampur town of Uttar Pradesh State, to which the nearby rural consumers are habituated to visit and purchase the
consumer goods, were selected for interviewing the sample buyers. Two shops situated at chowk Bazar, a shop near to veer vinay chowk
and two shops near to vegetable market are selected to cover the rural consumers and from different directions, residing in the surrounding
villages of Balrampur town within a distance of 10 kms.
Sample Size
The size of the sample is 100 rural consumers, who are the resident of four villages of Balrampur revenue mandal and represent three sectors
of the rural economy-agriculture, industry and services. Among these 100 samples consumers, 40(40.0percent) belong to Big Farmers and
salaried employees 20(20.0 percent).40(40.0 percent) of sample consumers represents weaker sections, Comprising small and marginal
farmers, landless agricultural labourers and rural artisans. Purposive random sampling technique was used for selecting the consumers to
have different categories of buyers with specific attention to in income- groups and social status. 50(50 percent) sample buyers belong to
SCs,STs and OBCs and 50(50 percent) belong to other categories of social status. Among the 100 sample buyers 58(58 percent) belong to
the income group of Rs. Less than 10,000; 32(32 percent) belong to the income group of Rs 10001-25000 and 10(10 percent) belong to
25001+income group representing lower, middle and higher income groups.
Study Area
This study was carried out at the selected shops in Balrampur town, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Data collection
The study is based on the primary data collected by interviewing the sample buyers personally. A detailed questionnaire embracing the
objective laid down was designed and canvassed to the sample buyers. Information on their behavioural aspects and influential’s was
recorded at the selected shops after their purchase of consumer’s goods from those shops. The interviewed rural buyers were found
purchasing five types of consumer’s goods grouped under five categories viz., electrical goods, medicines, groceries, toiletries, tobacco.
Analysis of Results
As said earlier, the analysis is based on the primary information collected from 100 sample rural buyers. Among these buyers, 50% belong
to the social category of SCs,STs, and OBCs and the remaining (50%) represent the other categories of social status.56(56.0 percent) of
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271
these selected consumers are literates and 44(44.0 percent) are illiterates as per the data collection.58.0,32.0 and 10.0 percent of these sample
buyers belong to the income groups of less than Rs. 10,000, Rs. 10.001-25000 and 25,001 and above respectively.(Refer Table 1)
Table1.
Status of the Sample Households
Social Status Literacy Status Income Level
SCs/STs/OBCs Others Illiterates Literates I* II* III*
1. Weaker section.
2. Big Farmers
3. Employed& Salaried
20 20 23 17 40 - -
20 20 21 19 - 40 -
10 10 - 20 1 - 19
TOTAL
50 50 44 56 41 40 19
I*=below Rs 10,000, II*=Rs 10,000 to 25,000, III*= Above Rs 25,000
Graphical Presentation
It was observed in the field survey that the frequency of buying the products differed consumer to consumer and between the consumers of
different income groups. To the greatest extent, the frequency of buying was related to the type of product and its use in the households.
The survey on these aspects reveals that products like groceries (including vegetables), tobacco and medicines were purchased on daily or
weekly basis by the lower income groups. It was found during the field study that a great majority of labourers and artisans purchased their
groceries on daily basis in mornings and evenings. Agriculture labourers were found selling their wages paid in the kind to the retail shop
owner like paddy and wheat to purchase other items like tobacco or vegetables. Salaried consumers and big farmers were found purchasing
groceries, toiletries, and medicines on monthly basis particularly as these sample consumers belong to the middle and higher income groups.
Goods like electrical were purchased by these consumers once in three months or six months and also on special occasions like festivals
and marriages by the sample consumers belonging to low income groups.
Mode of purchase
The rural consumers are different compared to the civilized urban consumers. They attach some personal preferences and good will to the
shop owners. Particularly they visit the same shops and are habituated to purchase the goods. They even introduce their children and suggest
them to buy from that shop only. This preference and intimacy often makes the shop owners also to extent goods on credit basis and he
shops owners continue to lend the consumer goods on credit basis for years together. These tendencies were also found in the field survey.
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
Weaker section Big Farmers Employed and
salaried
Social status SCs/STs/OBCs
Others social
illiterates
literates
Income-10,000(in Rs.)
10,001-25,000(in Rs.)
25,000 and above(in Rs.)
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The sample consumers have purchased goods on payment of cash and on credit also. As said earlier, some were also found bartering their
wages in kind to consumer’s goods particularly in the well-known shops. Electricals and medicines were purchased by paying cash by the
ranging 60.0 percent to 80.0 percent of consumers (Refer Table.2). Ranging from 10.0 percent to 30.0 percent of the sample buyers have
purchased against credit. Toiletries, Tobacco, Groceries, were purchased by exchanging the paddy and wheat paid towards wages in these
shops, ranging from10.0 percent to 30.0. percent
Table2.
Products
TOTAL
Cash
Credit
Barter (Exchange
mode)
Electricals
80
20
---
100
Medicals
80
20
---
100
Toiletries
60
30
10
100
Tobacco
60
10
30
100
Groceries
60
30
10
100
Graphical Representation
Bargaining
Marketing strategist feel that rural consumer is more rational as a buyer and exhibits a higher level of rationality as compared to the urban
consumers. Whenever a consumer is familiar and aware of information about prices of the products and marketing conditions, certainly tries
to get good value for his each and every rupee spent on purchase of goods. This rationality often leads to bargaining and bargaining is an
attempt of the consumers to keep the selling cost of the product lower or equal to the utility or satisfaction that he derives from that particular
product. This tendency of bargaining is generally found in the consumers who belong to the lower income groups and bargaining springs
from the economic situation wherein the means to purchase are insufficient to purchase the quantity of the products required. The level of
bargaining decreases or does not exist even, whenever the means to purchase (income) are excessively available with consumers. The
observations in the field survey corroborate this general tendency of consumer behaviour as shown in Table3.
Table3.
Level of Bargaining
Family Income*Groups (in Rs.)
All groups No.
0-10,000
10,001-
25,000
25,001
Above
Always
32
10
-
42
Usually
17
15
04
36
Sometimes
09
04
02
15
Never
-
03
04
07
Total
58
32
10
100
0
20
40
60
80
100
Electricals Medicals Toiletries Tobacco Groceries
Cash
Credit
Barter
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Graphical Presentation
Income level-wise classification of level of bargaining reveals that of the total 100 consumers, 42 consumers (42.0 percent) were found
bargaining always, 36 consumers usually (36.0 percent), 15 consumers sometimes(15%0) and 7 consumers never(7%) bargain whenever
they purchase the goods.
Involvement of family members
Family is the institution which primarily and significantly influences the purchase of goods. The members of the family involve in the
process of purchasing and the level of involvements depends upon the nature, importance and preferences. The magnitude of the involvement
of family members according to the status is presented in Table 4. Among the different products purchased, groceries and toiletries were
the dominant goods purchased by housewives. Dominance head of the households was observed in the purchase of tobacco (70 percent)
and medicals (40 percent). The sons and daughters were found interested in purchasing electrical (60percent), toiletries (45 percent),
groceries (30 percent) and medicines (35 percent)
Table4.
Products
Status of the family members
Total sample
respondents
Father/head
Mother
Daughter and Sons
Electricals
30
10
60
100
Medicals
40
25
35
100
Toiletries
17
51
45
100
Tobacco
70
15
15
100
Groceries
20
50
30
100
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
Always Usually Sometimes Never
0-10,000(in Rs.)
10,000-25,000(in Rs.)
25,001 Above(in Rs.)
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Graphical Representations
Importance given to the factors
An attempt is made in this study to know the factors which were given importance in the process of purchasing. Factors like Quality, Price,
Easy available, Advertising, Use by the neighbour consumers and Experience of the own family members were treated as important factors
and the sample consumers were asked to express their opinion about to what extent these factors are influencing their behaviour while
purchasing the goods. The analysis is presented in table5. The data presented in table 5 reveals that experience of the family members (85
percent) and easy availability of the products (90 percent) were considered most important while purchasing goods. 84 percent and 85
percent of the sample consumers reported that quality and price of the product respective were the important factors which influence their
buying behaviour to the maximum extent. Surprisingly majority of the consumers (80 percent) did not attach much importance to advertising
and 15 percent of them opined that it is neither important nor unimportant. 15 percent of the consumers felt that price was the unimportant
factor for purchasing the products. These observations facilitate to infer that consumers attach much importance to the quality (100.0
percent), price (85 percent), easy availability (100.0 percent) and the experience of their own family members (85 percent) were the dominant
factor in the purchase of the products. Advertising was found less importance in the buying behaviour of the consumer.
Table5.
Factors
Level of Importance of the factors considered
Total sample
respondents
Important
Most Important
Unimportant
Quality
84
16
0
100
Price
85
0
15
100
Easy Availability
10
90
0
100
Experience of family members
0
85
15
100
Advertisements
20
0
80
100
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
Status of Family members-
Fathers/Head
Mother
Daughter and sons
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Graphical Presentation
Behaviour influence
Generally marketing experts design, prepare and implement many things, programmes and entertainments to influence the consumers to
buy a particular product. In rural areas cinema dialogues, pictures and names of famous heroes and heroines, flowers, symbols, short theatre
commercials, TV Spots, cricket themes, road shows VOW programmes etc., are used extensively to influence the consumer behaviour. In
the present survey an attempt is made to find out the important influence on products-wise-so as to assess their importance on purchasing
the products. The results are presented in table 6.The data presented in table6 reveals that four types of influential’s viz, experience, of
family members, suggestions of intimate shop owners, use by neighbour, consumers and advertisements and mass media are influencing
the buying behaviour of the sample consumers. The experience of the family members is the chief propelling influential in the purchase of
groceries (40 percent). The consumers, who consume tobacco, are very much motivated and purchased dues to the suggestions put forth by
the shop owners of the shops to which they visit regularly (50 percent). This influential also had a 35 percent effect on the purchase of
medicines. The experience of the neighbour-consumers is the important influential’s in purchasing medicals (35 percent), purchasing
electrical (15 percent), purchase in toiletries (45 percent), purchase in tobacco (15 percent), and purchase in groceries (35 percent)
respectively were influenced by the suggestions and directions given by their neighbour-consumers. It is quite interesting to note that
advertisements particularly ‘quickies’ (short TV commercials) and commercials ads through mass media are the prominent propelling
factors in the purchase of electrical(70 percent), medicals(10 percent), toiletries(40 percent), tobacco(10 percent) and groceries(10 percent).
This observations lead to infer that the younger generation is very much influenced by the education combined with entertainment and the
older generations by personal experience while purchasing the products.
Table6
Products
Type of consumer Behaviour
Total sample
Known
shop
owners
Advertisements
Experience of
Own people
Use by consumer
Neighbour
Electricals
07
70
08
15
100
Medicals
35
10
20
35
100
Toiletries
10
40
05
45
100
Tobacco
50
10
25
15
100
Groceries
15
10
40
35
100
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Important
Most Important
Unimportant
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Graphical Presentation
Conclusion
Rural consumer is totally a different consumer in the rural market scenario, being influenced by the rationality, personal experience and the
level of utility which is being influenced by the changing tastes and preferences of the younger section. The clever and attractive
advertisements do not work out with rural consumers. Their purchasing behaviour is very much influenced by ‘experience’ of their own and
of neighbour-consumers and his own family and involvement of his own members is exerting maximum influence on his purchases. Above
all quality of the product and its easy availability are the primary and vital determinants of his buying behaviour. The technique of
bombarding with messages has a limited influence. He is very much attached to and influenced by ‘touch’ and ‘feel’ aspect of any
promotional activity. It is imperative that the marketing experts should understand the mindset of the rural consumers for every product in
a particular region. Hence, it is necessary that moral rural search studies of quality should be undertaken to understand the rural consumers
better and generate more reliable data with particular attention to product-specific, region-specific, group-specific, and occasion-specific
studies. It is also very important that language and regional behavioural variations should be given due attention while developing the rural
communication strategy. Feel of the local touch and selling of the goods much should be aim of producers and marketing agencies.
References
1. Bijapurkar Rama. (2000, September 18). The Marketing in India. The Economic Times p6.
2. Pani Narendra. (2000, July 14). The Mirage in Rural Marketing. The Economic Times, p6.
3. Bijapurkar Rama and Murthy Ravi. (1999, August 16). Rural Market for Consumer Durables. The Economic Times, p6.
4. Bijapurkar Rama. (2000, October 16). Rural Market for Consumer Durables. The Economic Times, p6
5. S.K Velayudhan. (2007). Rural Marketing: targeting the non-urban consumer. India
6. Rural consumer patterns (2010, August 1).The Economic Times.
7. Chiluwal. K and Mishra.A.K (2018) Journal of Current Research, 10, (01), 63918-63925.
8. Mishra, A.K and Rai, S. Ar (2017) Comparative performance assessment of eco- friendly buildings and conventional buildings of
kathmandu valley, International Journal of Current Research, 9, (12), 62958- 62973
9. Mishra, A.K and Regmi, U (2017) Effects of Price Fluctuation on Financial Capacity of "Class A" Contractors,
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0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
Electricals Medicals Toiliteries Tobacco Groceries
Consumer behaviour-Known
shop owners
Advertisements
Experience of own people
Use by consumer Neighbour
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Questionnaire
1. Name: ………………………………
2. Age……………………………………
3. Category (SC/ST/OBC………..
4. Occupation……………………….
5. Income (per month)……………
6. Which type of products to be purchased…………?(medicals, electrical, toiletries, tobacco, groceries)
7. What do you consider while purchasing the product……….?(quality ,price, easy availability, advertisements, use of neighbours,
experience of family members)
8. Who among your family members affects in purchasing……..?(mother ,father, sons and daughter)
9. How you bargain for the product……?(always ,usually, sometimes, never)
10. What is your mode of purchase……..?(cash ,credit, barter)
11. Who are the factors that influence you in purchasing……..?(Experience of own people, known shop owners, use by consumer
neighbours, advertisements)
... Their purchasing behaviour is very much infl uenced by 'experience' of their own and of neighbour-consumers and his own family and involvement of his own members is exerting maximum infl uence on his purchases. 29 Juyal stated that Demographics of both urban and rural consumer have signifi cant infl uence on his or her selection of media for purchase decisions. This is confi rmed to be signifi cant and to a higher degree for urban consumer than his rural brethren and is particularly true for gender, age, occupation and income categories of urban consumers. ...
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The Marketing in India. The Economic Times p6
  • Bijapurkar Rama
Bijapurkar Rama. (2000, September 18). The Marketing in India. The Economic Times p6.
The Mirage in Rural Marketing. The Economic Times
  • Pani Narendra
Pani Narendra. (2000, July 14). The Mirage in Rural Marketing. The Economic Times, p6.
Rural Market for Consumer Durables. The Economic Times
  • Bijapurkar Rama
Bijapurkar Rama. (2000, October 16). Rural Market for Consumer Durables. The Economic Times, p6
Rural Marketing: targeting the non-urban consumer
  • S Velayudhan
S.K Velayudhan. (2007). Rural Marketing: targeting the non-urban consumer. India 6. Rural consumer patterns (2010, August 1).The Economic Times.
  • Chiluwal
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Chiluwal. K and Mishra.A.K (2018) Journal of Current Research, 10, (01), 63918-63925.
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