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The New Stuff

Changing Face of Indian Consumer

Well, I got this image as some funny mail forward but it immediately instigated me to think of this title which very aptly suits this image. This image is cool & thought provoking, isn’t it? Hmmm…see the transmutation undergone by even Indian Sadhus, no more are they forest-meditating “Sanyasis” or “Tapasvis” (Priests) deprived of all worldly pleasure rather they have also evolved into modern Indian consumer utilizing all modern gazettes & gizmos, talking on Nokia 6270 & smoking Marlboros. Indian Consumer has changed a lot, & this evident change can be experienced everywhere now, be it the above image or any of these following indicators which are very much relatable to most of us:

  • From “Roti, Kapda aur Makan” to “Roti, Kapda, Makan aur Mobile”. Well, now-a-days having a mobile is as important as having proper clothes to wear. The products which were luxuries for yesterday have become the necessities of today.

  • From “General Stores” & “Sabji Mandis” to “Big Bazaars” & “Food Worlds”. Yes, the Indian Consumer is having the purchasing power now to enjoy the retail boom. The consumer now understands the concept like “Value for Money”. Gone are the days when one used to hear negotiations like “Thoda aur kam karo, toh lenge (reduce the price, then I will take)”, rather today’s Indian consumer doesn’t mind paying a few bucks extra for the ambience, service & pampering by marketers, for e.g. , “would you like to have some tea or coffee while shopping”!!!

  • From Mehndi in Punjabi Weddings & Sangeet in Sindhi Weddings to Mehndi in Tamil Weddings & Sangeet in Malyalee Weddings. Thanks to Bollywood & other media which have exposed the Indian Consumer to the world of glamour & extravaganzas. Now the modern consumers don’t mind spending on anything which can add allure & fun to their lifestyles.

  • From “Fair & Lovely” to “Fair & Handsome”. Yup, it’s very much true. With increasing westernization, more & more Indian Consumers are getting conscious of their looks & personalities & if you think that only Indian females are conscious of their looks then take a look around. Gone are the days when cosmetic companies used to woo only females for makeover, infact the Indian Male Consumer now forms a good 30% of the total cosmetic products consumption changing the whole concept of cosmetic products selling in India. Hmmm…so the changed face of Indian Consumer isn’t having only fairer females rather fairer males too :-)

  • From HMT, Titan watches to Esprit, Tag Heuer Watches, from trousers stitched by neighborhood tailor to Pepe or Lee Denims, present Indian Consumer has seen the world, is well aware of international brands & is very much capable of affording all such brands. What used to be commodities with aspirational value are now the general commodities.

Well, if we keep on listing such changes, I think the list can go on & on, be it the phenomenal increase in usage of Laptops, successful establishments of food outlets like Mc Donald’s or increase in sales of sophisticated gazettes like ipods, you name it & the present India Consumer is well aware of all such things. Indian Consumers have undergone a sea change & it is this new face of Indian Consumers which have given confidence to big investors & MNCs for believing in India. As Christian Seiwald, CEO of Sandoz GmbH said, “It's the speed - how quickly people are moving. It's their passion and ambition. Execution is something other countries can learn from India."

Earlier a person used to posses a car or a house in his late 30s or 40s but now having a 4 wheeler or house is a thing of late 20s or early 30s. The worried Indian Consumer who used to have difficult times in meeting both ends & always believed in “Save For Future” is now very much enjoying the life with a motto of “Live Life King Size”. The earning capacity has increased & so has got the disposable income. Thanks to booming economy & IT/ITES companies which have contributed in a considerable way to change the face of India. Last but not the least the biggest & the roaring pointer indicating the changed face of Indian Consumer:

  • From “Civil Services” to “MBAs” & from “Defence Jobs” to “IT Jobs”.
    Do I need to say anything else? I am sure not!!!

Media Over Hype

I was watching a TV news channel showing “special coverage” on revelation of Terrorists’ plans in India. After every news item, the clipping for this upcoming “special program” was flashing in a very sensational way claiming some hindi phrases meaning “terrorists’ plan revealed” & blah blah. With genuine curiosity, I started to watch the program but to my disgust, I realized soon that it was totally an over hyped program as there was no concrete proof or facts on which that program was based. It was all on the basis of some assumptions & suppositions, for e.g., nowhere the program used statements like, “humein yeh pata laga hai… (We came to know about this), rather the whole language was humein yeh shak hai ki or humara ye anumaan hai ki… (We assume that, we suppose that…). To add to that they were showing stuffs like, “we think that some famous people like Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan etc. might be on terrorists target” or “we think that terrorist can target some premier organizations like X, Y, Z”!!! I mean why are they flashing those assumed targets on Prime News Channel? I think this way they aren’t showing their capabilities rather they are giving more ideas to terrorists & anti-social elements. Even if terrorists wouldn’t have thought of such targets, then too by revelation of such assumptions & hypothesis publicly can give clear hints to terrorists about people & organizations which can be targeted. Also it creates unnecessary chaos & fear in the minds of general public working in such organizations. Its good to make public aware of the facts so that everyone can be alert but unnecessary sensation creation & over hype by media is doing more harm than good to public.

Media over hype has become a raging fad these days. There are so many examples where media presents the story in such scandalous way that it gets on to my nerves. Rakhi Sawant kissing Mika??? Did that story need so much of time & coverage on all news channels? I was personally irritated to the maximum level possible by seeing those clippings again & again on all news channels. That story was totally absurd & never deserved such an attention by media at all!!!
The story of Prince, it was indeed very bad for the kid & his courage to survive in that pit was really praiseworthy. All of us wanted him to be rescued & nobody would like any such tragedy to happen to such a small kid, but what was the need of all those hype of direct telecast by news channels, showing some unnecessary interviews, then some channels announcing free education to the kid, some announcing cash rewards etc. etc. etc… Suddenly all such channels decided to cover it soooo extensively & announcing such huge rewards!!! Wasn’t that too much??? I wonder if all other poor kids who would be in Prince’s neighborhood might have got inspired to fall in similar pits so that they can also deserve such media attention & huge rewards from channels & politicians.
Another over hyped coverage which comes to my mind right now is “Aishwarya Rai-Abhishek Bachchan” matrimony alliance prospects. I can’t forget all those interviews by pundits discussing their horoscope details & news correspondents talking so intently to those pundits for the kundli matched details. That was so melodramatic & so over hyped by all these news channels. I think if Aish & Abhishek would have been watching TV that time, then such coverage would have made even them switch off the TV immediately.

Media is meant for making public aware of the right news & happenings in the environment. It is meant for making people knowledgeable & informed of their surroundings. Almost all the news channels are available 24x7 now with an intention to provide us the right info anytime of the day, but I think despite their good intentions, now-a-days most of the time such news channels are messing up their good work because of this over hype & too much sensationalism. As they say excess of anything is bad, in the same way all this overload from news channels is just resulting in their loss of image & increased doubts on authenticity of the info provided by them.

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