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Consumer Behaviour Case Study

Case Title:

Indian Consumer Market: India Emerges, Indian Consumers Surge

Publication Year : 2010

Authors: T. Sai Vijay and Prashanth Vidya Sagar Thalluri Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Industry: General Business


Case Code: CSB0025

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

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Set in the beginning of 2010, this case study provides a wide picture of the evolution of Indian consumer market. Interspersed with the story of the growth of a fledgling Indian economy since 1947, it provides the economic and social backdrop that had a significant impact on everything related to consumers – nature and variety of products available, disposable personal incomes, choice of stores, choice of the mode of payment, etc. Year 1991, as everyone acknowledges, was the real watershed year for Indian economy in general and the Indian consumer market in particular. India witnessed legacy-breaking changes in 1991 in the form of sweeping liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation policies. Many thought theywould just be momentary but a few thought theywould bemomentous. The momentous changes not only provided the much-required momentum but also altered the course of Indian economy forever, of course, for the better.

The background of India’s modern growth was setway back in 1991, when the Indian economy took a 180º shift triggered by a change in government policies from Controls, Licenses and Protectionism (CLP) to Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation (LPG). This put an end to the era of CLP and business firms gained the freedom to fulfil the demands of the consumers. Emerging from decades of economic isolation, India presented economic opportunity on a gigantic scale, both as a global market base and as a domestic market base.

In the backdrop of these changes, the case study enables an interesting discussion on two related issues that can kick-start the course on ‘consumer behaviour’. What was the shape of Indian consumer market before 1991’s economic liberalisation – its size, structure, styles, etc., and how was it managed by the companies? What paradigm shifts have occurred in the Indian consumer market after 1991, especially during 1996–2009? What are the new consumer market segments and what do they mean for companies operating in India – both Indian companies and MNCs? What is the best way to know the behavioural patterns of underlying buying motivations of the new-age Indian consumers? What does it take to be successful in cracking the DNA of the new Indian consumer?

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the evolution of Indian consumer market and the Indian consumers
  • To compare and contrast the size, structure and styles of consumers in post-liberalisation period with the pre-liberalisation period
  • To have an overview of the emerging new segments in the Indian consumer market. To debate and discuss on the potentials and the perils thereof
  • To have an understanding of how the new and emerging market segments in India have been accessed by some of the Indian and multinational corporations.

Keywords : Consumer Behavior, Consumers, Indian Consumers, Purchasing Power of Indian Consumers, The Rise of Middleclass Consumers, The Rise of New Consumer Segments, Indian Consumer Market, Evolution of Indian Consumers, Growth of Indian Consumer Market, India’s Income Pyramid, Indian Consumers Lifestyles and Preferences, The New Indian Consumer, Indian Consumers’ Behavior, Indian Consumers’ Purchasing Power


  • Evolution of Indian Consumer Market
    • Phase I (1951–1965)
    • Phase II (1965–1981)
    • Phase III (1981–1988)
    • Phase IV (1988–2009)
  • India on the Move
  • A Market Rising from Poverty
  • Indian Consumers: Changing Spending Pattern

  • Increasing Household Incomes
  • New and Emerging Consumer Segments
  • Kids: Influencing the Buying Decisions
  • Youth: Charting their Own Path
  • The Urban Woman: Defining her Own Space
  • Rural India: Waking up to Opportunity

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