Recently I came across a very interesting white paper from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Nielsen India, titled Emerging Consumer Demand: Rise of the Small Town Indian.’This white paper takes a close look at the rise of the small town consumer. It goes on to describe in detail, how the the Indian consumption landscape in the small towns is dramatically changing – primarily due to higher disposable incomes, demographic dividend of a younger generation, increasing urbanization resulting in a growing number of nuclear families as well as heightened aspirations.We’ve seen a corresponding increase in our student population from the smaller B towns. We’ve found them hungry for success & constantly willing to learn and adapt in order to achieve their goals.

I’ve listed a few observations below as to why they hold an edge in their careers over their “A Town” colleagues and will enjoy continued success.

  • Lack of quality Primary & Secondary Education facilities – Since the majority of their early education was mostly conducted at institutes with basic facilities (possibly in a regional language), as a result when given access to quality education & teachers/mentors they are much more eager to learn and willing to put in the extra effort required.
  • Limited access to Career Opportunities – They’ve seen a lack of career opportunities while growing up, so they tend to work hard and make the best of each opportunity they get. This in turn also encourages a strong work ethic and a higher sense of loyalty to the companies they work for.
  • Better Team Players – As a part of their upbringing, they’ve been used to helping out at school as well as at home, whether it’s lending a hand to keep the common areas clean or ensuring they complete their daily chores. As a result, they tend to be more open to collaborate on projects & work as a team. I’ve also seen a much stronger sense of community and an enhanced awareness that they need to continue to give back to society or future generations in some way.
  • Quick to acknowledge their weaknesses and open to feedback – They are aware that they have areas of improvement, tend to take feedback & advice positively and actively look for opportunities to improve. A great example of this is the rise in popularity of Spoken English & Vocational Training coaching classes.
  • Adaptability/Open to change – Since most of them have moved away from their hometowns for better educational or career opportunities, they’ve had to adapt to staying in unfamiliar cities and away from their families. This in turn has forced them to become more independent, have varied experiences outside their comfort zone & create a much wider and diverse network of friends.
  • Self-motivated – With many being the first in their families to venture out and explore new career paths, they’ve had limited mentors to look up to or seek advice from. They’ve had to seek out their own opportunities, create their own paths and all the while keep themselves motivated in the pursuit of their dreams.

The white paper concludes, “Middle India, a region made up of approx. 400 towns with a population of 1-10 lakh, are home to 100 million Indians today. They account for 1 of every 5 Rupees spent in the country and marketers who ignore this future growth engine will do so only to their peril”