The Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry is organising a Rural Marketing Conclave on August 29 titled “Opportunities for Marketers in Rural India”. The conclave will focus on areas like changing customer expectations, financial inclusion in rural markets, and augmenting skill manpower in rural sectors. Eminent marketing and brand professionals will be delving into India’s rural markets - sharing knowledge, views, best practices, concerns and other relevant issues.
In India, spending by 800+ million rural residents from 2009 to 2012 reached USD 69 billion, some 25 per cent more than their urban counterparts spent over the same period. According to recent Nielsen estimates, consumption in rural areas is growing at 1.5 times the rate in urban areas, and today’s USD 12 billion consumer goods markets in rural India is expected to hit USD 100 billion by 2025.
For rural Indians, commodities are now giving way to branded products, and more expensive goods are replacing entry-level versions, with consumers gaining more disposable income. Their increased PPP is also largely due to the steady migration of manufacturing jobs to rural areas.
“Many corporations, recognising the opportunities that lie in rural markets, are stepping up efforts to gain a foothold in these markets,” said Anup Hoon, President at Century Plyboards, India and Chairperson – Marketing and Brand Committee, The Bengal Chamber.
“However, undeveloped transportation infrastructure, unreliable telecommunications and electricity services, inadequate distribution networks, and widely dispersed consumers make it expensive to establish a profitable presence at scale,” he added. These, he said, are the challenges towards companies making a mark in rural markets.
Pradeep Kashyap, CEO, Mart will be delivering the keynote address. Other senior executives to be present at the programme include, Dr MG Parameswaran (CEO and ED, Draft FCB Ulka), Anand Sahai (Business Head, East – Vodafone India), Rajat Wahi (KPMG India), MA Parthasarathy (Chief Product Officer, Mindshare, SE Asia), Mohit Hira (CEO and Publisher, OPEN Magazine), Sumanta Datta (VP – Marketing, Coca Cola India), Arnab Mitra (MD, LIQVDASIA) and Chandrasekhar Ghosh (CMD, Bandhan Financial Services) among others.
“The rural market accounts for more than half the annual sales of many FMCG firms in the country,” says Mr. Pradeep Kashyap. “Thus, these rural markets are an important source of growth for many firms. TV and radio have been instrumental in penetrating into these markets. The size of the markets is such that they cannot be ignored, and the future would be very promising and full of potential for those who can leverage the dynamics of these markets and use them to their advantage.”