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Flashback 2014: The year 2014 in retrospect

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Flashback 2014: The year 2014 in retrospect

As I look back at the year 2014, I don’t find an event worth remembering. One could say that Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and Crimea or Brazil losing by 7-1 to Germany in World Cup semis or closer home, Modi winning Lok Sabha elections by thumping majority as historic.  But aggressions have become almost a routine, Soccer history is strewn with many such upsets in the past, and India experienced a Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress victory equally thumping (or may be a bit more) not in very distant past.

But if you look closely within India you would notice a significant change has started happening. And this phenomenon gained momentum to a great degree in the year 2014. You must have guessed by now that I am talking about Consumer Behaviour. Indians today are self confident, risk taking, open to new ideas, ready to experiment, bolder, career minded. Indians were always skilled to adapt. But today it is not just adaptation. They are ready to make a mark in the World. They believe that India’s time has arrived. This change is driving the business models of every marketer in India.

Let us look at the effect of this changing consumer behaviour on media. According to a recent BCG research on more than 6000 digital media consumers in Tier 1 to Tier 4 cities and towns across India, Internet users have grown from 23% to 34%, Internet enabled purchases grew from 9% to 15% and online buyers have grown from 3% to 6% in just one year from 2012 to 2013. What is even more interesting is that this trend is homogeneous across Towns, Gender, Age group and Occupation. This 6000+ sample represents a total internet accessing population of 128 million in Tier 1 to 4 towns. Even more startling is this population spends 36% of their media consumption time on Digital. Consumption of digital media increases with maturity of digital usage varying from 30% for less than a year to 42% for more than 5 years.

These are mind boggling numbers.  It is high time the conventional media take serious note about it and tune themselves to this changing behaviour. One might argue that advertisement spends are miniscule now. Remember, total digital ad spend overtook print in US last year. This year digital ad spend in UK reached halfway mark of total ad spend. It is a matter of time when India replicates this.

Smartphone prices breached Rs 3000 barrier this year and counting. Bandwidth supply is growing. E commerce business is rocking and expected to reach $15 billion by 2016.

Indian conventional media take note ! I am not a prophet of doom. But prudence demands action. If we do not realize the enormity sitting at the end of 2014, the history of Indian conventional media would be written differently by the end of this decade.

The author is MD and CEO, ABP Pvt Ltd

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