The promise and peril of India's youth bulge

The word 'Millennials' is an important segment for the retail industry. The word itself is very important, for it has increasingly defined one thing that there are no more mass markets.
The promise and peril of India's youth bulge

The word ‘Millennials’ (also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y) is an important segment for the retail industry. The word itself is very important, for it has increasingly defined one thing that there are no more mass markets. So, how would the eTailers and Retailers converse with Millennials, which constitute 45 per cent of the total population of the country, is extremely important. When looked at globally, two billion people come under this category.

What defines them?

While the buying power of Gen Y is more than it ever was, in India alone, this segment is the fastest growing segment in terms of purchasing power. Says Ruchira Jaitly, Sr. Director, Social Beverages, PepsiCo India, “These people are very inclusive and are very group- and friend-oriented. It’s important that the brand communicates directly to them. For them, it is meaning over money and not the other way around.”

Ruchira further points out that it is not easy to make them spend money. While a 10-rupee off might work with some, but it is not all companies need to do today. “You are going to do that by connecting with them by their passions on the issues they think are important and on the values they think are important. This can never be the generation that is only about the lowest price. You can’t talk to them and say, ‘Hey! I can tell you how to interact with my products and purchase them from my websites,” she asserts.

Challenges faced while conversing with them

There was a time when brands used to love to have control over their customers. Today, the relationship is progressing from being controlling to democratising, to include them into the scheme of events of a brand. For instance, for an ad campaign Pepsi were the design, the brand invited ad ideas and films from their customers and an overwhelming response surprised everyone, with over a thousand videos received over a span of seven days. “I think experiences are what these Millennials are looking for, they are looking for unique experiences. I think it’s about creating novel, unique experiences that talk to that person,” confirms Jaitly.

The conversations have changed

GOQii, a personal coach wearable tech band, has a unique way to converse with their customers. It is  the surprising element of getting personal coaching through cloud that surprises and further interests their customers into buying a GOQii band. Abhishek Sharma, CFO, GOQii, says, “We are not a new product, we are a new category. When the world is talking about wearable tech bands, we are talking about a layer over that, about personal lifestyle coaching. And we educate our customers.  I would say involvement, educating and inclusion, these three things are extremely important while conversing with the Millennials.”

So, while the customers are becoming smart, companies are moving towards democratising the relationship they share with their customers. The brands are helping customers connect with their passions and therefore, converting them into endorsers and not just buyers.

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