Then, now and how: the evolution of the Indian consumer

In a world like never before, brands have evolved to match the changing palette of the millennial consumer. Digital revolution has not only transformed the way we shop, but also impacted what we shop for.
Then, now and how: the evolution of the Indian consumer

The consumer is evolving. While the millennials feel like an entirely different league when compared to the simpleton consumer of the good old days, the journey of tracing this seismic shift in consumer mindset is sure to be an immersive one. The spotlight is on the millennial stage where everything from the way you eat to the way you travel seems to be under a hysteria of change. As the first decade of this millennium culminates, let’s take a minute’s breather and reimagine the world as it was not so long ago.

As the 2010s began, the millennials at the peak of their professional life took to the digital platform like fish to water. Facebook had just taken root, and Indian consumers excitedly welcomed Apple’smaiden launch in the country- iPhone 4. And thus, began the story of a revolution that would lead up to what we can term as the biggest market disruptor till date- ‘the Millennial syndrome’. While this trend of trends has not been officially christened, it can aptly describe a phenomenon that is the root of all that is happening now. A change that has transformed the processed food eating clan into the somewhat narcissistic, health conscious, sustainably sound idealist of a millennial who values the experience more than the endpoint of the journey. Technology has grown hand-in-hand with this transformation and is in a way responsible for this changing mindset. As digital media and technology make everything more accessible, affordable and faster, just the thing that the fast-paced millennial lifestyle needed, people are constantly on the lookout for alternatives that can cut both costs as well as time. Cutting through all the entropy and the noise in the universe, here are some remarkable trends that some niche brands have started in the Indian market space, that are not going anywhere for now.



The evolution of online groceries: bigbasket

It was a decade of e-commerce explosion. As bigbasket started out in 2011, it left shoppers feeling amazed by the wonderful online world that was capable of delivering everything from monthly stocks like groceries to perishables like milk and vegetables. The world began to shrink as smartphones began flooding with online shopping apps that came as a great saviour forworking couples struggling to balance work and family life.Growing out of the infancy phase between 2011 and 2014, bigbasket took India’s online grocery experience to a $1 billion strong market which is estimated to cross the $10 billion mark by 2023. Soon this trend caught on with other segments as well, as India’s online footprint began to increase.

Bringing healthcare home: Portea

India’s online population is growing at a tremendous pace as 7 out of 10 customers take this route to shopping. With India’s online market expected to reach a whopping $90 billion in the coming year, there is a strong feeling among e-tailers that healthcare is set to become the next big ticket in the online ecosystem. This growth in demand for online healthcare services has been largely driven by the rapid increase in the senior citizen population in the country along with increased awareness about health and wellbeing. A generation before us believed in visiting a doctor only in sickness and lived by the mantra- ‘Ignorance is bliss’. While family physicians were all our parents needed, the millennials understand that good health is a culture in itself. For Portea, which brings medical professionals to the patient’s doorstep, it was about addressing the multitude of challenges the country’s healthcare sector was facing including the lack of quality and affordable homecare for elders left behind alone at home. Since its inception in 2013, Portea has been able to successfully create an industry in a space that was void and is taking India’s healthcare to the next level using world-class technology.

A powerful customer-centric health brand: Medlife

With early startups like Portea redefining the home healthcare space, many new players are bringing in disruption to the traditional healthcare model. While everything from clothes to gadgets is available, people would have never imagined that buying medicines online was a near possibility.Staying with the customer-friendly theme of online shopping, Medlife is part of a league of e-commerce platforms that has made it possible to shop online for prescription medicines and healthcare products. The platform is designed to serve as a one-stop destination for all your health needs, including lab tests and doctor consultations.

Simplifying cardiac care for all: Agatsa

With technology invading our lives in every possible way, the home healthcare segment is finally ready to adopt cutting-edge technology solutions that have the power to transform lives. While other established players have done some commendable work in this space, Agatsa is carving a niche for itself by making essentialmedical devices affordable and accessible to all. With an aim to plug into primary health missions in the country, Agatsa’s low-cost cardiac care solutions are truly transformational. SanketLife, their flagship product, is a miniaturized ECG monitoring device that allows you to monitor heart conditions with a single touch of a button.After taking this innovation to remote locations such as oil rigs, explorations sites and BSF base camps, the startup is looking for a “complete fulfilment plan” which can bring a host of lifestyle ailments including hypertension and diabetes under a single online platform that can also transmit data to your healthcare providers in case of life threatening emergencies.

Bringing the ‘ladies’ problem’ out of the bushes: Pee Safe

Amidst all the healthcare problems in the country lies a deep-rooted problem that stems from the cultural taboo it is shrouded in. While the country awakens to many healthcare issues, it is time that the topic of menstruation and female hygiene also receives the attention it deserves. Even the country moves towards a better healthcare scenario, holistic improvement cannot be achieved by ignoring almost half of the entire population.  More than 400 million women in the country don’t have access to clean toilets. Even though 78% of urban women used standard menstrual hygiene products, only 48% of rural women used proper sanitary products during menstruation. Pee Safe, a flagbearer of women’s hygiene issues, believes that making sanitary solutions available alone does not solve this problem.While they have a wide range of eco-friendly, female hygiene products including organic biodegradable menstrual pads and tampons, menstrual cups and their hard-hitting social media campaigns ensure thatpersonal hygiene is being talked about openly. They have also transcended to the men’s personal hygiene segment apart from other products such as anti-pollution masks.

From chai to tea cocktails: The Hillcart Tales 

Even though the millennial population is health-conscious, it does not mean the end of the party. The hardworking millennial crowd also believes in partying harder and living life in style –one that resonates with the healthy habits trending now. Amidst all the talk about how caffeine is bad for health and how beer gives you a belly, arises a tea culture that is not only transcendental but also trendy. Ever heard of a tea cocktail party? Tea with milk and sugar, an Indian tradition as stiff as the posture of the royal soldiers at Buckingham Palace, is getting a nudge from the new-found culture that comes in all colours and flavours! While the kulhad chai still holds its place, gourmet teas are brewing a popular culture that is not only exotic but also healthy and uniquely flavourful. The variants include wine, chocolate, floral elements and dessert indulgences. With disposable incomes increasing exponentially over the decade, this is an innovation that may not hurt the millennial pockets afterall.

Feeding the growth of the sharing economy: Furlenco

By now it is clear that millennials very well know where to put their money. We have come to a point where the phrase ‘happy-go-lucky’ applies to this generation of consumers in every sense. As a thrifty spender, the new-age consumer knows that ownership has lost its charm. Buying things has become an age-old concept that chains you down under the burden of heavy debts. With the rise of a sharing economy, people are now opting to rent just about anything under the sun. So, whether it is office space, homes, cars or furniture, the smart millennial is ready to share and startups like Furlenco are fuelling this change. This not only throws open the doors to a better lifestyle with stylish products but also lets you free to move around from one city to another without having to tow excess baggage.

The changing colour of gold: Melorra

While shopping has been a forte for women, over this past decade they too have learnt the art of spending in style. While the beginning of this millennium saw women moving away from gold jewellery and towards cheaper alternatives, the birth of lightweight gold jewellery is changing the way they accessorize altogether. Innovative gold jewellery brand Melorra is transforming fashion by designing gold in ways that can be worn everyday, even with contemporary outfits and formal wear. And to take things to a whole new dimension, the jewellery house is carving out gold taking inspiration from international fashion trends. With an aim to #unbore gold and #untradition festivals,Melorra’s new-age design trends include everyday fashion inspirations like Polka, checks, neons, feathers and frills.

Technology that builds better homes: Housejoy

Despite its scale and size, the construction industry was highly fragmented until recently. Some key problem areas included labour and skilled workers which led to operational inefficiencies and project delays, not to mention overshooting budgets. However, this decade, the construction industry will be in the midst of a boom thanks to new and cutting- edge players like Housejoy. Technology is slowly but surely transforming the $10 trillion industry. It is embracing newer ways of delivering project output and everything from strategy to business development, operations, and functions are being digitized. Sensors are driving work pipelines, algorithms are being used to design estimates, and big data is powering scheduling. The result is a more profitable, resilient and agile industry, and better output.

In conclusion

As someone famous once said: ‘Those who disrupt their industries change consumer behaviour, alter economics and transform lives.’ As millennials age and mature, they assume greater spending powers. This coupled with a wiser head points towards an ever-evolving, ever-explorative mindset that will expedite more and more innovation from businesses who would try harder to stay relevant in the years to come.


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