Chapter 15: Profile of Rural Marketing
1. Fast changing pattern and demand
During the last decade the rural consumers were in need for low end products which
would meet their basic demands and necesities. But of lately due to change in
technology rather advancement in technology the demand for people have also changed
and the buying pattern which initially comprised of basic products have now shifted to
2. Large and scattered market
In the 1 place, in terms of number of consumers, the rural market of India is a very
large market ; it consists of more the 600 million consumers. The second aspect is that
geographically, it is a vast market. Practically the role of India, barring the metropolitan
cities and towns constitute the market. It is also highly scattered market: the consumers
are scattered over 5,70,000 villages spread through the length and breath of the country.
In terms of business generated too, it is a big market; 22000 crore rupees worth of non-
food consumer goods are being sold per year in the market at present.
3. Heterogeneous market
It is not as if the whole of rural India can be taken as one homogenous entity. There is a
great deal of difference among the various states in this regard. A study conducted by
IMRB provides some clue to the relative status of the rural areas of different states. The
study provides development index points for each state in the country collected village
level data on various parameters such as availability of health and education facilities, the
nature of facilities, availability of public transport, electricity transmission, banks, post
offices, water supply and so on. A weight was decided upon for each facility, by type,
based on the relative importance of that facility in industry to the extent of development
reached by that village. The study has demonstrated that while the average village in
India has 33 development index points, Keralas average 88; Bihars is just 22; MP, Rajasthan and UP are close to Bihar; and states like Maharashtra, Haryana, Karnataka
range between 40 and 50.
4. Demand, Seasonal and Agriculture Dependent
Regarding the nature of demand for various products, it can be seen that the demand is
heavily dependent on agriculture. And as a natural corollary, it is seasonal in character.
It is irregular as well, since agriculture in many parts of India still depends on the
vagaries of the monsoon. Rural demand is not only harvest linked but also festival
linked – the festivals often coinciding with the harvest.
5. Characterised by Great Diversity
The rural consumer of India are also vastly diverse in terms of religious social, cultural
and linguistic factors.
6. Steady Growth Despite Inhibiting Factors
Despite several inhibiting factors, the rural market of India has grown steadily through
the years. This is evident from the data presented earlier. Not only has the market
grown in quantitative terms, but qualitatively too, it has undergone a significant
change. Many new products have made their entry in to their rural market basket. The
upper segment in particular have started buying and using a variety consumer products
which were till recently unknown in the rural. In fact the impression that the rural
market is confined to certain traditional consumer product and agri-inputs has totally
lost its validity in today’s context.
Profile of Rural Consumer
1. Size of rural consumer population:
The size of India’s rural consumer group can be understood from the details provided in the
following table: 1971 1981 1991
Population Percentage Population Percentage Population Percentage
in crores to total in crores total in crores total
43.90 80 50.20 76.3 64.1 76
10.91 20 15.62 23.7 20.3 24
Population 54.81 100 65.82 100.00 84.4 100
The table shows that now 76% of India’s total population is rural. If we consider the state level
picture, in several states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Kerela, the rural
population constitutes more than 80% of the total population. And there are also states like Bihar
and Orissa where as much as 90% of the total population is rural.
2. Significant Aspects of Rural Consumer Profile
Coming to consumer characteristics, it can be seen that in general sense, low purchasing power,
low standard of living, low per capita income, low literacy level and overall low economic and
social position are the traits of the rural consumers. By and large, the rural consumers of India
are a tradition bound community; religio