IntroductionIndian markets are huge. For a country with a population of around 130 crores, the markets are not only very complex and heterogeneous, but also very diverse indeed. Some specific aspects of these huge Indian markets are sought to be discussed with specific reference to a) homogeneous markets b) heterogeneous markets c) religion-oriented markets d) culture-related markets and e) emerging markets.
Homogeneous marketsThese are markets that are more or less same, in terms of target customers, purchasing power, service standards, and even buyer behavior. For example, there is a huge market for watching movies in the superbly maintained multiplexes housed within the shopping malls in all the ten metro/big city markets of New Delhi, Kolkatta, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Gurgoan, Ahmedabad and Coimbatore. The same target segments -- the IT and the banking sector employees -- are routinely targeted in these cities. In Chennai, the highly-paid manufacturing sector employees also make up a part of this market. This snobbish crowd would even pay Rs 400 to watch the films in air-conditioned comfort. Outside these paradises of urban wealth, smaller non-AC theaters and even refurbished partly AC theaters would offer the same movie experience and comforts. But the shopping mall tag would be missing.
KFC and Domino pizza are also such examples. Big Bazaar is a perfect example. Apple Iphones are targeted at this class, across cities. The likes of Swiggy which is a hugely growing online shopping food market outfit, targets this same class across cities. This market, across cities, is put at around `15 hundred thousand people, at the bare minimum. That the BPO market is slowly contributing to this market is another big plus for the marketing experts who devise their own online marketing campaigns to reach this huge customer base.
Heterogeneous marketsAt the opposite side of this spectrum of homogeneous markets, we have the heterogeneous markets that have buyers at every single purchasing point. For example, wedding saris are available in some huge shops for rupees one lakh. The same wedding saris are also purchased for as less as three thousand rupees by some classes, who cannot afford the huge costs. However, the fact that there are saris available for various classes of people, makes the shopping experience so complex but interesting for the same huge retailer. This is the success story of at least forty shops in the prestigious T.Nagar area of Chennai.
Take soaps and detergents. Branded products are purchased by the rich and the upper middle classes. The middle classes who have not much of disposable income go in for the cheaper brands like the Power detergent brand. Those with even lower incomes settle for the local "bar" soap. In every single town of South India, one can find such products that are made through cottage industries. Even perishables like the samosa, which is an evening snack is sold in the supermarkets and in the small shops across India. The markets are very diverse.
For example, there is a huge unbranded textile market and Surat and Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu, are supposed to be huge suppliers to this market. People buy them for hundreds of thousands of rupees every day. Ditto for the vegetarian hotels in every single city of South India. It is possible to have a couple of iddlis for Rs. 50 in the prestigious Saravana Bhavan group of hotels in Chennai. It is also possible to have two iddlis for one fifth of this amount, at Rs. 10/-, even in Chennai, in the smaller shops. There is no fixed market. The huge markets are heterogeneous.
Religion-oriented marketsOne visit to Tamil Nadu will suffice to understand this ever-growing market. The Hindu religion is very complex in this State. There are thousands of temples everywhere. Outside each temple, in Tiruchirapalli, Madurai, Kumbakonam, Tanjore, Mayiladuthurai, Coimbatore, Kanyakumari and so on, one can see one hundred shops or even more, specializing in all temple related products. The inputs for what is called "archanai" a religious offering invoking God's blessings is a huge market by itself. Add to this the "abhisekgham" market, that is, decorating the God with milk, the holy ash, mixed fruits and honey, and so on, is a huge market. Some one lakh families throughout the State would survive only on the basis of faith in God and the religious practices.
Come the months of April and May, every year, the Amman temples become centers of sudden markets. The transit economy, as it is often called, is huge. The sudden shops selling a variety of bangles, sweets, unbranded textiles, seeds, flowers and what have you, keep the pilgrims and the local crowd busy shopping and also praying to God. The rituals, including animal sacrifice, is mind boggling. However, the economy keeps ticking and this is what counts.
Culture-oriented marketsClosely related to the religion-oriented markets are those markets that are related to culture, but with spirituality firmly implanted within it. For example, the Tamil Brahmins, as a class, believe in both Carnatic music and in Bharatha natyam, a dance form specific to Tamil Nadu and parts of South India. There is a huge market for trained professionals. In fact, the monopoly of this community in both, sometimes becomes so glaring. Yet, this market is very huge and growing.
Another culture-oriented market is the after-death market for a variety of services. Once the person is dead, in most communities, there is a big temporary shelter for relatives, put up in minutes. There are professionals who provide these inputs. For a gathering of forty people, there are dedicated suppliers of varieties of food. The dead body is taken in a procession and the van services are hired. Certain communities have the beating of the drums and the procession as well. The roads are made so dirty, as the flowers and the garlands are through all over. The cumulative size of these markets is very huge.
The serve-at-home food markets, which are also culture-specific are growing day after day in the metros and in the big cities. The South Indian food items are different from what the North Indians prefer. Yet, this market is growing by leaps and bounds.
Emerging marketsMarkets that target the learning and creativity of school children are emerging markets. The huge markets that are now opening up for senior citizens in various cities are also examples of this category of markets. The mini-super markets that allow the customer to feel the product, in every town with a population of 89,000 and above, is a emerging market. Beauty parlors, particularly the herbal markets, is another example.
The complex tuition market, for example, related to the JEE and the NEET examinations in the smallest of towns, is another emerging market. Specialized courses in interior design, fashion design, event management, bakery and the like, are emerging markets. The availability of zero-EMI services for a whole range of electronic goods in every small town, is a huge emerging market. Each of these markets are not only huge, but are going to explode in the years to come.
ConclusionUnderstanding the various markets and the customers and their profiles, their purchasing power and so on, will help every single marketer to target products and services at such markets. It should be noted that each of the aforesaid markets in India, is growing day after day. There is absolutely no limit to the growth of these markets.
Herein lies a big opportunity for entrepreneurs to make hay while the sun shines.
Indian markets are the perfect platforms where the pool of buyers and sellers come together and exchange services, commodities, and information. The trade perfectly simplifies the concept of supply and demand. Various types of trades as very well described by the author in this article take place in the Indian market. Buyers and the sellers are the two important factors in the absence of which a market cannot function and the best fact is that they are dependent on each other. Indian market facilitates the physical meeting of buyers and sellers possible. Though online trading i.e., selling and buying online is trending nowadays, the virtual market cannot replace the physical market, at least not in coming years.
Indian markets are full of competition. Prices of commodities or services are mainly dependent on the number of sellers and buyers that are present in the market. If the sellers in the market dominate the number of buyers, prices will be considerably low. If the buyers outdo the number of sellers, the prices of goods and services will reach sky high.
The author has covered various types of markets in our country. The basic principles followed in all these markets are attracting the customer towards the product. The seller has something to sell, the buyer is ready to buy it. Hence any market is meant for taking a product to the needy buyer.
In the countrysides, earlier, there were weekly markets. On a particular weekday, different products are brought to a particular spot in a village or small town. Those who stay in and around this spot go to this place to buy different things based on their needs. Very often the same product will be sold by different vendors. Naturally, competition will be there and the buyers bargain for the price. Even now I have noticed such weekly markets functioning in villages/ small towns. Originally these type of markets were started as 'exchange markets'. It was long back when the money system was not much popular. People came to such markets with whatever product they had. They exchanged these products with other products brought by others. Of course, it used to be based on one's needs. For example, the vegetable will be exchanged for rice or for coconut etc. Even wooden or clay pots and other house gold utensils used to be displayed.
Nowadays, whatever product one wants to buy, the same come to the residence. Different network-based marketing systems are available. In fact, the very concept of going to the markets or shops are getting replaced by this online shopping.