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Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

Are Indian consumers brand conscious? Insights for global retailers


Arpita Mukherjee Divya Satija Tanu M. Goyal Murali K. Mantrala Shaoming Zou

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Arpita Mukherjee Divya Satija Tanu M. Goyal Murali K. Mantrala Shaoming Zou, (2012),"Are Indian
consumers brand conscious? Insights for global retailers", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics,
Vol. 24 Iss 3 pp. 482 - 499
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Chitra Srivastava Dabas, Brenda Sternquist, Humaira Mahi, (2012),"Organized retailing in India: upstream
channel structure and management", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 27 Iss 3 pp.
176-195 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/08858621211207216
Paromita Goswami, Mridula S. Mishra, (2009),"Would Indian consumers move from kirana stores to
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482
Received 20 October 2011
Revised 12 March 2012
Accepted 14 March 2012

Are Indian consumers brand


conscious? Insights for global
retailers
Arpita Mukherjee, Divya Satija and Tanu M. Goyal
Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations,
New Delhi, India, and

Murali K. Mantrala and Shaoming Zou


Trulaske College of Business, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA
Abstract
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to assess Indian consumers brand consciousness by
examining their brand knowledge, purchase behaviour and perceptions of foreign brands. It provides
key inputs for global retailers to harness the potential in growing consumerism in India.
Design/methodology/approach A survey of 300 Indian consumers was conducted and the data
were analysed using descriptive and simple regression techniques.
Findings The study found that brand purchase in India varies across product categories. At present,
consumer knowledge and use of foreign brands is low, and Indian consumers are price-sensitive. Indian
consumers are experimenting with brands and would like more foreign brands to enter the Indian
market.
Research limitations/implications Due to the small sample size, advanced econometrics
techniques could not be used to analyse the dataset.
Originality/value The paper is the first to assess the impact of retail liberalisation on Indian
consumers shopping behaviour, particularly their brand consciousness.
Keywords Retail, Consumer behaviour, Global retailers, Brand consciousness, FDI, India, Retailing
Paper type Research paper

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and


Logistics
Vol. 24 No. 3, 2012
pp. 482-499
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
1355-5855
DOI 10.1108/13555851211237920

The relationship between economic development, rise in per capita income, growing
consumerism, proliferation of branded products[1], and retail modernisation is globally
well researched (Alexander and Myers, 1999; Buonofina, 1987; Goldman, 1974;
Witt, 2001). International studies show that with high economic growth, per capita
income increases, which leads to a shift in consumption patterns from necessity items to
discretionary consumption. Consumers start experimenting with brands. The growth of
retail and growing brand consciousness are also closely linked. Webster (2000) pointed
out that brands offer retailers many benefits including increased consumer demand,
a favourable attitude towards branded products in their stores, and credibility. One of
the key beneficiaries of the interplay of such linkages demonstrated especially in an
emerging economy is global retailers.
Indias gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate for 2010-2011 was 8.6 percent
(Economic Survey, 2010-2011) and the economy is projected to grow at the rate of
9-9.5 percent during the 12th plan (2012-2017) according to the Planning Commission,
Government of India (2008). The number of rich and middle-income consumers has
increased, with a corresponding fall in the number of people below the poverty line.

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Between 2001 and 2010, the size of the rich consumer class increased by 21.4 percent,
while the middle class increased by 12.9 percent (Shukla, 2010).
Over the past few years, the emerging Indian market has attracted foreign retailers,
and in 2010, India attracted the largest number of new retailers among emerging and
mature markets (CBRE, 2011). As a result, the Indian consumer market is growing. In
2007, India was ranked the 12th largest consumer market and it is expected to be the
fifth-largest consumer market by 2025 after the USA, Japan, China and the UK
(McKinsey Global Institute, 2007). At the same time, there has been a notable change in
the spending pattern of Indian consumers due to the growing size of the middle class,
rising GDP, and disposable incomes, In India, around 60 percent of the GDP is
consumed[2]. At present, more than 40 percent of consumer spending is on food, but this
percentage is expected to decline, while spending on non-discretionary items like
wellness products is expected to rise (McKinsey Global Institute, 2007). The entry of
foreign retail opened avenues for exposure to more international brands and Indian
consumers are expected to become more brand conscious. In 2007, India was ranked as
the third most brand conscious country, after Greece and Hong Kong (AC Nielsen, 2008).
Prior to the 1990s, India was a closed economy. The retail sector mainly consisted of
small, privately owned single stores that did not have corporate management and were
known as traditional retailers (Saraogi, 2006). These stores largely sold non-branded
products. The concept of branding was limited and very few brands such as Bata were
present in the Indian market. With the liberalisation of the economy in the 1990s,
a number of multinationals entered the Indian market (Burch and Lawrence, 2007).
Several Indian corporates started investing in retail and different store and non-store
formats evolved. On the demand side, there has been not only an increase in income but
also a change in the demographic profile of consumers (Sinha and Kar, 2007).
Educational qualifications have increased, women have started entering the workforce
and nuclear families have begun to replace the traditional joint family system. There is
also increased awareness about global shopping patterns and products, brought about
by the liberalisation of the media and access to international travel when travel
restrictions were removed and airfares became cheaper (Rao, 2000). All these factors
contributed to the growth and modernisation of retail.
Retail is now one of the fastest growing sectors in India. It is estimated that the
share of retail trade in GDP is approximately 11-12 percent[3]. In 2010, the Indian retail
market was valued at $415 billion, of which the share of organised or modern retail was
7 percent or $29.05 billion (Kearney, 2011). The sector is expected to grow to
$535 billion by 2013, while the share of modern retail is expected to reach 10 percent by
2013 and 20 percent by 2020 (Kearney, 2010, 2011)[4].
In 2010, food and grocery was the largest segment of retail in India with a share of
around 50 percent, but only around 1 percent was in the modern sector (Guruswamy et al.,
2005). Modern retail has a larger presence in product categories like clothing, watches
and footwear where there has been significant penetration of branded products.
Branded products are now sold in India through both traditional and modern retail
outlets, using different retail formats such as exclusive brand outlets and multi-brand
department stores. Brand visibility has increased through multiple advertising channels
such as direct-to-home (DTH) television and lifestyle magazines. Brand-owners and
retailers have implemented schemes such as customer loyalty cards to attract
consumers and retain them (Aneja, 1996). Hence, Indian consumers have started

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experimenting with brands (Mukherjee and Patel, 2005). However,


non-branded products continue to be sold through traditional retail outlets, although
products such as food products are sold through both traditional and modern outlets
(Chattopadhyay et al., 2011).
Modern retail is not spread equally across the country. It started in the south of India
and large metro cities and has spread to smaller cities (Joseph and Soundararajan, 2009).
Around 20 Indian cities that account for merely 10 percent of the population generate
31 percent of disposable income. Hence, modern retail has largely developed in these
cities (NCAER and Future Capital Research, 2008). With the growth in modern retail,
shopping space has increased; from three shopping malls in 1999 the umber of malls
increased to 280 in 2007 and is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of
more than 18.9 percent between 2007 and 2015 (Images Group, 2009).
To facilitate higher growth in modern retail and provide greater variety at lower
prices to consumers, in 2006 the Indian government partially opened up FDI in retail,
allowing 51 percent FDI in a retail enterprise, subject to certain conditions. In January
2012, the Indian government permitted 100 percent FDI in single-brand retail with the
following conditions:
.
only single-brand products can be sold (i.e. retail of multi-brand goods even if
produced by the same manufacturer are not be allowed);
.
products should be sold under the same brand internationally;
.
retail of single-brand products covers only products that are branded during
manufacture;
.
any addition to product categories to be sold under single-brand will require
fresh approval from the government;
.
the foreign investor should be the owner of the brand; and
.
for FDI above 51 percent, 30 percent sourcing from small and medium-scale
enterprises (SMEs) is mandatory.
India is probably the only country in the world that has a brand-based retail FDI policy.
Although FDI is not allowed in multi-brand retail, foreign multi-brand retailers
have entered the Indian market through routes such as wholesale cash-and-carry
(for example, Tesco and WalMart), franchises (for example, Versace and NEXT), and
licensing that allow 100 percent FDI (Singh and Kaur, 2010).
Regardless of the present FDI restrictions, studies predict that modern retail will
continue to witness double-digit growth in India (AC Nielsen, 2008; Kearney, 2011;
McKinsey Global Institute, 2007). Since the Indian market is unsaturated, this is the
right time for global retailers to enter the Indian market (Kearney, 2011).
Despite these important changes in Indian retail, little research has been conducted
to assess how shopping behaviour is changing in the evolving retail and policy
environment, particularly with regard to the brand consciousness of Indian consumers.
Such an analysis would help global retailers who plan to enter the Indian market after
the 2012 policy liberalisation. This paper examines the following questions:
.
What do Indian consumers currently know about brands?
.
What factors affect Indian consumers choice of brands across certain product
categories?

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What are Indian consumers perceptions and attitudes towards foreign brands?
What are the implications for global retailers?

1. Consumer choice behaviour: a review of literature


Both globally and in India, various studies have examined brand knowledge,
awareness and consumer purchase behaviour. Andrews and Currim (2001) used an
inter-category logit model on a stratified sample of 300 households to analyse the
choice behaviour of households across product categories, using indicators such as
brand loyalty, price sensitivity, store features, and aisle display. The study found that
identical choice behaviour of households across categories depends on the similarity of
product categories, but it does not analyse whether brand choice varies across different
product categories. Blattberg et al. (1976) analysed brand choice using panel data from
343 households, using two sets of similar and dissimilar products; they found that
brand choice among the households is different for both sets of products. Nelson (2007)
concludes that consumers are more likely to base their purchase decision on
personal experience than on preliminary research about the quality of the products.
Webster (2000) highlights the importance of understanding the relationship between
manufacturers, retailers and consumers; brand management is more effective when
manufacturers and retailers work in close co-operation to strengthen their own brand
position in the market. It is essential to analyse the linkages between brand loyalty and
market strategies because trust in a brand is positively related to brand loyalty
(Lau and Lee, 1999).
India has no official system to collect consumer data on consumers store choice and
purchase behaviour across different products. Existing consumer studies map
consumers demographic profile but do not analyse their brand behaviour (Shukla,
2010). Thus, most of the research in this area is based on primary surveys.
Ramachander (1988) concluded that the degree of brand loyalty, pricing, packaging
and other intervening variables such as culture and socio-economic factors influence
consumers shopping behaviour. Indian consumers recognise that a brand adds value
to a product (Rao, 1998). Urban and rural markets are similar in brand awareness and
associating established brands with quality, but in better developed states there is a
distinct preference for foreign brands (Rao, 2000), which is associated with. Kinra
(2006), using seven-point semantic differential scale and CETSCALE on a sample of
112 consumers in Lucknow, India found that Indian consumers perceive foreign brands
to be of better quality than Indian brands (Kinra, 2006). Kumar et al. (2007) and
Bandyopadhyay and Banerjee (2008) based on a primary survey of consumers in
Ahmedabad and Calcutta in India; highlight that country-of-origin is an important
determinant of consumers shopping behaviour and products of advanced countries
enjoy positive country-of-origin effect. Foreign products are not perceived differently
even if they are manufactured domestically.
Gupta and Singh (2007), show that brand loyalty and preferences for brands are
strongly linked in India. Indian consumers are also price sensitive ( Joseph and
Soundararajan, 2009; McKinsey & Company, 2008). In a survey of 32 villages, Kumar
and Bishnoi (2007) found that rural consumers are willing to buy a variety of products
and brands if their prices are lowered in the future. Within the fast-moving consumer
goods (FMCG) range, low priced products constitute the majority of sales volume
(KPMG, 2005).

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In India consumers shopping behaviour is affected by demographic factors such as


age and gender. With women joining the workforce, shopping patterns have changed.
Women prefer a wider range of brands so that they can compare different brands
before making a choice (Sinha et al., 2002). The young are more willing to experiment
with different brands and children are becoming key decision-makers in household
purchases (Kaur and Singh, 2007). Since around 54 percent of Indians are below the age
of 25 (IBEF, 2008), there is tremendous scope for brand penetration in India.
These studies provide insights into Indian consumers shopping behaviour and their
brand consciousness, highlighting that their brand preferences vary across rural and
urban areas and different product categories and domestic and foreign brands. Some
studies show that Indian consumers preference for foreign brands is growing and that
children and women are emerging as key decision-makers. However, the evolving policy
and retail environment can be expected to impact consumer behaviour, requiring the
information to be updated. For example, after policy liberalisation in 2006, new foreign
brands such as Giorgio Armani, Bottega Veneta and NEXT, entered the Indian market,
but their impact on Indian consumers shopping behaviour has not been studied.
Based on a pan-India survey, this study analyses the Indian consumers choice of
branded and non-branded products across a wide range of products, their knowledge
of foreign brands, and their attitudes towards foreign brands. It adds to the existing
literature by providing insights into Indian consumers behaviour towards global
retailers that entered the market after the FDI policy change in 2006 or are planning to
enter after further liberalisation of the policy in January 2012.
2. Methodology
2.1 Instrument
The survey was conducted using a semi-structured questionnaire. Part of the
questionnaire was kept open-ended to maximise the information obtained. The
questions focused on the following:
.
Purchase of branded versus non-branded products within each product category.
.
Factors affecting willingness to spend on branded products and actual
expenditure on branded products.
.
Consumer knowledge about foreign brands.
.
Consumer attitudes towards allowing foreign brands in India.
Since the sample size was small, purchase behaviour was examined across a large
number of product categories and the data were collected at a single point of time.
Hence, largely descriptive techniques, simple regressions and logistic regressions were
used to analyse the data.
2.2 Sampling procedure and representation
A pan-India survey was conducted in 2009-2010 covering 300 consumers. The sample
was selected using a stratified random sampling technique and the data were collected
through exit interviews, door-to-door surveys, and interviews in shopping malls and
market areas. Exit and random interviews were conducted because shop intercepts
(exit interviews) capture the recency effect and an interview away from the shop might
bring only visualised perception rather than the real experience (Sinha et al., 2002).

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Individuals who have a say in the purchase decision of the family were interviewed. To
assess purchase behaviour across different product categories, 12 product categories
were selected. These were fresh fruits and vegetables, preserved food and agro
products, FMCG, dietary supplements, apparel, footwear, handbags, watches, metal
jewellery, costume jewellery, furniture, and consumer durables. This covers most of the
products that consumers purchase like fresh fruits and vegetables that are purchased
on a regular basis, preserved food and agro products and FMCGs that are purchased
on a monthly basis, and jewellery, which is purchased occasionally.
The entire sample was stratified based on their income, occupation and education.
The data on respondents income were divided into three broad categories based on
average annual household income: low income group of $1,980-$4,000, middle-income
group of $4,000-$21,000 and rich with more than $21,000. Consumers in socio-economic
classification (SEC) A, B and C, classified on the basis of education and occupation,
were selected from six Tier I cities, four Tier II cities and one Tier III city[5]
where modern retail has a presence. Around 94 percent of the respondents were in the
age group of 23-60 years, which constitutes the core of the working population and the
decision-makers in each household. A total of 62 percent of the respondents were male.
2.3 Technique
The techniques used to analyse the issues listed in Section 2.1, are described below:
(1) The purchase of branded products vis-a`-vis non-branded products was analysed
by calculating the consumers average spending on branded products for each
product category as a proportion of total average spending on that product
(both branded and non-branded).
(2) To determine the factors affecting willingness to spend and actual expenditure
on branded products, the ordinary least square method was used. Since the
shopping choices of Indian consumers are affected by factors such as level of
income, education, international travel, gender and age, a few factors were
selected as the independent variables annual household income (i), gender (g),
and international travel (n) but variables such as education and age had to be
dropped because they were found to be insignificant.
The dependent variable, wb, defined as the willingness to spend on branded
products, is each respondents proportion of amount they are willing to spend
on branded products to the total amount they are willing to spend on all
products (including expenditure on both branded and non-branded products).
The regression function is as follows:
wb a b1 i b2 g b3 n et
The dependant variable, yb, is each respondents proportion of actual
expenditure on branded products to the total expenditure on all products
(including expenditure on both branded and non-branded products). The
regression function is as follows:
yb a b1 i b2 g b3 n et
(3) Variations in factors influencing the choice of brands across selected products
were identified using logistic regression. The respondents were asked whether

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they buy or do not buy branded handbags and jewellery, furniture and fresh
fruits and vegetables. Since their responses were coded as no 0 and yes 1,
the dependent variable, Y, which is purchase of branded products, is an ordered
dependent variable. Hence, logistic regression was used and the regression
function is given below:
Y0;1 b1 i b2 n et
(4) Laurent et al. (1995), defined the classic measures of brand awareness, and we
used one measure the aided awareness measure to analyse Indian
consumers knowledge about foreign brands. To assess this the interviewer
read out a list of brands to which the respondents express familiarity only after
getting to see or hear the brand name. Respondents were shown a randomly
selected sample of foreign brands that are present in the Indian market and
asked whether they:
.
know and use the brand;
.
know but do not use the brand; and
.
do not know and do not use the brand.
Foreign brands selection was done randomly to ensure that both luxury
and non-luxury brands were covered across different product categories.
The sample comprised both brands that entered the Indian market before
2006 and those that entered only after the 2006 policy change.
(5) Demographic factors affecting consumers attitude towards allowing
foreign brands, F, to enter the Indian market were identified using logistic
regression. The respondents were asked whether or not they wanted more
foreign brands to enter the Indian market. Since their responses were coded as no
(0) and yes (1), the dependent variable, F, is an ordered dependent variable. Hence,
logistic regression was used and the regression function is given below:
F0;1 b1 i b2 e et
where, e is the level of education of the respondents. In this particular regression
other independent variables such as international travel, media exposure, gender
and age had to be dropped as they turned out to be insignificant.
3. Results
3.1 Total expenditure on each product category
Food (both fresh and preserved) accounts for 32.15 percent of the total expenditure of the
respondents, as it is part of their habitual consumption. These products are bought on a
regular basis largely from neighbourhood stores, due to easier access. The second
important category is apparel on which around 14 percent of the total expenditure is
made (Images Group, 2009). Jewellery is a high-value product that is often treated as an
investment. It is bought occasionally but accounts for around 10 percent of respondents
expenditure. Consumer durables account for only 8.4 percent of the total expenditure.
Some products such as dietary supplements, costume jewellery and tiles that have not
been purchased by the majority of the respondents in the past one year are clubbed in the
others category, which accounts for 13.7 percent of the total expenditure.

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3.2 Expenditure across branded and non-branded products


Respondents mainly bought branded products in product categories such as watches
and dietary supplements. In categories like apparel, footwear and handbags, they buy
both branded and non-branded products, while in categories like fresh fruits and
vegetables, the bulk of the purchases are non-branded products (Figure 1).
3.3 Regional variations in purchases of branded products
There are regional variations in purchase of brands across different regions in different
product categories (Images Group, 2009). The survey results show that respondents in
the north and west of India are more likely to purchase branded fresh fruits and
vegetables. In the Eastern part of India, in cities like Kolkata respondents prefer Indian
brands such as Khadims in the low to mid-price ranges for shoes and handbags, while in
Delhi, in the Northern part of India, respondents buy both high-priced products from
modern retail outlets and non-branded products from street shops (Table I).

Notes: *A large number of respondents buy both branded and non-branded apparel; therefore,
the percentage of respondents who buy only branded apparel is low

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Figure 1.
Total purchases and
branded purchases across
different products

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3.4 Factors affecting choice of branded and non-branded products


Respondents purchase behaviour across branded and non-branded products depends
on factors such as brand availability and their perception of the quality and reliability of
brands. Respondents bought branded dietary supplements because the popular ones
available in retail outlets (whether traditional or modern) are largely branded. They
consider them to be reliable as they go through health and safety checks and have to
meet government regulations. In the consumer durables category, brands are considered
a proxy for good quality, and good after-sales service is provided for branded products.
Most fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) are branded, and branded FMCGs are
available across all price ranges in both modern and traditional outlets.
In product categories like footwear, apparel and handbags, branded products are
chosen for design, comfort, durability and quality, while non-branded products are
cheaper. In these product categories, brand loyalty is low and respondents experiment
with different brands.
In the case of jewellery, products are bought from traditional retailers due to trust
and interpersonal relationships. Moreover, traditional retailers offer the flexibility of
exchanging old jewellery for new ones besides offering customised designs. In recent
years, Indian corporate retailers have entered the jewellery business and the concept of
branding has emerged. Consumers consider jewellery sold by branded corporate
jewellers like Tanishq to be of better quality.
Non-branded products are preferred for products like furniture, fresh and preserved
food products, and costume jewellery. Respondents like to customise their furniture
and, therefore, most furniture items are non-branded and made to order. Non-branded
furniture is available in all price ranges at traditional retail outlets.
Respondents pointed out that they mainly buy fresh fruits and vegetables from
traditional retailers, street vendors, and hawkers. In this product category there are
only a few brands and respondents perceive branded products as more expensive than
non-branded products. The survey found that knowledge of brands in this segment
is low.
The bulk of costume jewellery is bought from street vendors. In recent years, the
concept of branded costume jewellery has gained momentum and respondents showed
a willingness to experiment with different brands.
Products

Table I.
Regional distribution
of branded product
purchases

Sample distribution (no.)


In percent
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Preserved food and agro products
Apparel
Handbags
Footwear
Jewellery
Consumer durables
Costume jewellery
Furniture
Ceramic tiles/sanitaryware

North
85
10.6
64.7
24.7
65.9
78.8
68.2
100
32.9
51.8
83.5

South

East

West

75

70

70

2.7
21.3
56
28
93.3
57.3
89.3
4
30.7
65.3

2.9
51.4
48.6
61.4
92.9
68.6
90
18.6
32.9
50

12.9
20
35.7
37.1
91.4
47.1
90
27.1
27.1
28.6

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3.5 Demographic effects


Demographic factors (gender, education, age, location, and income) and awareness
factors (media exposure and international travel) were analysed for their impact on
consumers choice of branded products. The data were analysed using multiple
regression. While some of these factors were insignificant, others such as age, location,
and media exposure had to be dropped due to homogeneity in the sample.
In the case of respondents in the rich income group, a 100 percent increase in income
leads to a 9.3 percent increase in their willingness to spend on branded products
compared to the results for those in the low and middle-income groups (Table II).
Women are 4.7 percent more willing than men to spend on branded products. These
findings are similar to Sinha et al. (2002). The actual spending pattern is quite similar
to the willingness to spend (Table III). International travel does not have a significant
impact on willingness to spend or actual spending on branded products.
Logistic regression was used to assess the effect of demographic and awareness
factors on purchase of branded products across different product categories and the
results are shown in Table IV. For handbags and jewellery, brand purchase is affected
by both household income and international travel. However, in the case of furniture,
household income is not a significant factor because even rich consumers prefer
customised products. For fresh fruits and vegetables, household income influences the
decision to buy brands, since branded products are perceived as expensive.

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3.6 Knowledge and use of foreign brands


The survey results show that knowledge of brands does not ensure brand usage
(i.e. a person may know of the brand but may not use it), while brand use may not ensure
that a person is aware of the country-of-origin or history and mode of entry of the brand.
Brand knowledge and use were assessed through an aided awareness measure and
the responses are compiled in Figure 2. The points on the outer-most circle on the web
represent the highest percentage of respondents giving that response while the points
in the inner circles represent lower percentages. The longer the brand has been in India,
the more likely is it to be known and used. Examples include Bata, Rayban,
United Colors of Benetton, and Nike.

Annual household income


Gender
Travelled abroad

Beta coefficient

t-value

Significance level

0.0931253
0.0476802
0.0407052

5.11
2.6
1.56

0.000
0.010
0.120

Beta coefficient

t-value

Significance level

0.0927454
0.0513272
0.0442255

5.09
2.8
1.69

0.000
0.006
0.092

Note: Model R 2 0.1394, F 15.99, Prob. . F 0.000

Annual household income


Gender
Travelled abroad

Note: Model R 2 0.1445, F 16.67, Prob. . F 0.000

Table II.
Factors affecting
willingness to spend
on branded products

Table III.
Factors affecting
actual spending on
branded products

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492
Table IV.
Demographic effects
on Indian consumers
purchase of
branded products

Figure 2.
Knowledge and
use of foreign brands

Results
Variables
Handbags and jewellery
Annual household income
Travelled abroad
Model statistics
Furniture
Annual household income
Travelled abroad
Model statistics
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Annual household income
Travelled abroad
Model statistics

Exp(B)

Wald

Significance Level

0.598
0.336
22 Log likelihood 379.75, p , 0.001

16.13
8.14

0
0.004

0.268
22 Log likelihood 381.35, p , 0 .001

12.79

0.509

9.23

22 Log likelihood 166.83, p , 0.005

Note: Figures in parentheses show the year that the brand entered India

The aided awareness test results show that brands that are globally well advertised are
more likely to be well known. Also, brand location has a crucial bearing on knowledge
about the brand. Since brands like Ermenegildo Zegna and Giorgio Armani are located
in luxury malls and five-star hotels and are not advertised extensively, awareness of
these brands is limited. In contrast, brands like NEXT and Mango have positioned
themselves in non-luxury malls where they are more visible and, hence, better known
to a larger customer base.

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The mode of entry of a brand is not related to consumers knowledge of the brand.
For instance, Versace, Ermenegildo Zegna and NEXT have entered through franchisee
agreements but NEXT is better known.
Brands such as Giorgio Armani and Dolce and Gabbana are mainly popular for
accessories like sunglasses and perfumes. These have been available through Indian
department stores and shop-in-shop arrangements. Consumers tend to buy these
accessories to conspicuously display their brand consciousness, which has indirectly
increased awareness of these brands among consumers.
The survey results show that, in general, knowledge and use of luxury brands in
India are low. Around 98 percent of the sample constitutes middle and rich Indian
consumers and the aided awareness test revealed that even this group is not aware of a
number of foreign brands, especially luxury brands because these brands are only
available in a limited number of luxury malls and brands, such as Giorgio Armani and
Dolce & Gabbana, have only recently entered the Indian market. Another reason is that
these brands are relatively expensive, and only a very small proportion of the Indian
population can afford these brands. Besides, Indian consumers are price sensitive
(Joseph and Soundararajan, 2009; McKinsey & Company, 2008; Kumar and Bishnoi,
2007; KPMG, 2005). Respondents pointed out that since the import duty on imported
luxury brands is as high as 40 percent of the maximum retail price (MRP), it is cheaper
to buy them abroad than in India. In addition, respondents said that they have come
across a wider range of products during their international trips. However, with rising
incomes and the growing penetration of foreign brands in the Indian market, both
knowledge and usage of foreign brands is expected to grow.

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3.7 Consumers attitudes towards foreign brands


Around 83 percent of the respondents are in favour of allowing more foreign brands into
the Indian market. The factors that contribute to this attitude are the high level of
education (graduation and post-graduation) and level of income (middle and rich
income) (Table V). When asked what restricted their access to foreign brands, the
respondents pointed to the restrictions on foreign multi-brand retail. Removing these
restrictions would facilitate the entry of more foreign brands into the Indian market and
provide consumers with greater access. Respondents argued that the quality of foreign
brands is superior, and their entry into the Indian market would infuse competition,
forcing domestic brands to upgrade, and would lead to the diffusion of better designs
and technologies. Respondents also argued that Indian consumers are ready to
experiment with brands, and access to more foreign brands would increase the choice for
consumers. However, around 17 percent of the respondents are against allowing more
foreign brands in India and argue that foreign brands are more expensive than Indian
brands and cater primarily to higher-income groups.

Education
Annual household income

Exp (B)

Wald

Significance level

1.984
0.661

8.604
6.868

0.003
0.009

Notes: Model R 2 0.1394, F 15.99, Prob. . F 0.000

Table V.
Demographic effects
on consumers attitude
towards allowing foreign
brands in India

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494

4. Discussion: implications for global retailers


Developing country markets are remarkably different from those of developed
countries. In particular the Indian market is unusual on account of factors such as
purchasing habits that vary across regions, product categories, branded and
non-branded products, gender, etc. There was also a difference in the knowledge and
usage of foreign brands across respondents. The analysis indicates that Indian
consumers are becoming more receptive to foreign brands. Global retailers entering the
Indian market need to understand the variation in the Indian market and take into
account these factors before devising a go-to-market strategy for India.
4.1 Go-to-market strategy
This is a market entry strategy or multiple approaches to enter a market in consonance
with the local needs of that country. Among the multiple approaches that can be
adopted, scale and speed are two critical factors. Scale of operations refers to adopting
a stratified approach of targeting customers, and speed of expansion refers to the rate
at which the foreign retailers intend to expand their operations and market sway in
India. Since different global retailers have different types of products to offer they need
to identify their target consumers and hence approach them accordingly. Table VI
illustrates how different strata of consumers can be targeted across different product
categories. The product categories have been outlined based on their affordability/
price range, frequency of demand, and the nature of the products.
Target niche. This strategy is used to cater to specific strata of consumers who buy
luxury products, such as designer clothes and high-end gadgets that have a low
demand because they are expensive. Most of these luxury brands cater to less than one
percent of the Indian population, but 1 percent of the population of India is close to
20 percent of the population of countries such as Italy, that has a large number of
luxury brands[6]. As shown above, income and gender are positively correlated with
spending on branded products. Hence, global luxury brands should target high-income
Indian consumers. In addition, women are more likely to buy branded products than
men. This provides opportunity to global luxury brands in cosmetics, handbags,
footwear, apparel, etc. to target high-income Indian women. The study also found that
Indian consumers like personalised service, especially when they buy luxury products.
Thus, in order to target high-end Indian consumers, global retailers should use a
personalised approach to sell premium products.

Table VI.
Go-to-market strategy

Product
categories

Affordability and accessibility Consumer needs


high/low
global/locala

Luxury
Necessity
Medium range
Inferior (low
range)

Low
High
High
Low

Global
Global
Local
Local

Correct strategy
Target niche
Create a platform
Localise
Reinvest in business
model

Notes: aGlobal needs imply consumer needs, which are quite similar across geographies; local needs
are more country-specific and dissimilar across geographies

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Create a platform. Creating a platform refers to generating market presence by


launching a range of products within a well-established industry structure. This strategy
is most suitable for necessity products such as consumer durables and automobiles that
have a regular demand in India. The survey shows that respondents purchase branded
consumer durables, but the expenditure on consumer durables in proportion to the total
expenditure is low. Herein lie opportunities for global retailers who plan to enter this
segment. In India the demand for such necessity products exists and is growing. Hence,
market roll-out plans are not needed; instead a platform needs to be created for foreign
brands that are new to the market. However, Indian consumers are heterogeneous. The
study found regional variations in the demand patterns of the respondents. The Indian
market is huge and diverse with socio-cultural variations. For instance, Indian consumers
in the south of India prefer pure gold jewellery, whereas consumers in the north of India
prefer diamond jewellery. Hence, global retailers need to identify similar consumer
segments. Each of these segments should use products and services that have similar
industry structures, rates of consumer adoption, and socio-religious factors. They need to
design and implement specific product and channel strategies adapted to the specific
characteristics of the targeted consumer segments. For instance, within the consumer
durables segment, demand for room heating devices is higher in the north of India
compared to the south due to their different climatic conditions.
Localise. This strategy is suitable for various medium-range product categories such
as dietary supplements, preserved and processed foods, costume jewellery, and personal
care products. The study found that expenditure on such medium-range products is not
very high and preferences for branded vis-a`-vis non-branded products vary. For instance,
respondents purchase branded dietary supplements and non-branded preserved foods.
There are not many international brands in this segment. However, various Indian
companies operate in this segment. Hence, to cater to the demand for such products global
retailers will have to compete with the existing local players by customising their products
according to Indian consumers tastes and preferences. For instance, PepsiCo successfully
captured the Indian snack market by introducing a customised brand of chips called
Kurkure. Though it is a global food and beverage company, it has been successful in
capturing a large portion of the Indian snack market by selling customised products.
Despite having a global distributor and packer Frito-Lay, the product is quite local.
In the case of fresh fruits and vegetables the survey found that the demand for
branded products is very low. Food items account for the highest proportion of Indian
consumers expenditure. Hence, there is a huge untapped market for global retailers.
However, since 100 percent FDI is not allowed in multi-brand retail, global retailers
have the option of two strategies:
(1) they can sell their products through Indian retailers, which will enable them to
create market awareness about their brands in the Indian market; or
(2) they can set up a wholesale cash-and-carry operation in partnership with an
Indian company.
The study found that knowledge about a brand has a high positive correlation with the
number of years the brand has been present in India. Hence, global retailers planning
to enter the Indian market will face competition from older international brands such
as Bata, Reebok, Nike and Adidas. To combat it, global retailers can conduct market
research to identify and target segments where such brands do not have a presence. In

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addition, for competitive pricing, global retailers should explore the possibilities of
sourcing locally as import duties are high in India.
In addition, aggressive marketing techniques through popular mediums such as
newspaper and television advertisements will help global retailers entering the Indian
market to generate awareness about their brand and products.

496

4.2 Future research


Though the present survey provides useful insight into Indian consumers behaviour,
the sample size is small compared to the Indian population. Since India is not a
homogenous market, a larger sample will help to capture more variations in
consumers shopping behaviour and perceptions across different regions of India by
adopting better econometric techniques. Also the Indian FDI policy was liberalised in
January 2012. It is likely to facilitate the entry of more foreign brands and to impact the
Indian consumers shopping behaviour. Hence, future research needs to be conducted
to analyse the impact of changes in the retail policy in light of its benefits for Indian
consumers and global retailers.
5. Conclusions
Indian consumers are changing-disposable income is rising, consumption patterns are
changing, and the level of brand consciousness is rising. This has led to the growth of
modern retail, and many global and Indian corporates are either investing or planning to
invest in the Indian retail sector. Based on a pan-India survey of rich and middle-income
consumers, this paper examines consumer shopping behaviour for brands across
different product categories and knowledge and perception of foreign brands.
The study found that Indian consumers are heterogeneous. Their preferences for
branded vis-a`-vis non-branded products vary across product categories and there are
regional variations in their demand patterns as well. The bulk of the respondents
expenditure is still on food and grocery products and it is in this segment that they
largely buy non-branded products. This is not merely because branded products are
not available, but because the available branded products are expensive. Demand for
luxury products is low and is confined to a niche segment of the market. Although
brand consciousness is increasing, knowledge of foreign brands in general was low
across survey participants. Brands with a longer presence in the Indian market are
more likely to be known and used. The mode of entry of a foreign brand is not
associated with brand knowledge. Indian consumers are price sensitive and therefore,
appropriate pricing of the product is crucial for market entry and penetration.
Hence, it is important that global retailers adopt appropriate strategies to target
Indian consumers given their demographic profile, income patterns, purchase
behaviour, and level of brand consciousness.
Notes
1. Branded products are associated with a design, symbol, or a feature that identifies one
manufacturer or sellers goods as distinct from those of other manufacturers or sellers,
whereas non-branded products are not marked with the name or symbol of the company that
manufactures or sells them.
2. Authors own calculations from Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), 2008-2009.
3. Estimates from CSO (2008-2009).

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4. It is important to know that there are various projections of the Indian retail sector and they
vary widely. However, they all project double-digit growth for modern retail.
5. McKinsey Global Institute (2007) classifies Tier I cities as those that have populations
greater than four billion and total income greater than 100 billion Indian rupees. Tier II cities
have populations between 1 million and 4 million and Tier III cities have populations
between 5,00,000 and 1 million. For the survey, Tier I cities were Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata,
Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. Tier II cities were Surat, Visakhapatnam, Kanpur and
Allahabad and the Tier III city was Bhubaneswar.
6. Authors own calculations from CIA World Fact book.
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Corresponding author
Arpita Mukherjee can be contacted at: arpita@icrier.res.in

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