Profile of Rural Customer

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 in crores

Percentage to total

Population in crores

Percentage total

Population in crores

Percentage total

Rural Population

43.90

80

50.20

76.3

64.1

76

Urban Population

10.91

20

15.62

23.7

20.3

24

Total 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; religion, culture and even superstition strongly influence their consumption habits.

3. Location Pattern of Rural Consumers

Whereas the urban population of India is concentrated in 3,200 cities and towns, the rural population is scattered over 5,70,000 villages. Statistics show that out of 5, 70,000 villages only 6,300 have a population of more than 5,000 people each. More than 3 lakh villages or more than 55% of the total number of villages are in the category of 500 people or less and more than 1.5 lakh villages or 25% of the total are in the category of 200 people or less. The inference is clear; rural demand is scattered over a large area, unlike the urban demand, which is highly concentrated.

4. Literacy level

It is estimated that rural India has a 23% literacy rate compared with 36% of the total country. The adult literacy program launched by the government in the rural areas are bound to enhance the rural literacy rate in the years to come. Two aspects need to be specially emphasized: (1) In absolute numbers, there are 11.5 crore of literate people in rural India compared with 12 crore in urban India, and (2). Every year 60 lakh is getting added to the literate population of Rural India.

5. Rural Income

An analysis of the rural income pattern reveals that nearly 60% of the rural income is from agriculture. Evidently, rural prosperity and the discretionary income with the rural consumer is directly tied up with agricultural prosperity. Anything that contributes to agricultural prosperity will directly result in increase income for the rural population and the consequent increase in their spending capacity. The pre dominance of agriculture in the income pattern has one more significance ie- rural demand is more seasonal.

6. Rural Savings

Statistics reveal that in recent years, rural consumers have been drawn into the saving habit in a big way. The commercial banks and the co-operative have been marketing the saving habits in rural areas for quite some years. Today, as much as 70% of the rural house hold are saving a part of their income. The habit is particularly widespread among salary owners and self employed non-farmers.

Since the major income in the rural areas is from agriculture the demands turns out to be seasonal. Promotional activities are normally done in the crop-cutting season, as this being that golden season for the farmers.

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