The Indian rural market, with its vast size and diverse demand base, presents businesses with a plethora of attractive prospects. After all, out of 140 crores current population of India, Rural India accounts for 70% of the population.
Moreover, rural consumption is outpacing urban consumption as in the June quarter, rural consumption increased by 6.6 percent compared to a 16.4 percent rise in the same period the previous year. Also, according to the latest figures from Bizom, rural sales increased by 24% in July 2021, while urban sales increased by 14%. With the importance of the rural market in mind, this article attempts to draw light towards the Indian rural marketing environment and its features.
But before we move ahead, let’s understand the definition of a rural marketing environment.
What is a Rural Marketing Environment?
The term “rural marketing environment” refers to aspects that influence rural marketing, such as demographics, economics, and social issues.
When conducting marketing efforts in rural areas, it is vital to be aware of the current state of rural markets in terms of the ever-changing environment. Rural marketing necessitates a knowledge of the rural setting where businesses must operate to deliver goods and services.
The rural marketing landscape is complicated and ever-changing. The volatility and uncertainty of the environment in which rural marketing operates have an impact. It is necessary to fully comprehend the rural marketing environment’s factors to face the challenges and explore the opportunities afforded by the rural markets.
Features of the rural marketing environment
The main element of the rural marketing environment is that it is heavily influenced by external factors such as demographic, economic, political, and sociocultural issues, among others.
- Demographic – The primary strategy in the rural market should consider demographic factors like age, sex, population size, income, education, occupation, etc.
- Political – The government’s intervention, such as fostering small-scale rural enterprises and the penetration of other business units into rural areas to improve the living conditions of people in these places, has a significant impact on rural markets.
- Economic – To win the rural markets, marketers must take into account financial aspects such as consumer welfare, healthy competition, and the best pricing.
- Socio-cultural includes the rural consumer’s lifestyle, preferences, habits, culture, way of life, attitude, perception, behavior, personality, and mental health.
These external influences must be studied from the perspective of rural markets, as they differ from urban markets.
The rural marketing landscape is neither rigid nor static. It is very dynamic and changing in comparison to previous decades. An increase in literacy accompanies the improvement in rural people’s socioeconomic status.
Housing patterns have shifted dramatically, with rural residents now interested in transitioning from semi-pucca to permanent pucca) housing. Statista estimates that by 2022, an estimated 131 million households would have an annual income of $5,000 to $10,000, up from 92 million in 2019. During the crisis, rural communities are also learning to save their money, and more than half of rural households are optimistic about their stable and bright future due to their long-term savings.
Hence, in terms of many elements such as income, birth rate, housing pattern, and so on, rural markets have seen a significant transformation in recent years.
Another factor is the complexity of the rural marketing environment. Rather than just one or two factors, rural markets are influenced by a number of them.
Increased literacy levels, migration to urban areas, growth in media and telecommunications, availability of bank credit schemes, market globalization, low-cost technology products such as televisions, mobile phones, and so on, as well as tax breaks and loan waivers, have all contributed to an increase in demand among rural buyers. There are numerous others. As a result, studying all elements is difficult, making it complex.
The impact of the rural marketing environment differs depending on the business and the country. Environmental factors may have a significant impact on some companies while having little effect on others.
So, what exactly are these environmental variables? They are the political and regulatory environments, the economic and competitive environments, the environmental and technological environments, and the social and cultural environments. Understanding the cultural factors that influence brand loyalty in rural areas would assist marketers and businesses in developing a market strategy that would allow them to explore benefits.
Furthermore, technological advancements can reduce the cost of transferring people and goods, reducing the importance of location for employees and businesses. These changes may result in more dispersed production structures and working practices, making rural areas more competitive and appealing to individuals and companies on a global scale.
As a result of understanding these rural environment factors, businesses can develop new ideas in rural markets, which are constantly expanding day by day.
There was little debate a quarter ago about rural India being the engine of India’s growth. In reality, its economy was facing significant challenges. Predicting changes in the rural marketing environment is difficult due to the environment’s rapid evolution.
Rural markets have undergone significant changes due to technological advancements, fashion revolutions, and other factors. Furthermore, uncertainties have a considerable impact on the fluctuation of rural household income. Commodity producers’ income will be more volatile as their exposure to urban markets grows.
There has been a rapid increase in the number of active WhatsApp users in rural India. Rural India is quickly catching up as a result of increased internet availability and rapid WhatsApp adoption. In addition, the DTH connection serves as a means of educating rural audiences. So, with the advancement of technology and its penetration, it is clear that predicting certainties in a rural marketing environment is impossible, but constantly researching the changes will allow your business to develop rural marketing strategies accordingly.
Rural marketing environments can be studied by businesses to understand the development, complexities, and market opportunities to make various marketing decisions and policies. Most importantly, they will have a clear picture of consumer behavior, and by conducting rural market research, they will be able to confront competitive challenges effectively.