Tara Bose Kapur, who juggles between running her own communications agency in Mumbai and bringing up a 10-year-old son, said: “Maggi noodles is an important part of my life and I often wonder why it can’t be prepared in half-a-minute instead of two.”
She’s happy with quick-performance products such as Act II popcorn and Lifebuoy colour-changing handwash. “The fact that Lifebuoy indicates, by changing colour, how long you should rinse your hands, is great. And it has created a novelty value for children,” she said.
Indian consumers are increasingly impatient – especially the youth though the impatience is beginning to cut across age bands – and are thus responding well to quicker-acting products.
Santosh Desai, MD and CEO, Future Brands, said that access to technology has heightened consumer impatience, giving them a greater sense of control. “Technology has minimised the distance between intention and gratification, and increased the ability to translate desire into action quickly.”
On their part, brands are increasingly plugging into this consumer impatience as an opportunity and either riding on it to promote themselves or coming up with innovations that deliver faster results. Television advertising is full of quick-solution messages.
Lifebuoy faced the challenge of addressing the consumer habit of washing hands with soap for not more than 10 seconds. Two years ago, this Hindustan Unilever (HUL) brand launched its innovative germ-free handwash that is effective in 10 seconds.
Last year, Lifebuoy launched its colour-changing handwash variant for kids, making the 10 seconds tangible through the foam’s colour-change.
A HUL spokesperson said: “The innovation delivers a benefit that is aligned with and relevant to the consumer habit.”
Satyaki Ghosh, director, consumer products division, L’Oreal India, said, “Consumers are looking at faster delivery from products due to a faster pace of life. In some product categories, especially colour cosmetics, this is possible – longer-staying lipsticks, mascaras creating eyelash effects, fast-drying nail-polish.
Skincare and haircare, however, take time. Yes, you can combine effects that help in the immediate term while creating longer term benefits – we have a Garnier under-eye roll-on cream to lighten dark shadows over time, to which we’ve added foundation for instant shadow masking. Similarly, the Garnier BB cream has moisturiser with foundation.”
Procter & Gamble also added foundation to its Olay Total Effects facial cream.
In its latest ad campaign, “Oh Yes Abhi!”, Pepsi is overtly riding on youth impatience as a behaviour trait.
“This is an impatient generation and we have to find ways to give them experiences quicker,” said Homi Battiwalla, senior director – marketing (colas, juices and hydration), PepsiCo India. “They are living in the now.”
He added: “All of this is reflected in Pepsi’s latest ad campaign. In the first TV ad, we used Ranbir Kapoor, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Priyanka Chopra who represent this impatient, ‘now’ generation.
In the second ad, we have Unmukt Chand, captain of the under-19 Indian cricket team, who reflects the reality of young cricketers knocking on cricketing doors, not willing to wait to get in.”
Going forward, there is agreement that consumers will continue to seek more, faster, while brands will respond with faster, more precise benefits. “However,” Desai said, “while consumer ability and willingness to pay more may mean that brands can invest more in meaningful innovations, it will not be possible for traditional product categories – unlike the mobile phone and laptop categories – to innovate rapid and enormous breakthroughs frequently. So a lot of the new innovations will be packaging.”