Retail asset ownership patterns reveal much more than just product penetration.
A large allocation to real assets such as gold and real estate points to a lack of reach and/or a lack of trust in financial products.
A robust survey is a good place to look at and analyse asset ownership patterns.
The Indian Financial Scape survey conducted by Delhi-based economics research firm Indicus Analytics looks at patterns of financial asset ownership through the financial products urban India owns.
The data is broken across income groups and regional patterns.
Over 35,000 households were surveyed across urban India in April-June 2012.
The survey results reveal that Indians living in western India are more heavily banked than their cousins in the east.
We also find, not surprisingly, that as income levels rise, the percentage of banked Indian rises dramatically-- 90% of those earning more than Rs 5 lakh a year use savings deposits.
This number is at least 95% for income levels higher than Rs 10 lakh a year.
The bigger picture, revealed in the Reserve Bank of India’s Annual Report 2011-12, shows that as the economy turns increasingly volatile, the Indian investor is no longer bullish on the stock market but is instead turning to safe havens like savings deposits.