It might be a little too early to say “Bharat Shining” but rural India seems to have pretty much arrived in the consumer market scene.
A countrywide survey to find out what urban and rural households bought recently, said there has been an across-the-board increase in possession of durable goods. From the humble bicycle to refrigerators, people in India’s hinterlands are buying with vengeance.
The only exception to this rule was transistor sets. The report said a lower percentage of households had transistor sets compared to what it was even five years ago.
Surveyors saw this as a sign of prosperity. “The radio has been giving away to television, both in rural and urban India,” the consumer expenditure study of the 61st National Sample Survey report said.
The study found that durable goods accounted for 3.75 per cent of average per capita consumer expenditure in rural areas. In urban areas, it was put at 4.27 per cent.
The proportion of rural households with a radio set had risen between 1993-94 and 1999-2000 to 30 per cent, but declined to the 1993 level of about 26 per cent this year.
In fact, radio has shown a steady decline in the urban areas since the ’90s. Better programming by FM stations had, of course, changed that a little bit in the past few years, but the slowdown’s too obvious. On the contrary, the number of households with TV sets went up by about seven per cent. One of the sharpest growths was recorded in possession of cars. Nearly 4.6 per cent of urban and 0.8 per cent of rural households had a car in 2004-05, a four-fold increase over the previous eleven years.
Possession of two-wheelers — scooters and motorcycles — also witnessed a similar increase. Only 2 per cent households had a two-wheeler in 1993. The figure increased to 7.7 per cent in 2004. Similarly, one in every four households in urban areas also had a two-wheeler, up from one in eight households in 1993. The other white goods that increased their presence in rural markets included electric fans, air coolers and refrigerators.