The World Bank estimates that one-fifth of the population in South Asia falls between the ages of 15 and 24. Of this, India alone has some 200 million young people. This young crowd attracts marketers on the basis of its sheer numbers, tendency to consume and its ability to influence larger household decisions.
Not surprisingly, retail has emerged as one of the most dynamic and fast-paced industries in India. What is surprising though is that the market for gadgets in India has seen a 50 per cent plus growth in recent years. With technology making progress in leaps and bounds, it’s no wonder that gadgets are becoming trendier and shrieking ‘style’ like no other accessory.
Thrice as nice
Take Devendra Gupte, event executive. The 23-year-old needs three phones.. one for music, the second to attend to his personal calls and a third to tackle his work-related affairs “I am very dependent on gadgets. Apart from them, I would also like to own an O2 someday.”
Psychologist Tanvi Shah explains, “ Gadgets have become an extension of the Indian youth’ s personality, what with an iPod or a mobile phone being the constant companion. They reflect their coolness.”
In fact, eBay spotted this trend as early as 2007.According to the site, gadget-crazy Indians saw a spate of most wanted tech products on the eBay site, from 106 listings of the Nokia N95 to 93 listings of the iPod Touch. The technology category saw some fascinating items such as digital photo frames and even a digital pendant. Out of the top five most sold items, four were tech items including mobile handsets and accessories, MP3 players and accessories and laptop accessories. Top searches on the site included iPod Nano, iPhone, Nokia N95, laptops and PlayStation.
“Basically, it’s a good thing to be a part of emerging technology. You have to keep yourselves updated. I bought myself an iPod shuffle a couple of days ago and I love it… I’m addicted to it! Buying stuff is about showing off but is also about how well is suits your needs,” explains Siddesh Patil, 24, media student.
Research suggests that young people in India are among the fastest in Asia today to embrace digital technology to express themselves and connect with other communities.
Moreover the Indian youth see mobile phones as a status symbol. Not surprisingly then, the Indian mobile handset industry is on its way to becoming the largest mobile handset market in the world. Reason: ‘right-priced’ models aimed at youth segments encourage consumers to buy more mobile phones and change them more often.
Gaurav Shah, 24, an MBA student feels, “Gadgets are a must in everyone’s life. They are meant to spoil and pamper you. Parents usually do this job. Therefore I think parents should buy us our mobile phones, laptops.”
In fact, major brands have already started changing their merchandise to make it contemporary and youthful, at the same time offering a broader range.
All this is aimed at inviting more shoppers and converting them into frequent buyers. We have a lot of sales of iPods and mp3 players.. especially with the young crowd. But brands continue to rule the market. Although the Sony and Philips players are as good as the Apple iPod, 75 out of 100 people will pick up the iPod only because of the brand name,” explains Amit Hadkar, sales executive for Vijay Sales.
Is this a style statement or do people nowadays really need so many devices? “I have a mobile phone, a camera and a laptop. I love photography… these things are essential for me. It has nothing to do with style, it’s a part of my existence,” concludes Viraj Ganeshan, 25.