The Age of the Population

Compared with several advanced countries, where the overall population is aging, India is a very young nation, with more than 70 % of its population below the age of 40, and more than 47% below the age of 20. This age distribution is of significance to marketers of goods and services. It partially explains the boom in all Indian cities, in the consumption of impulse products and leisure related expenditure in general, since the onset of liberalization. According to the Census of India, 2001, 54 percent of the population in India is aged 24 years and below with 35 per cent and 19 per cent of the population in the age groups 0 – 14 years and 15 – 24 years respectively the youth population in the age group 15 – 24 years is expected to increase from 195 million in 2001 to 240 million in 2011. Out of the total population increase of 371 million between 2001 and 2026 the share of workers in the age group 15-59 years in this total increase is 83 per cent. The increasing youth population which has also started earning early, also increases the overall purchasing capacity in the country, and has implications on the productivity of labor.

The projected increase in the economically active population of young Indians holds the key to India’s prosperity’s and its economic potential over the next twenty years, and is expected to unlock a new wave of consumer demand provided the current trend of economic liberalization continues and generates continued investment and trade opportunities in the economy.

Example is highlighted below influence of the youth on the buying patterns of parents

Teens decide what parents buy:

According to the Disney’s Kid sense 2007 survey, 63% kids are discussing products that span not only kiddie categories (clothes bicycles) but go across the spectrum (DVD players, mobile phones, cars, holidays). What’s more: 21 % parents turn to their teen or tween for information while buying high priced items. And 46% of the parents surveyed are certain that their child’s opinion is based on research.

With every next child now becoming an alpha – that’s market research jargon for the kid who is deemed by friends to be the coolest in their school or neighborhood — it’s not surprising that the kid influence (influence kids have on their parents’ purchasing decisions) graph is on an upward swing. Kids, on their part, are always tuned in or logged on to the latest trends. While television (99%) is where most children get their information from, 55% in the 8 to 14 year old category surveyed by IMRB claimed to scan the newspaper for information related to products they like. Across all categories brand names are important to kids and 71% admit to being biased towards a branded high end item. But if you thought that’s where it ends, get a load of this – in a mobile phone teens are most likely to look for a good MP3 player in a car, they talk mileage and on a PC they want the latest software and a lightning speed internet connection.

It’s a straight case of KGOY or Kids Getting Older Younger. Gone are the days of teddy bears, board games and dolls that say Mama. By the time a kid enters double figures building blocks give way to PCs and iPods becomes an essential accessory. Even Barbie has one of her own.

It isn’t surprising then that 41% of the parents polled in Disney’s kid sense survey admitted to following the kid’s choice while purchasing products; 29% take their kids along even when shopping for high end items. Disney’s Kid sense surveyed 2,240 children between 8 and 14 and 1,320 parents. The respondents were drawn from Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Ludhiana and Jaipur. American author Vance Packard called them the hidden persuaders. But all that and the power equation at home has changed today. And every time child’s face lights up a brand strikes.

21% parents turn to their teen or tweenager for information while buying high priced items; 29% parents take kids along when shopping for big ticket items; 71% kids are influenced by brand names; while 25% parents consider their kids opinions and buy what their children recommend.

The age profile of the population helps the retailer determine the kind of product mix that will appeal to the customer and it also plays a significant role in determining the kind of ambience, layout and service that will be needed in the store.