CHAPTER 1

TRANSFORMING THE KARMA

HOW CULTURAL FORCES ARE SHAPING CONSUMPTION BEHAVIOR IN INDIA

A Changing India

There are two reasons for this book. In a world economic environment in which most developed economies are struggling to maintain a positive GDP growth rate, India boasts an emerging economy that’s looking at an 8.5 percent growth rate in 2010–11. Although it’s critical that the developed markets of the world regain their health for the rest of the world to feel better, it’s also clear that the current economic crises will certainly shift unprecedented power and responsibility for growth to the East. India and China are therefore the two countries expected to power the world GDP in the next decade. As Indian consumers constitute a market that is becoming increasingly central to the shape of the world economy, we need a better understanding of them.

Even before the axes of the world economy started shifting, the Indian consumer market had been undergoing its own transformation. To be precise, the Indian consumer has been subjected to a lot of change in the relatively short span of the last decade. The changes, most of them triggered by the economic liberalization of the country, have had a cascading effect on the overall affluence of the middle class and the available choices in business, jobs, and consumer products. For a nation and a people who have lived with a comparative lack of opportunities and limited means for many decades, this experience has been nothing less ...

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