Monday, August 4, 2008

Buying Pattern of Indian Customers..What it means...

I've been thinking about this for quite sometime ...Are customers from different cultures actually different ??? Does it matter for the companies ?? Can companies use this information to make more profit ??

If you look at buying patterns of customers in different regions and different cultures, they are very different when its actual buying of the product and not just adoring them. I've not done much research on buyers from other cultures but have been observing Indian buyers and their buying patterns in technology for quite some time.

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There is very common myth that Indian buyers are choosy about the prices. In order to break the myth, Lets start with saying that - "Indian buyers are choosy about the bargains." These buyers don't go for the cheapest products but for the products with best return on investment.

Ipod, when launched in October'2001, became immediately successful in among american customers but it took two years for Ipod to prove its mettle among Indian customers. As soon as Indian customers found it to be robust, value for money and something to be relied on, they started buying it too. It was not only the shuffle Ipod which became most popular among Indians but also the higher end video Ipods too.

Have you ever thought, why it took Ipod two years to catch up whereas it took 20 years for the Mac book to catch up among Indian customers. The reason is simple, the product wasn't mature enough to attract them. Mac book sold among European and American customers even when the softwares were not available for Mac OSX. The product was evolving too rapidly to make it attractive to Indians. They adored it but didn't buy. It was when Apple announced Intel processor for mac books, the era of Mac book's perception of being a stable product started. Indians don't care for the price tag anymore. What they care for is, the quality they are getting at the same price tag.

Toyota, Honda and Nissan are the darlings of Indian Community in United States. Its very difficult to find an Indian owning an American Car (read as GM, Ford, Chrysler). This is not only the current trend but also has stayed the same for past twenty years when the gas prices were cheaper. The American cars don't attract Indians because they don't fit their criteria for a product worth buying. They want reliable, fuel efficient and long lasting automobile of high quality. An Indian would never buy GM or Jeep but would prefer buying Acura or Lexus for more money.

The biggest shopping destination of Indians in United States are the factory outlets. They prefer the best products at cheaper price to buying cheap products. . It would be rare event to see even a rich Indian buying at Nordstrom, best service and highly priced shopping store chain. They will buy the same brand at a cheaper price in Factory Outlets. This not only lets them own the best product but also pay far lesser prices.

There are numerous such instances in personal and corporate buying by Indians. The point here is that can companies take a clue from these buying patterns in judging their products. I'm sure there would a peculiar buying pattern among Chinese customers too. Companies can do the profiling of their customers. Using the profile of their current customers, they can use that information not only in making their products better but also for the efficient pricing of their products.

Today, no company should underestimate the purchasing power of upcoming Indian and Chinese middle class. They are going to be the ones, who will drive the markets in the years to come.

I would love to know more about insights about the customers from different culture. Will update you all when anything new comes to my grey cells. Till then ...keep ticking ....