Learning to sing the Indian song

This MultiConnexions blog was written by Michael Jilwan, Media Director.

A saying in India goes, “There are many people who can sing, but don’t know the words”. I think this is a fitting saying to sum up the countless brands looking to tap into the sheer scale of the Indian market. Their marketing definitely can ‘sing’, but without knowing the social and cultural ‘words’ they can’t get very far with penetrating the market.

Yes, the country is the second most populous in the world at 1.32 billion and yes, it is the second largest English-speaking nation, but this does not mean that the one-sized-glove marketing strategy will fit all.

Here are a few reasons why…


India is a very young nation with a median age of just 27.1 and the highest number of 15-24-year olds in the world at 173 million. When you also factor in India’s birth rate, which is 65 per cent higher than Australia’s, it begins to become clear why Indian consumers have a growing reputation for being younger, more progressive and savvier.

Mobile/ Technology

With a cursory first glance at some numbers, India may not look like a technology forward country. At 37 per cent, India’s internet penetration is low (Australia’s is 88 per cent) and mobile phone penetration is also low, with an average of 258 people per 1000 owning a mobile (Australia’s is 1,040 per 1000 people). But!…

Scratching just below the surface reveals a vastly different picture…

• India is on the cusp of a digital revolution, already the largest and fastest growing digital markets in the world, and not showing any signs of slowing down.
• Technology is rapidly changing the Indian market, with a huge decrease in the cost of phone data by 95 per cent. This is one of the key factors in the predicted growth of both internet penetration and smartphone penetration which are expected to grow by 40 per cent and over 100 per cent respectively by 2023.
• Google (whose CEO is Indian by the way!) has identified India as a key market in its NBU (next billion users) program, developing initiatives such as free Wi-Fi at over 400 train stations and free digital literacy programs for rural Indian women.
• Facebook is setting up 20,000 hotspots through its Express WiFi initiative, with the government aiming to install an additional 250,000 in villages across India.

Such initiatives are driving greater penetration of mobile data as opposed to traditional landlines, particularly in rural, less developed areas of India. There is a reason why India is dominating as a global tech hub.

Social Media

A younger consumer, a consumer more adapted to mobile phones and technology… it is no wonder Indians are obsessed with social media. There are an estimated 350 million social media users in India. This is more than 72 per cent of internet users. They spend an average 144 minutes per day compared to Australians’ 99 minutes. Indians spend roughly half their time on the internet on social media as opposed to Australians 27 per cent. Let’s look closer at some of the social platforms performance among Indians.

• Bucking the aging user trend of other markets, Indians aged 18-24 make up the largest portion of Facebook users in India at a whopping 97.2 million. The platform has 241 million Indian users, making it the highest user base in the world.
• Instagram follows at 69 million users, with the biggest audience aged 18-24, however the platform is not nearly as trusted as Facebook with the third largest number of fake accounts worldwide.
• Twitter use is decreasing in India, while Snapchat grew 75 per cent from 2017 to 2018.
• India drives the second largest traffic in the world for LinkedIn, at 53 million active users. The platform is popular for KOL/ influencer marketing.

So, what does it all mean?

To reach the Indian audience, wherever they reside in the world, a winning strategy should likely encompass mobile and highly value social media platforms, particularly those favouring video.

Indians are a young, savvy and progressive audience that values human contact and relationships. A winning strategy would also likely focus on brand building to establish an emotional connection with the consumer, who is then more likely to convert. Building an emotional connection means taking a keen interest in the social cues in your creative and messaging to make your brand feel more welcoming to the Indian culture.

For further information on reaching the Indian audience in Australia, contact MultiConnexions today.

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