Indian Middle Class comprises of 140 million households, if we simplistically equate middle class with middle-income households. (Annual income between Rs 71,000 to Rs 3 lakhs )
Households with an annual income below Rs 71,000 are categorized as lower income ones, numbering 40 million.
Households with an annual income above Rs 3 lacs are categorized as the higher income ones, numbering 43 million. (Figures are approximates as per a recent survey)
Few facts are important: –
Ø The Middle income Group is much larger than the combined number of the other two income categories.
Ø As India has rapidly progressed since 1990, there has been an upward shift from the lower income to middle income and from middle income to higher income households (population)
Ø Since the ‘Middle Class’ is very large, within this classification also there are sub classifications as per the income levels.
This large populace gives India a unique identity and marketers a large consumer base. Despite India’s diverse culture most of the MIDDLE CLASS VALUES are common across the country.
Ø The Middle Class is cautious, careful and conservative.
Ø While there is good literacy level and increasing awareness of the New World without Boundaries and Globalization, middle class would still like to preserve what they have.
Ø The family seniors have worked for most of their lives holding on to their dear jobs and hence are very pro Government Service.
Ø Stability and surety of income is very important to them.
Ø They have gone through the gradual cycle of acquisition of consumer durables and assets and believe in the same principle. (They worship on buying the first motorbike or small car and paint religious symbols on them!)
Ø They have learnt not to take good times for granted and would like to save and re-use.
Ø They use polythene covers on all new furniture items and the car seats, till the children force them to part with the same.
Ø They are great votaries of good education for their children but would still recommend Engineering and Medicines as the top professions.
Ø The younger population has started exploring new career options and a large percentage of urban youth are engaged in B.P.Os, Retail, Insurance and Telecom sectors. This has brought lot of disposable income in their hands and hence the ‘ Brand’ consciousness and the ‘Café’ culture.
Ø Parents are very proud of their working children and do fuel their aspirations, but are at best Cautiously Optimistic of their grand plans. (They are somewhat vary, lest the good times do not last)
Ø The Power of Prayer is held to be sacrosanct. Rituals, Customs and Mores are important. Festivals and Marriages are great occasions for the family get together (All somewhat diminishing in the urban areas)
Ø Opinion of the neighbors and social groups is still very powerful.
Ø Mothers will always eat after feeding the children and the husband. They would insist on handing over home made food Tiffin to the four or five figure salary earning children, who obviously are more comfortable in being seen to with the times and by ordering a Pizza or Burger. (This does not however faze the doting mothers)
Ø A study published some time back in India Today stated that children still spend maximum time at home and are deeply influenced by their parent’s opinions (Though none of the two generations would readily agree to this!).
Ø In a manner of speaking, parents are still their best friends!
Ø Marriages are made in heaven and are for life. Even the NRI children would mostly rely on their mother’s opinion for the best match (Though most of them will claim differently!)
Ø Home made remedies are used with greater faith than the allopathic medicines (Gargles for sore throat, Turmeric in milk for the hidden injury and Garlic for lowering B.P)
Ø While eating in a restaurant, they will order dishes that the family can share and think nothing of eating from each other’s plate.
Middle Class Values are shared Family Values, which are a great bonding factor. These are based on Pragmatism. They suggest Achievement and Consolidation rather than the Unsustainable Exponential Spiral. More Power to The Indian Middle Class.