Academic journal article Competition Forum

India's Youth - Transitioning Lifestyles for an Emerging Global Market

Academic journal article Competition Forum

India's Youth - Transitioning Lifestyles for an Emerging Global Market

Article excerpt

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

India's emerging youth market presents many growth opportunities for consumerism to flourish as children of India become more knowledgeable and sophisticated. Global brands offering distinctive cultural features present increased social pressures to conform to generational values. Pictures, symbols, and models become trigger points by which India's youth strive to idolize. Westernized practices, styles, and values are infiltrating this Asian audience through the infusion of various multinational trends to invite, impress, and retain young customers. Traditional promotional campaigns are constantly being challenged and new media strategies are evolving to conform to this changing and diverse target market.

Keywords: India, Emerging Markets, Youth Market, Lifestyles

INDIA'S EDUCATED YOUTH

India has over 200 million young people between the ages of 14 and 24 years old, representing 20 percent of the total population of the four countries in South Asia having relatively high populations of youth (Bangladesh with 39 percent, Nepal with 38 percent, Pakistan with 37 percent, and India with 32 percent). Also important, is 51 percent of the Indian population is below 25 years of age (Sinha, 2008).

This target market of youth boasting literacy rates in India of 74.8 percent, holds a huge source of purchasing power for the future. On average, only 62 percent of young women can read and write, compared to 77 percent of young men. Surprisingly, these statistics make South Asia the region with the largest gender gap in literacy in the world. (The World Bank, 2005).

Helping to counteract literacy gaps, a dynamic young woman named Lina Ashar, developed a revolutionary educational concept called Kangaroo Kids. Focusing on 'skill' rather than 'content', this unique educational system emphasizes learning as a by-product. This franchised concept, teaches kindergarten tots to listen to the sounds of a carpenter hammering, or the pitter-patter of rain; while fourth graders debate Gandhian thoughts or do a project on Charlie and The Chocolate Factory; which not only includes learning the history of chocolate, but also making some and marketing it! And while the students are deeply bonded to ground reality with even first graders learning about the census, the Braille system and sign language; they do so in air-conditioned comfort with the latest in learning aids (Chatterjee, 2003).

With their increased knowledge and education, this youth market has the ability to access countless information on-line and through research. As "the business of distance learning on the subcontinent is becoming so big... foreign universities and venture capitalists are taking note . . . and addressing some of India's shortcomings: a dismal educational system, limited reach, and a severe paucity of faculty" (Lakshman, 2008).

The youth of India are quickly adapting to new technologies, as English is now being more widely accepted and spoken. India's youth have a unique advantage - a combination of mobility, language, education, thirst for knowledge, and technology-savvy nature. Add to that a country that has an entrepreneurial spirit and a very clear intent to adapt to Western culture, and you have a very solid case (Singh, 2005) to market American-style education to this emerging faction.

What the new generation does like is money. According to a survey conducted by Coca-Cola, the primary ambition of young Indians from the smallest villages to the largest cities is to "become rich." Young people hope to achieve this goal through enterprise and education (Businessweek, 1999).

Evolving Female Roles

Every day at 8 a.m., her straight black hair tied neatly in a braid; 16-year-old Neelam Aggarwal rides almost 5 kilometers to school in a horse-drawn buggy. She would like to be a doctor someday. However, for girls like Neelam, who lives in the dusty, impoverished village . …

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