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In a first of a series of articles, Vishal Pandit shares his thoughts on Leveraging Consumerism.

 

(Vishal Pandit graduated from St. Stephen’s College and did his MBA from FMS, New Delhi (Batch of ’85). He has over 20 years of experience in the corporate sector, having been involved with a number of new initiatives including GE Capital Services India and Maruti Countrywide. He has also been the Managing Director of Associates India Financial Services Limited and President, GE Money. He is currently Market Manager - India & Middle East, Hewitt Associates.)

 

There is a confidence, an air of self assured belief that we have arrived. The metros and now the small towns of India are celebrating the choices they have when they step in to a mall, a market, click online or choose to use their mobile phones for purchases – we have a desirable problem of plenty. India is clearly a rising giant and a star of most Marketing triumphs in the region.

 

The surge has worked because as a nation, we are many of us, so a ready market is available. Also, we have invested in education and are a hard-working set of individuals. So the stock markets have risen, though erratically, people-intensive industries like IT, outsourcing and retail have boomed and the entrepreneurs have created global empires. All this has led to two spirals of growth for us – growing incomes and booming markets. And the fact that we have the world’s youngest work force is an added bonus.

 

However, to leverage this growth in spending power and market revenues over a sustained period of time, we have to think differently. We have to future-proof our growth.

 

In this globalised world, tremors in one market can engulf a continent’s economy. We have to plan for a downswing. The buyers will have to think long term and judiciously invest for a potentially sluggish period, while the marketers will have to recession-proof their products and services.

 

As a society we have to identify and build the ‘Next’ engines of growth. Which industries/technologies/movements will we bet on and build capabilities for, will help us sustain, and hopefully exceed out current growth numbers.

 

Our model of markets is an American concept. While it has served us well, it has its flaws. The US mortgage crisis and the looming recession are pointers for us that we should adapt but not photocopy. We have to build on our strengths and identify best practices.

 

My parting thought is for India’s move towards a consumer society in a larger framework, is to think of the many who struggle to provide for themselves and their families the basic essentials in the 21st century. There is a lot going for us, to continue and build on our economic success. However, let’s balance it - try and give back to society and collectively leap ahead as a nation of winners.

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