Infrastructure growth, rising income levels make rural areas increasing attractive to brands, say experts
By Retail4Growth Bureau | April 25, 2022
A Rural Marketing Association of India (RMAI) virtual meet brought forth the factors driving rural market growth
The rural sector has seen a sharp uptrend spending. Government allocation to this sector alone has gone up from Rs 95,000 crore five years ago to Rs 1,30,600 crore. The concentrated efforts to boost the rural infrastructure and livelihood sources, bolstered with various flagship schemes of the Government have spurred the rural sector growth.
Stating this in his address in a virtual session on ‘Evolution of Rural Marketing’ organised by Rural Marketing Association of India (RMAI) on April 23, Sanjay Kaul, Chairman, Impact Group of Companies; Founder & CEO, Last Mile Channel Enhancement (LMCE) said the digital transformation of the sector, evidenced by BharatNet alone seeing 13,000 terrabytes of data consumption in the in rural areas, is emblematic of the big marketing opportunities coming up there. “All these have sparked new aspirations in the rural areas,” said Sanjay, while adding that the sector has grown faster than what most marketers had imagined a few years ago.
Pradeep Lokhande, Founder, Rural Relations & Member - National Advisory Board, RMAI, who is also known as Postcard Man of India in the marketing domain, observed that the biggest roadblock for rural India is the perspective that urban India has of the rural sector. He referred to five factors that have contributed to the transformation of rural sector:
- Spread of education and high school enrolment; primary education is available to most rural households within 1.5km radius.
- Widespread communications leading to increasing consumerism.
- 200%-2000% increase in minimum support prices (MSP) for commodities produced in rural sector in last 20 years – resulting in increase in farmer income level. There are 65 lakh retail outlets in the rural areas.
- Improvement in roads infrastructure – 81% of villages have all-season roads today.
- Growing role of Panchayati Raj Institutions, and elected women councils.
- Corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives – some Rs 36,000 crore of CSR spends were directed to this sector.
Pradeep said these developments serve as a solid foundation for brands to leverage the rural market opportunities.