Credibility Of Digital Media At Par With Traditional Media Among Rural Consumers: Report

Rural India has shown a declining trend of perceived degree of confidence with the resilience of the economy, credibility of digital media is seen at par with traditional media among Rural consumers

Kantar, the evidence-based insights and consulting company along with GroupM’s rural and experiential marketing unit- Dialogue Factory has unveiled the 4th edition of the Rural Barometer Report. This report explores the evolving priorities of Rural consumers concerning inflation and how it alters consumer behavior and purchase patterns.

Dalveer Singh, Head of Experiential Marketing- APAC, Dialogue Factory speaks, “Inflation worries are trickling across rural markets and its impact can be seen in dwindling consumer confidence in H1’22. Confidence in the economy is better in southern states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana whereas northern India along with West Bengal in the East is not so optimistic. Big-ticket expenditure in the last six months is stagnant or declining. Conversely, construction categories are continuously witnessing an increase in spending in rural India and small construction is high on future intention as well.” 

The research has been conducted with Kantar’s strong data and insights network and Dialogue Factory’s rural marketing intelligence in 18 Indian states, across rural adults (18+ years in age) with representation across gender, NCCS and age groups. With technology penetrating further and rural consumers evolving in this digital and e-commerce-led era, we see a brighter tomorrow in rural regions. 

The key highlights of this latest version of the Rural Barometer Report:

  • Inflation-led concerns: An overwhelming majority of 70 per cent of people in rural India are concerned about their financial situation. The concerns being voiced around the personal financial situation of people in Rural India are more acute amongst Skilled/ Unskilled workers and people who are dependent on small businesses like traders/shopkeepers etc. On the other hand, agriculturalists in Rural India show relatively lower concerns about their personal financial situation but have lower confidence in the country's overall economic resilience. Confidence in the economy is better in southern regions except for Karnataka, while Northern India along with WB in the East shows lower confidence in the economy. The claimed monthly household expenditure in rural India has increased by 8 per cent, while claimed monthly household income has increased by 12 per cent during the same time. Thus, somewhat offsetting the effects of inflation.
  • Decline in incidence of purchases across categories in Rural India: There has been an over 5 per cent decline since December 2022 in the monthly purchase incidence for essential categories such as Cooking Oils, Laundry Products, Biscuits\Chocolates and Personal Hygiene Products such as Toilet Soaps, Dentifrices, etc. Additionally, across categories, we have observed that a larger proportion of consumers in Rural India are managing their budget through a shift to smaller pack sizes as compared to migration to lower-priced brands.  
  • Traditional media enjoys higher credibility than online media: In terms of media, the gap between traditional media and digital media is continually narrowing, both on reach and credibility. Instagram has seen stronger adoption over the last 6 months as compared to other social media and short video platforms.

Puneet Avasthi, Senior Executive Director- Specialist Businesses, Insights Division at Kantar believes, “Inflation Concerns remain in rural India affecting 2 in 3 households, however, Household income has been going up at a rate faster than inflation, as a result creating some stability for people in Rural India. In order to cope with inflationary trends, consumers in Rural India are looking to move to small pack size and further, could also be doing portion control to make the pack last longer”

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