Modern-day Indian consumers look at financial matters differently. Traditionally we are considered a ‘savings’ nation. Now people are waking up to the need to become more financially literate and be wise about investments too. These and several other shifts are emerging in India.
With culture playing a key role in shaping consumption and building brands, Wunderman Thompson (WT) wanted to study the new ‘financial culture’ developing in India. Titled, ‘WT Culture Muscle Finance Study’, WT South Asia’s strategic planning team conducted a syndicated study across genders in the 25-54 year age group, amongst 10 cities in India (Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Surat, Jaipur, Kochi, and Amritsar) that comprised metros and mini-metros to get an in-depth understanding of the financial culture among modern day Indian consumers. Financial culture impacts not just financial categories, such as banking, insurance, and investments but also purchase decisions across categories which has relevance for clients and brands.
The findings of the study revealed some big culture shifts in modern Indian homes that included joint responsibility in the household on financial aspects, reliance on technology, and the importance of financial education for girls.
Shaziya Khan, national planning director, Wunderman Thompson India, who commissioned the study, says: “Financial thinking is undergoing several fascinating shifts and it is important that brands understand and address them. One of them that intrigued me the most was that when the Indian family was more of a joint family, financial decision making was concentrated or nuclear, now when the Indian family is more of a nuclear family, financial decision making is joint.”
Commenting on the study, Tarun Rai, chairman and group CEO, Wunderman Thompson, South Asia, says: “The Culture Muscle study is unique as its approach is to find out shifts in the ‘collective’ psychology and attitude of people towards a particular category, in this case ‘money’. We have many clients in the financial services space and to be able to spot in advance cultural shifts in India towards money and investing is of huge importance to them. But cultural shifts in outlook to money are important to other categories too as it affects how India spends. The study, therefore, will be of use to a lot of our clients besides helping us understand the Indian consumer better. This is the second Culture Muscle study that we have done. The first on Foods and Beverages was very well received.”
The implications of the study included new areas of interest for brands to stay relevant to modern day consumers. These included communicating with new target audiences, building lifetime value for brands with these new audiences through products and innovations, acknowledging and celebrating the complementary roles played in financial decision by different members of the same household and creating new platforms for activation and education.