The good things in life matter, but there’s much to save for.

In our previous outing, we mapped the aspirations of ‘cool’ folk (people aged 14 – 34 years) and discovered that a majority (40 per cent of the total number of respondents) aspired to a ‘good life’. A good life included fancy cars and gadgets, living in a fancy unit, travelling around the globe, and so on. When we added ‘aspiring to amass wealth’ to ‘good life’, we captured a whopping 62 per cent of our respondents. Not bad for a society struggling not too long ago to make ends meet. This time, we tried to figure out ‘intent to purchase’ if there was a slight fattening of the disposable income. We felt that this probe, along with the one on aspirations, would help us gain better insights into the minds of the target sample. Ever since we expanded our research domain to include Ahmedabad and Chandigarh, we feel we have a better spread. Taking into account that Jaipur was already on our list, that gives us three mini-metros (along with Chennai and Delhi or Mumbai).

The similarities in emerging trends are so striking, we are tempted to believe that urban India is fast becoming a homogeneous terrain. More on that later — let’s get back to our current probe on ‘intent to purchase or spend’.

Surprisingly, 42 per cent of respondents aspired to make investments for future returns if their disposable incomes went up. Isn’t that a reflection of people who operate at either ends of the spectrum? For while they aspire for a good life, they also want to secure their future, or at least do something prudent. If we add the 18 per cent-odd respondents who want to repay their loans or clear debts with the extra disposable incomes, we see that 60 per cent of our respondents handle money responsibly — if we could peg them using what now appears a conservative point of view.

Automobiles came in as the most sought-after or aspired in terms of intent to purchase (we are talking bikes or cars bought for the first time, as well as upgrades or replacements) with almost one in every four of our respondents wanting to ride one. As Billy Ocean’s song goes — It’s time to get out of dreams and get into the car! The next item of choice was gadgets, clothes and holidays — as random splurge. Since our probe mechanism is to seek unaided responses to open-ended questions, and then tabulate them, ‘investments’, ‘automobiles’, ‘repayment of loans’ and ‘random splurge’ were the top four, and the rest were dropped (with the entire response being dropped too). So, while the aspiration is for a good life when it comes to parking the incremental disposable incomes, the choices are prudent and mature. The realty guys will vouch for it, and so would the financial products marketers. Until next fortnight, happy cool-hunting!

(Giraj Sharma is an independent brand consultant and a compulsive cool hunter)

(This article was published on August 30, 2012)
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