How is the Indian consumer changing? Well, she is showing more self love, taking great pride in all things Indian, showing a growing desire to retire young and sample the good things of life and is very aware and reading reviews and ratings before purchasing. These are just some of the findings that emerged from BrandXCel’s third annual conclave held on March 1.

The event saw lively discussions centred around deciphering the baffling and often paradoxical behaviours of the Indian Consumers. It also saw the release of the BrandXcel 2024 Consumer Brand Connect research report, which maps the nature of consumption in the Three Indias. It captures the pulse of the consumer based on economic segmentation — India One is the affluent set, India Two is the middle-class where incomes are moderate and India Three is the forgotten millions, the poorer set. While India 1 seeks luxury and exclusivity, and India 2 strives for comfort, stability and upward mobility, the people of India 3 are battling for basic necessities, says the report.

The sample for the study included 32,000 consumers across rural, semi urban and urban areas, aged between 18- 55.

There are lots of takeaways in the book, but some of the key findings are:

Indian-ness to the fore

In many different ways, the report points to the growing pride in Indianness and the unapologetic love consumers have for Made-in-India products. Analysing some of the reasons, business strategist and angel investor Lloyd Mathias feels the giant technological leap driven by the rapid growth of the internet and the robust digital India Stack are contributors. The development of e-commerce infrastructure supported by logistics and digital payments system has given consumers easy access to products and services and made discovery of digital first new Indian brands easy.


Reading between the lines of the report, there is a rise in individualism versus collectivism. This has a role in consumption. As Ashwani Arora, Executive Director at MarketXcel explains, “Decision making is more democratic in a family nowadays with women and kids having a larger say.” You will find multiple brands of the same segment in a household — with each member of the family buying his or her preference. Notably, Arora says, what has changed is that women are increasingly deciding on many things in rural areas, unlike previous studies.

“As me and love for self is coming to the fore, personal care and cosmetic brands such as Pilgrim and Wow, have emerged with more nuanced offerings,” says Arora.

Move towards premium

The BrandXcel report corroborates the premiumisation trend that has been underway for some years now. “Aspirational brands are propelling consumers towards higher needs despite unmet basic ones,” says Arora. They could do this in multiple ways — sampling a higher quality premium product in a sachet-sized offering. While consumers are biting, they are also very clear and realistic about their aspirations.

The top brands

Amazon, Amul, Whatsapp, Samsung and Flipkart are the top five brands in Urban 1, while in Urban 2 Amazon, Amul, Tata, Whatsapp and Flipkart are the top five. Interestingly, the rural top five looks different with Jio on top, Tata second, Parle at third spot, Amul at fourth and Colgate fifth.