History and the consumer ideology


Dissecting the definition below, I am trying to draw some parallels to the developments in Consumer behaviour in accordance with ‘Changing India’ post Independence. “Consumer behavior is the study of how individual customers, groups or organizations select, buy, use, and dispose ideas, goods, and services to satisfy their needs and wants” With the changing time, lifestyle, mindsets, and human behavior have changed considerably. Cutting across differences of religion, class, gender, nationality and ethnicity. The pursuit of ‘The good life’ through practices of what is known as ‘consumerism’ has become one of the dominant global social forces. With the work of Aristotle and his teaching on ethics, a term ‘The good life’ was coined for the life that one would like to live for happiness, But it didn’t remain as simple as it sounded by then, ideas changed, contradictions arise, and humanity experienced a good divide. As we can see, India’s GDP, in absolute numbers, has grown from a mere Rs 2.7 lakh crore to Rs 57 lakh crore in 67 years of independence. While 67-years of independence have seen many changes in the socio-economic landscape of Asia’s third largest economy. Though the process of industrialization was started at the time of the British government, but the right direction was given to the industrialization process after independence. To achieve economic stability and prosperity the government planned and designed various strategies. Plans like “five year plans” and various other commissions and committees were formulated to guide the economic path of India. Industrial growth especially small scale industries got a boost after post-liberalization. The government policies like the investment ceiling for the SSI sector and priority lending has infused new life in small industry. Some revolutionary ideas, political developments, education opportunities and the ‘Internet- which has helped the world go flat’ has successfully contributed towards shedding our faulty stereotypes. Also, welcoming the change agents, Accepting competition with a wide variety to choose, Numerous Laws and policies changed along with time, benefiting the manufacturers, sellers as well as consumers. Consumers were less anxious by then, but they are more aware and smart when it comes to selection and purchasing. A savvy consumer could distinguish between high-quality and shabby products quite easily nowadays, it was not the case earlier. While concept of conspicuous consumers is getting widely acknowledged. For example, Driving a luxury car shows that the consumer can afford to drive an automobile that others may admire; that admiration comes not primarily from the car’s ability to get the job done but from the visible evidence of wealth it provides. The vehicle is thus an outward display of one’s status in society We can easily see how in India consumers of different political ideologies make different purchase decisions when it comes to foods, clothing etc. In our country colours like blue, saffron, green are not just colours but also signifies a community, symbolises projection of power and diversity. Liberalization had a huge impact on India’s culture, Consumers moved from SWADESHI to international, like ‘striving to make world class goods’, from isolation to the exposure with the rest of the world, From obeying the authority to freedom of choice. Consumers were earlier sceptical about technology but now they are slowly embracing it. A revolutionary change came when we moved away from ‘Garibi Hatao’ to Aiming for the highest factor (Take India to the 21st century – Rajiv Gandhi’s signature tune) Thus, with the current state of the nation being highly vulnerable, consumers demand and their choices will definitely change with time. So in order to predict and prepare for the future consumer behaviour is always observed in a microscopic way by the research experts.

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