The Hindi heartland of India has a similarity with Tamil Nadu. When households in both markets buy FMCG products, they do so in smaller SKUs. While the reason for it up North is primarily affordability, in Tamil Nadu, the smaller packs are driven by a desire to try premium products, said K Ramakrishnan, Managing Director, Kantar Worldpanel, delivering the theme presentation at MediaNews4u.com ‘Straight Talk‘ in Chennai on 18 November 2022.
Against the all-India average of 189 gms for FMCG SKUs, the South consumer bought packs of 168 gms while in Tamil Nadu s/he picked up packs of 132 gms, revealed the speaker. The corresponding figures on the number of SKUs bought were 713, 751 and 926.
Premium haircare and styling brand Tresemme launched 10-rupee sachets first in Tamil Nadu for a reason, he underlined.
For every kilogram of FMCG product, the South spends Rs.11 more than the all-India average and the Tamil Nadu consumer spends Rs.22 more.
While 41pc of South India and 48pc of Tamil Nadu live in urban centres, the corresponding all-India figure is 29pc, according to the Kantar head.
Online for mobiles, not FMCG. Why?
Ramakrishnan’s talk on ‘Contours of the South Consumer’ aligned with the event theme of ‘Re-engineering to remain relevant to the omni-channel consumer’.
While the South consumer’s buying pattern of FMCG products online stays true to the skew towards smaller packs and higher number of packs, there is a lag behind the all-India figure.
In terms of penetration of online channels for FMCG purchases, against an all-India figure of 9pc, the South figure was 5pc. But in terms of buying mobile handsets online and buying via mobile, the South figures are higher than all-India numbers.
Ramakrishnan noted that this could perhaps be explained by the higher age of decision makers on FMCG products in the South – with 58pc being above 45 years of age in the South against 49pc across the country.
Affinity for fragrances, fairness, ‘natural’
There is a noted affinity for fragrances down South and this reflects in sales of products ranging from deodorants to talcum powder to even fabric conditioners.
More down South (119) believed – even now – that someone who is fair is more likely to succeed, against a rest of India index of 100. The corresponding number for Tamil Nadu was 132, according to Kantar’s findings.
Sales data also points to higher affinity for FMCG products of natural origin among South consumers, stated Ramakrishnan.
The percentage of FMCG products of natural origin sold in the rest of India was 5.6, while that in South India was 9.9 and in Tamil Nadu, 10.8 percent of FMCG products sold were of natural origin, revealed the speaker.
Citing Medimix, Chandrika, Nyle, Hamam and Santoor, Ramakrishnan said, “Most of these brands have at least half their volumes from the South, which has a very strong affinity to ‘natural’.”
Categories like hygiene are priority down South, as reflected by higher consumption of sanitary napkins and toilet cleaners, he noted.
The consumer communication could be more textured down South, noted the speaker, based on analysis of thousands of ads. As against an explicit, product-centric narrative that was more likely to work in the Hindi heartland, textured storytelling could work in the South and East, he contended.
“Storytelling seems to work in this market,” he observed.