Rural consumer behaviour: Meaning

27/03/2021 0 By indiafreenotes

Consumer behaviour 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. It refers to the actions of the consumers in the marketplace and the underlying motives for those actions.

Marketers expect that by understanding what causes the consumers to buy particular goods and services, they will be able to determine which products are needed in the marketplace, which are obsolete, and how best to present the goods to the consumers.

Consumer behaviour is the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and all the activities associated with the purchase, use and disposal of goods and services, and how the consumer’s emotions, attitudes and preferences affect buying behaviour. Consumer behaviour emerged in the 1940-50s as a distinct sub-discipline of marketing, but has become an interdisciplinary social science that blends elements from psychology, sociology, social anthropology, anthropology, ethnography, marketing and economics (especially behavioural economics).

The study of consumer behaviour formally investigates individual qualities such as demographics, personality lifestyles, and behavioural variables (such as usage rates, usage occasion, loyalty, brand advocacy, and willingness to provide referrals), in an attempt to understand people’s wants and consumption patterns. Also investigated are the influences on the consumer, from social groups such as family, friends, sports, and reference groups, to society in general (brand-influencers, opinion leaders).

Rural consumers go to their nearest cities when they have to buy products like tractors, televisions, motorcycles, etc. For most villages, the nearest cities can be as far as 50 kms away. Most of these cities are district towns. Rural consumers go to the ‘local market’ which is normally around 5-10 km. from their villages to buy the daily household requirements like sugar, tea, vegetable oil, etc.

There is an alternative to rural retailing. Door-to-door selling or some version of it can be employed. Retailers at the local market can employ door-to-door salespeople. These salespeople can move on bicycles and should agree to accept payment in grains. Door-to-door selling is very effective in overcoming consumers’ reluctance to buy. Consumers keep postponing going to a retail store because they do not want to spend money but when a door-to-door salesperson arrives, they are likely to succumb to his offerings.

Consumers of rural markets are spread throughout the country side with low-income levels, lack of education where income comes in seasonal basis during harvesting time. They are also scared to try out new or innovative products.

  • For high tech products village buyer finds in difficult to understand its usage, and buys only after peers who have seen the product in action buy the same
  • Because of low income, price becomes extremely important and rural demand is highly price sensitive
  • The consumer market in this case is Rural India. About 70% of India’s population lives in rural areas.
  • There are more than 600,000 villages in the country as against about 300 cities and 4600 towns.
  • Consumers in this huge segment have displayed vast differences in their purchase decisions and the product use.
  • Villagers react differently to different products, colours, sizes, etc. in different parts of India.

Thus, utmost care in terms of understanding consumer psyche needs to be taken while marketing products to rural India. Thus, it is important to study the thought process that goes into making a purchase decision, so that marketers can reach this huge untapped segment.


  1. Socio-economic environment of the consumer
  2. Cultural environment
  3. Geographic location
  4. Education/literacy level
  5. Occupation
  6. Exposure to urban lifestyles
  7. Exposure to media and enlarged media reach.
  8. The points of purchase of products.
  9. The way the consumer uses the products
  10. Involvement of others in the purchase.
  11. Marketers effort to reach out the rural markets