MUMBAI: Distinguished from other demographics in their lifestyle, such as DINKs (double income, no kids), and defining the trend of premiumisation, a new class of wealthy, single urbanites (WSUs) has emerged.
WSUs are 28-42-year-olds, forming 1 per cent of India’s 1.3 billion people, which makes them 13-million strong. Going by their standards of living and greater disposable incomes — earning upwards of Rs 50,000 per month — marketers call them “super consumers”.
Life choices of “super consumers” include staying away from their families, but, at the same time, keeping their kitchens well stocked and using high-tech gadgets and appliances, which has made WSUs a discerning consumer base for marketers.
A study on WSUs by Nielsen, shared exclusively with TOI, finds that single-person households have increased by about 35 per cent between 2007 and 2017, mainly in urban areas. “This is primarily because of millennials migrating to bigger cities for jobs. As they do not have familial responsibilities, it is up to their discretion to spend their disposable income. Due to their risk-taking attitude and willingness to try unconventional things, they will be the first movers in any category which interests them,” said Arjun Urs of Nielsen India. Of the WSUs, 25 per cent have air purifiers in their households, a category that is fairly new in India.
The study, which carved out WSUs from 440 millennials, found that the new consumer segment spends a significant amount of their income on food and drinks (see graphic). They save 18-22 per cent of their monthly incomes, indicating that they take financial planning very seriously. They spend on a variety of clothes for every occasion. Approximately 40 per cent of Indian and party wear clothes are washed separately from regular clothes.
What’s more, WSUs work for long hours and place career and money matters as topmost priorities. Marriage appears to take a back seat among these single urbanites. But breaking away from earlier myths associated with single-working people living independently, Nielsen found that WSUs like to cook, socialise and find the time for sporting activities. They’re also health conscious. Of WSUs, 75 per cent don’t mind having a salad — even at parties held indoors — and 70 per cent have either a gym or sports club membership.
Although WSUs have a higher disposable income, they are poor on time. Few tech-appliances and gadgets to which WSUs are early adopters, include virtual assistants and devices like smart slow cookers.
They’re big on ready-to-eat products and packaged foods as well. ITC divisional CEO (foods division) Hemant Malik said, “As a result of their hectic schedules, these urbanites are vulnerable to several lifestyle-related complications, yet they never compromise on health, neither do they let go of their share of indulgence, fun and luxury.”
Marketers have designed products that cater to such aspirations and at the same time help companies premiumise their offerings and move up on the value sales chart. Given the need for personalisation for mostly such affluent consumers, Shoppers Stop introduced ‘Personal Shopper’ service across its stores, and the same reflects in the ticket size having tripled of those availing this service in-store.
Shoppers Stop MD & CEO Rajiv Suri said, “We’ve noticed single-urban wealthy consumers are frequent shoppers with higher disposable incomes. In contrast to families, their buying behaviour is convenience-driven and is coupled with high brand sensitivity, affinity and a disposition towards premium apparels, beauty and accessories, given the higher discretionary income, no dependents and an asset free life with the emergence of platforms for transport to homes.”
Shoppers Stop digs into its vast data and analyses it to offer differentiated buying experiences. “This has helped us to identify and display customised premium brands, while offering curated fashion relevant for a store in Juhu versus Chembur or Vashi in Mumbai,” said Suri.