1Bridge survey decodes the aspirations of rural consumers

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 Over 70% of India’s population lives in villages or rural areas. In rural India, high internet and mobile penetration, combined with reverse migration sparked by COVID-19, have created a tremendous opportunity for consumer brands.

1Bridge – India’s leading village commerce network – conducted a study to understand consumer aspirations and consumption trends in rural India. A total of 1000+ consumers were surveyed in 100 villages across Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Telangana. The survey found that smartphones and mobile accessories, home appliances and kitchen appliances were the preferred purchase choices in rural India. When asked about their future plans for buying consumer durables, the most likely purchases were as follows:

  • 50% said they would purchase home appliances (TVs, Fans/Coolers, Refrigerators, etc.)

  • 37% of respondents said electronic gadgets (Mobile Phones, Tablets)

  • 25% of respondents are likely to purchase kitchen appliances

  • The average value of purchase for electronic gadgets is Rs. 6,000; Rs. 9,000 for home appliances and Rs. 2,500 for kitchen appliances.

The research also sought to find out barriers and challenges that consumers faced while making online purchases. Detailed Product Information, Affordable Pricing, and dependable After Sales Services were the top expectations of brands from rural India. A deeper analysis unveiled that:

  • Products above Rs. 5,000 are usually purchased in-person, where customers want to touch and feel them. Providing this experience becomes a critical component of the sales process

  • While many of the villages have access to online shopping, less than 10% have ever tried making online purchases

  • Low preferences for online purchases were attributed to lack of information, distrust (or fear of fraud), and delay in delivery.

  • 61% of customers prefer to receive after-sales services at their doorstep

Rural consumers also face several challenges of accessibility while trying to purchase these products:

  • In more than 65% of the cases, products are only available at stores at the Taluka/District level, making them highly inconvenient to access.

  • The average distance for accessing consumer durables is 10.2 km. In some cases, rural folk travel upto 45 km, making travel costs exceptionally expensive in addition to the regular product price.

  • A very limited selection of brands and choices are available at the few stores present.

  • The average distance travelled for repairs and after-sales services is 11 kilometers.

The survey distils the key takeaways based on trends observed:

  • Trust among village entrepreneurs and word-of-mouth awareness remain the most powerful forces for driving demand and purchase.

  • Rural consumers desire a touch-and-feel experience to be fully convinced of their purchase.

  • There is a high preference for doorstep delivery & after-sales services.

Madan Padaki, Founder & CEO, 1Bridge said:

“The consumption patterns in rural areas are dramatically changing to increasingly resemble that of urban India. We believe the Covid-19 cloud had a silver lining – a renewed focus on rural with a thrust on distributed supply chains and the importance of the local village entrepreneurs as the engine of growth. Through this survey, we hope to highlight the gap of availability, access, and convenience between rural and urban India. Through our platform, we aim to bring together brands across the spectrum to rural India by ensuring better consumer experience & delivery to India’s villages.”

He further added, “Rural customers increasingly aspire to acquire branded goods. The number of brands available in smaller cities and towns in India is relatively low in brick-and-mortar shops, which is perhaps the most appealing feature of an assisted commerce platforms for these customers.”

In India, specifically in the Southern states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, AP/Telangana, TN & Odisha, 1Bridge operates in 10,000+ villages across 77 districts in these states through a network of 10,000+ trusted, local entrepreneurs known as 1Bridge Advisors, who serve as advocates for digital and financial inclusion, assisted commerce & last-mile delivery. To strengthen its presence and expand its reach, 1Bridge has partnered with the Karnataka State Rural Livelihood Promotion Society to train & onboard over 6000 women entrepreneurs as 1Bridge Advisors as well. Over the last few years, 1Bridge has worked with over 50+ brands across mobiles/electronics, home appliances, kitchen appliances, 2-wheelers, 4-wheelers, tractors, etc. in taking their products to rural India.

About 1 Bridge

1Bridge is a village commerce network present in 10,000+ villages of 77 districts across 6 states through a 10,000+ network of 1Bridge Advisor(1BAs) who are our local trusted entrepreneurs. By enabling their integration into the digital world through our tech platform, building social capital in their village communities, and creating opportunities to generate additional incomes consistently, we make it compelling for the 1BAs to stay & grow as part of the 1Bridge network.

1Bridge currently has physical distribution hubs in 51 Districts (across Karnataka, AP, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Maharashtra) – each with around 1000-4000 ft space, fully staffed with Station Managers/ Team Leads, rented vehicles for delivery and all digital facilities. These hubs manage the delivery network in that district. All transactions/tasks are delivered by our 1BAs on our 1Bridge Advisor App – which integrates delivery, financial transactions, and order aggregation. All financial transactions with our 1BA – payments, collections are completely cashless- operated through closed wallets & UPI transfers.

1Bridge was declared as the Best Startup at National Startup Awards 2021 in Logistics Services category.

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