I came to Australia a few weeks back as a student, settled in as most other students, in a hostel and then went shopping in Box Hill Central as did the rest of us. The Google maps guided me to the town, and I checked out a few shops comparing products and prices. I thought they were priced outrageously to back home in India. Bread that cost Rs.25(0.50 AUD) and 12 eggs cost Rs 60 (1.18 AUD)in India . Similarly 100ml of Shampoo bottle that would cost Rs.100 (2 AUD) . That is when missed the Sachets.
Step into any Indian Mom and Pop store, and you would have a rope strung behind the counter across the room, and hanging on this wire would be sachets of all colours and sizes selling everything from shampoos, pickles, potato chips, oil, tea, coffee, detergents and you name it. They would be of brands both known and unknown meant for single or two usages. Sachets gave me access to great products at very cheap prices. It didn’t lock up a lot of my money in large bottles or packs. It allowed me to experiment. I could try out new brands advertised and If I didn’t like it I would chuck it away. It was convenient and allowed me to easily carry them around. They were ubiquitous, taken for granted and sorely missed by me here in Australia.
I decided to delve a bit deeper into the ‘sachet revolution’ and find out what made them tick in India? A little research unveiled some fascinating details. Sachets were first introduced in India some sixty years ago by tea companies Brooke Bond and Lipton as `paise pack`. It consists of a paper envelope containing tea leaves enough for one or two cups of tea, priced at one paise ( one AUD = 5000 Indian paise today ) and targeted mainly at daily labourers. In more recent times, the Indian marketers have been targeting the mainly urban middle class and upper middle class segments of the pyramid using a market-skimming strategy (Dubey and Patel 2004). However brand clutter and saturation in this segment has led to marketers to target two new segments ie. the Rural India and the bottom of the urban pyramid.
Rural India consists of 70% of the population of the country living in some 650000 villages and has seen some unique changes in the recent years. There has been a sea change in rural incomes and aspirations. They are exposed to the same television advertisements targeted at the urban class and now they want to try them out.
“In recent days, rural India has been witnessing a sea change in all aspects, needless to say the increase of standard of living and catching up with new life styles. Thanks to private satellite channels, they bring the world to courtyards of many village houses. This created a tremendous modification in the behavior of rural consumers” Sakkthivel A.M & BishnuPriya M
However, Rural incomes in India can be lumpy as they are agriculture dependent and subject to vagaries of monsoons. Rural customers thus have their unique spending patterns with most of the small farmers and daily wage earners not buying consumables beyond a week supply. This is where sachets comes to its own. Their low unit pricing gives brands a unique ability to meet the aspirations of a huge untapped market. Marketers have the opportunity to create a new consuming class out of a poor one. Some international brands which understood the Indian rural demand, income and created products around it are Pepsico who have launched their lays brand in unit price of 10 cents, Unilevers Pepsodent sachets worth 8 cents and Coke with small PET bottles of Cola priced at 20 cents
Sachet marketing has been extended beyond products into services to provide aspirational Indians high quality services at low costs. No frill bank accounts to promote financial inclusion e.g Citi banks Suvidha account, low cost airlines like Indigo, Go Air which allowed many their first flying experience, Microfinance institutions like Bandhan which provide small value loans to people from lower income groups and has helped millions rise up out of poverty have been transformational for sections in India
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1.Dubey, J & Patel, R.P. 2004, ‘Small wonders of the Indian market’, Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Vol.4, no.2, pp. 145-151.
2.Sakkthivel , A.M & Bishnupriya ,M 2005, ‘Effectiveness of Sachets in Modifying Rural Consumers’ Buying Behavior and their Consumption Pattern-A Researcher’s View’ Indian Journal of Marketing Available at
http://www.i-scholar.in/index.php/ijom/article/view/34168 (Accessed 30 July 2016)
3.Mridanish, J 2014, ‘ Issues & Perspective of Marketing strategy for delivering value to the rural customer’ Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Management Review, Vol.3, no.1