Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Marketing To Youth : Youth Power or Myth

Economic Times (25/05/09) has a very interesting and enlightening article on Indian youth. Written by Mr Rajesh Shukla, the article throws light into some important data regarding the Indian youth market.

Read the article here : Harnessing Indian Youth Power

Some of the important statistics are reproduced below :

The total youth population (13-34) is 390 million which is 38% of the total population and is expected to rise to 440 million by 2020.

70% of the youth reside in over 600,000 villages.
72% of youth are literate.
41% of these literate youth fall in the age group (13-19 years) , 23% fall in 20-24 and 36% are in 25-34 years.

59% of literate youth are male. 7% are graduates and 12% have passed higher secondary.

The article also presents a clear view about the definition of youth. According to Rajesh Shukla , youth refers to a category rather than a group. The difference between category and group is that category has diverse or heterogeneous elements unlike groups which are similar in its composition. Youth relates to an age group that is transiting between childhood and adulthod and may comprise of a conglomeration of sub-groups with differing social roles, expectations and aspirations.

UN defines youth as those in the age group of 15-24 years. UNICEF defines youth in the age bracket of 15-30 years. Indian National Youth Policy considers all individuals in the agegroup of 13-35 years as youth population. NYP divides the youth population into two groups - 13-19 years as adolescent and 20-35 as Youth.

As far as marketers are concerned, the sheer size of this market is a huge opportunity. But no one so far has been able to rightly understand the Indian Youth's psyche.

As the article points out, the youth market cannot be considered as a group because it is not homogeneous. So does it mean that marketers cannot segment this market on the bases of age alone ? . Segmentation is based on the assumption that the members display homogeneity . So if the members of a specific age group display heterogeneous characteristics, it no longer becomes a segment.
The implication is that marketers should find out variables other than age to segment the Indian youth market.So when age becomes irrelevant, does it mean that the so called Youth Market is a myth just like the much hyped Indian MiddleClass ?
Most of the marketers tend to use Lifestyle as a variable to define segments with in the Youth market. How ever lifestyle segmentation is tricky and highly subjective in nature.

This probably explain the reason why Indian marketers are still finding it difficult to find a formula to tap this huge lucrative market.

What do you think ?