Why does the middle class matter?

'More importantly, while the middle class forms just 11.4% in 2007-08 of the total Indian households its share of total income is nearly one-fourth and saves more than 55% of its income. The growing clout of the middle class becomes even more apparent when one looks at the ownership patterns of household goods. Nearly 49% of all cars are owned by the middle class, compared to just 7% by the rich. Similarly, 53% of all airconditioners are owned by middle class homes. Nearly 46% of all credit cards are to be found in middle class households.

What’s more, the Indian middle class is far from being a homogenous group. While more than half the urban middle class households are salary/wage earners, the biggest proportion of rural households are self-employed in the agricultural sector. Patterns of product ownership also show a divergence when it comes to rural and urban middle class households.

While only 24% of rural middle class homes own a car, more than 40% do so in urban India. Televisions too are to be found in 90% of all urban middle class homes compared to 62% in rural middle class homes. Though this is an opportunity for marketers, it’s clear that addressing the middle class with a one-size-fits-all mindset is unlikely to work.'

- Rajesh Shukla, 'Why does the middle class matter?'


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