Projections by The Boston Consulting Group indicate that the consumer markets of China and India will triple over the current decade, amounting to a combined $10 trillion annually by the year 2020. But how can companies participate in this once-in-a-lifetime growth opportunity? The inside track to achieving success in China and India—and, as a consequence, in the rest of the world—entails captivating, and therefore winning, the hearts and minds of the new consumers. To do so, companies need to understand and address the concept of value in these distinct markets and, more specifically, the concept of paisa vasool.
When Indian consumers experience the perfect mix of quality and value, they will often say “Paisa vasool”—loosely, “I got my money’s worth.” It is the highest praise. Around the world, consumers are budget squeezed—skeptical of merchandisers and worried about the future. Paisa vasool can become the watchword to creating greater value, offering more features for less money, and attracting consumers who become your advocate. Paisa vasool implies high quality, a complete package that delivers value for money. We first heard it used in a market on the streets of Delhi. Since then, we have seen it regularly applied in China and India. It is part of a natural frugality that characterizes many Indians and Chinese. They grew up with little and often heard stories from their parents about deprivation—and, as a result, they try to stretch their incomes as far as possible. They are also quick to complain about and discredit a merchandiser for poor value, low quality, or misrepresentation.
Indian and Chinese consumers want the complete range of product benefits packaged at a price point that sizzles with value. As Pawan Goenka, president of Mahindra & Mahindra’s automotive and farm equipment business, told us, “The Indian consumer will not be like any consumer. They want Western technologies and features and Indian cost.” Goenka knows. He was the leader of a project to build India’s first SUV for the global market—the Scorpio—a vehicle that costs half as much as its competitors and delivers a full range of features and styling. This SUV is now a key export item for Mahindra & Mahindra, sold in a number of countries.