FMCG businesses are taking note of the correlation between mobile data consumption slipping sales growth as some of India’s largest consumer companies have slipped to a two-year low. Indians can buy mini-data plans at the same mom and pop stores where they buy their snacks and a new wave of affordable smartphones has brought hundreds of millions of Indians online for the first time, reports the Wall Street Journal.
We are competing for the consumer’s wallet not just with beverages and other impulse categories, but also with data services on phones. – Venkatesh Kini, President of Coca-Cola India.
With low disposable income, the majority of Indians face difficulties affording monthly data plans and only get online when they have spare change. For a quick glance on Google, Vodafone Group PLC offers data plans for as little as 15 cents at a time, around the same price as a bag of crisps.
Anup Kapoor, who runs a mom and pop store says that data and voice plans make up for 70% of his daily sales.
The battle for limited space in India’s tiny storefronts is competitive. Cellular companies sponsor sings to make sure customers know that their local mom and pop shops offer more than candy. Kapoor’s shop has a big sign of Vodafone, while posters of Frito-Lay chips and Coca-Cola are smaller.
I can do without conditioner. But I can’t do anything without my phone, I can’t hear songs, surf the net or chat with friends,” says Lakshmi Kumari, domestic worker.
A version of this appeared in Wall Street Journal on August 15. Read the full version here.