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Thursday, March 15

The Disposable Culture

Read this write-up in Brand Equity yesterday(14Mar) on the rising disposable culture. Nothing really new...It's just that the change has been dramatic and quite rapid...

As a child in a middle class house-hold, I remember we used to preserve everything - old newspapers, Amul Spray tins, plastic milk packets, old stationery, diaries, ball-point pens, old clothes(to be exchanged for new utencils) ...

Contrast this with today when relatively expensive cellphones are upgraded in 6 months to a years time!!

1. Its clearly been a move from a 'mindset of scarcity' to a 'mindset of consumerism'

2. As Santosh said in the article, as a nation we are going through a 'I am what I have' syndrome.

3. Perhaps the change is best captured by the middle class iconic brand Bajaj Auto's tagline. It changed from - 'Value for Money for years' to 'Inspiring Confidence'!

4. In under a decade, the replacement cycle for TVs and other consumer durables has come down from 8-10 years to 4-5 years!

5. However, we haven't lost our VFM mindset completely. Rarely would an Indian throw a durable. He would most likely upgrade to a newer durable/ gadget by exchanging the old one. The mindset still is 'Iska kuch toh mil hi jayega'!

6. Of course, the disposability index will vary widely within the same family. While the youngest members would believe in the use-and-throw religion, the grand-mother would still be using Amul Spray tins for keeping the pulses even while she might have upgraded to a new camera phone:-)

7. On a personal note, my new Nokia E-50 is my 6th phone in 7 years and yet when it comes to raddi(old newspapers), I hate to give it away free:-)

Ironic then how even with a new disposable mindset and with vastly shortened durable upgrade cycles, Gillette is still facing problems with its disposable razors in India!

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