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    International Consumer Product Testing Across Cultures and Countries: Republic of India

    Published: May 2007

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    The Republic of India is located in South Asia with a coastline of over seven thousand kilometres. India shares its borders with Pakistan, the People's Republic of China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan. Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Indonesia are the adjacent island nations. India is the second most populous country in the world, with a population of more than one billion, and is the seventh largest country by geographical area. Indian economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

    India has a single time zone 5 hours 30 minutes ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Daylight saving time is not observed in India. Climate varies from tropical monsoon in the south to temperate in the north. India has three major seasons, viz., summer, winter, and monsoon. The winter season (November to February) is pleasant throughout the country. Regions of the northern part of India remain moderately to extremely cold during winters. The summer season (April to June) is hot in most parts of the country.

    Economically, India often seems like two separate countries: “rural India,” supported by primitive agriculture and “urban India,” one of the most heavily industrialized areas in the world, with an increasingly middle-class population. Agriculture makes up about 25 % of the gross domestic product (GDP) and employs almost 70 % of the population. Vast quantities of rice are grown wherever the land is level and water plentiful; other crops are wheat, pulses, sugar cane, sorghum, and corn. Cotton, tobacco, oilseeds, and jute are the principal nonfood crops. India has emerged to be the world leader in all aspects of tea production, consumption and export, and accounts for 31% of global production. There are large tea plantations in Assam, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, which provide employment to over one million people. Coffee is grown in the southern states such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. India accounts for about 4.5 % of world coffee production.

    There is no one “typical” Indian consumer (or view); it is understood that any inferences will represent a range of customs, habits, and underlying implicit values for each culture.

    The educated urban consumer in India may have some similarities to other consumers; however, the differences far outnumber similarities both in urban and rural dwellers. There are exceptions to every rule so it is difficult to generalize. India is a republic of 28 states and 7 union territories. It is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world and there are literally hundreds of dialects spoken.

    Most products of western origins will be marketed to the more affluent and educated Indian consumer, as they are the only ones likely to be able to buy such products.

    Indian women make most of the “consumer goods” purchase decisions; their schedules are apt to be extremely busy so timelines may be an issue. In addition, social contacts and polite conversation may delay them in reaching an appointment.

    The Indian infrastructure is well developed and has a highly diversified industrial base. Shipments, however, may be delayed due to traffic and customs clearance. The Indian culture and infrastructure-and its effect on research-are discussed in this manual.

    Author Information:

    Stephen, Samuel N.
    Simplot Australia Pty. Ltd., Mentone, VIC

    Keane, Patricia A.
    TIAX LLC, Cambridge, MA

    Committee/Subcommittee: E18.08

    DOI: 10.1520/MNL11107M