Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

Consumer Culture Lab Of IIM-U Launches The Digital Heartland Of India Report

February 20, 2023
Consumer Culture Lab

The Consumer Culture Lab of IIM Udaipur has launched the annual report “Rangbhoomi, The Digital Heartlands of India.” Done in collaboration with Stripe Partners, UK, the project is authored by Prof. Tanvi Gupta, Associate Professor and Co-Chair of Consumer Culture Lab, and Adishri Guha, Senior Research Executive of Consumer Culture Lab.

This report talks about how Indian small towns are in a state of flux between aspiration and rootedness and also conceptualises the state of liminality or being in-between, using a map of three ideological lands (Bhoomi in Hindi) that small town consumers inhabit.

The research team explored beyond metropolitan India and went to the rural and regional heartlands that are often unexplored. Through ethnographic research in nine locations, across nine states, with fifteen social media creators, a research team explored the journeys of small-town content creators.

Researchers found that people use platforms such as Instagram and YouTube to create original content, build followings, have a social impact, and make money.

Commenting on this report, Prof. Ashok Bannerjee, Director of IIM Udaipursaid, “Rural India is driving internet adoption. It grew from 299 million internet users in 2020 to 351 million in 2021. Along with internet adoption comes a concomitant increase in the use of social media and e-commerce platforms for opinion formation and buying decisions. This report does an excellent job of capturing the rise of digital consumers in India and their growing ease in using digital platforms to create content to influence decision-making. The major findings of the ‘Digital Heartlands of India’ will surely have key takeaways equally for the industries that have rural consumers as target customers and policymakers.”

Rajesh Nanarpuzha, Associate Professor at IIMU and Co-Chair of Consumer Culture Lab said, “In line with the stated mission of IIMU’s Consumer Culture Lab to understand the Indian consumer better and bring the muted voices of India’s consumptions-scape into the mainstream, Rangbhoomi- The Digital Heartlands project is our significant first step. The implications of this study will be compelling for both industry and academia.”

The Consumer Culture Lab at the Indian Institute of Management in Udaipur was established to help local and global companies navigate India’s nuances.  Using a multidisciplinary approach, drawing from disciplines like anthropology, sociology and psychology, the Lab seeks to initiate a conversation around themes of consumer culture and qualitative methodologies in India. It is the only such Lab in any educational Institute in India.

The detailed report can be downloaded from cclab.iimu.in