How do you reach the untapped potential of rural Indians?

There is no denying that India’s digital journey is one of exuberance. It has the world’s second largest internet population at 1.6 billion mobile users, which accounts for 78% of the total population. For most Indians, the Internet enabled smartphone would be their first computer, as well as their first private TV screen, their first portable music player and their first camera – as this rapid adoption of mobile has uprooted Indian consumer behaviour drastically.

This rapid digital adoption is driving a “mobile-first” ecosystem and has already disrupted the way people function on a daily basis, fueled further by Covid-19. This struck me when a friend asked me to guide her in purchasing a couple of dresses for everyday wear from Facebook Marketplace – only then I realised this is a new phenomena.

When I think about it, I too make 90% of my purchases on my mobile - be it for groceries, clothing, food or even daily payments. Undoubtedly, mobile has disrupted the Indian consumer culture and behaviour pattern immensely.

Mobile usage has soared across the entire country despite India having a large and highly segmented audience. It has become a social enabler yet keeping it very personal. Rural audiences are coming to the forefront of social media through Instagram Reels and are the most untapped market in India today. According to the Economic Times, rural Indians spend the same percentage of their budget as urban Indians on mobile phones. As a result of increased digital inclusion there are currently more than 300 government apps, which are facilitating essential citizen services, including information dissemination, direct benefit transfers, education and healthcare.

Having said the above, a successful digital approach to advertising and marketing in India has taken a 360. A heavy mobile-first approach should be employed, along with a disruptive strategy. Localisation to each state should also be considered as the majority of the consumers are made up of Tier 2 and 3 citizens, where English is their second language. Lastly, having a smooth user journey and clean UI/UX for apps and websites is highly critical to ensure minimal drop off and successful conversion. As India is a country that goes online primarily through mobile, we need to keep these factors in mind before developing a go-to market strategy.

If you are looking for digital marketing services for your business at any stage, we are here to help. Learn how Kingscom can partner with you to optimise your advertising strategies – contact us here.


Sanjana Mitra is the performance manager at Kingscom, managing all performance marketing activities and digital strategy. She has extensive experience across multiple industries such as luxury, FMCG, automotive, technology, real estate and consumer brands. Her experience extends across SEA, China, Australia and India for a number of years.

Kingscom Worldwide (Singapore)