1. 1. Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)
Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) satisfies the elemental and day-to-day household needs other than grocery, ranging from packaged foodstuff, dairy products, cooking oil, bread, butter, cereals, beverages like tea & coffee, pharmaceuticals, confectionery, biscuits, glassware, stationery items, watches, toiletries, detergents, shampoos, skin care products, cosmetics, toothpaste, dishwashing liquid, shaving cream, razor, batteries, shoe polish, energy drinks, soft drinks, clothing, furniture, and household accessories to electronic goods like cell phones, laptops, computers, digital cameras, etc. that is usually categorized as Fast Moving Consumer Electronics or FMCEs. Today we notice this shift towards branded FMCGs in rural areas as a result of Socio-Economic & Political changes in the last 5 years. This has made rural areas more viable markets even compared to urban areas. The Socio-Economic and Political changes contributed to a great extent for changes in the lifestyles of countryside people who patronized branded FMCG products. The Government policies to promote education in rural areas enhanced their brand awareness due to the presence of at least one higher education pursuing student in their family or neighboring family.
The different Government policies are also being helpful for rural people contributed to enhancing people’s income followed by a change in their lifestyles resulted in patronizing the branded products. According to the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), about 70 percent of the Indian population living in villages, India has perhaps the largest potential rural market in the world. It has as many as 47,000 hits (congregation markets), compared to 35,000 supermarkets in the US. And of the total FMCGs demand in India, nearly 53 percent comes from the rural market. At present, the Indian FMCG sector is worth Rs. 1300 billion and expected to be around a whopping value of Rs. 4000 to Rs. 6000 billion by 2020. Henceforth FMCG and its closest companion Retail sector, both are likely to create most of the jobs in India in the coming years primarily in functions like marketing, sales, advertising, supply chain, logistics, human resources, product packaging, and development, finance, operations, general management, supervising and so on.
1. 2. Brand Awareness and Customer Preferences
Brand awareness is the degree of familiarity among consumers about the life and availability of the product. It is measured as the ratio of the niche market that has former knowledge of the brand. Brand awareness includes both brand recognition as well as brand recall. Brand recognition is the ability of the customer to recognize prior knowledge of a brand when they are asked questions about that brand or when they are shown that specific brand, While the brand recall is the potential of the customer to recover a brand from his memory when given the product class/category, needs satisfied by that category or buying scenario as a signal. In other words, it refers that consumers should correctly recover the brand from the memory when given a clue or he can recall the specific brand when the product category is mentioned. It is generally easier to recognize a brand rather than recall it from the memory. Consumer preferences are defined as the subjective (individual) tastes, as measured by the utility, of various bundles of goods. They permit the consumer to rank these bundles of goods according to the levels of utility they give the consumer. Note that preferences are independent of income and prices. The ability to purchase goods does not determine a consumer’s likes or dislikes. This is used primarily to mean an option that has the greatest anticipated value among a number of options. Preference and acceptance can in certain circumstances mean the same thing but it is useful to keep the distinction in mind with preference tending to indicate choices among neutral or more valued options with acceptance indicating a willingness to tolerate the status quo or some less 435 Meenakshi Sharma et al / VSRD International Journal of Business & Management Research Vol. 2 (8), 2012 desirable option.
2. REVIEW OF LITERATURE
The two important measure of brand awareness is brand recognition and recall. Kapferer, in 1988 says “top of mind awareness is critical as it captures the ‘consideration set’ in a given purchase situation. A study on recall of pictorial advertisements as compared to non-pictorial advertisements indicate how much more effective they are rural consumers as compared to urban consumers. In some studies, brand preference has been equated with brand loyalty. In other studies, it has been evaluated as a precursor to brand loyalty. Ben-Akiva et al. (1999) define preferences as “comparative judgments between entities. ” Additional reasons (other than promotions) why consumers may purchase other brands despite a stated brand preference include a desire to try and learn more about different brands in the category; changing needs or situations; variety-seeking; and changes in the available alternatives due to new products or improvements to existing products.
Alba and Hutchison (1987) propose that experts are more likely to search for new information because (a) expertise increases awareness of the existence of potentially acquirable information and (b) familiarity reduces the cost of information acquisition. Schmidt and Spreng (1996) further postulate that knowledge increases the perceived ability to search and therefore should decrease the perceived costs of search. Greater knowledge has been shown to be positively related to increased involvement with a category. Dunn et al. (1978) viewed advertising from its functional perspectives; Morden (1991) is of the opinion that advertising is used to establish a basic awareness of the product. Those views of Etzel et al. (1997) coincide with the simple but all-embracing definitions of Davies (1998) and Arens (1996). Aaker (2000) regarded brand awareness as a remarkably durable and sustainable asset. Yee and Young (2001), aimed to create awareness of high-fat content of pies, studied consumer and producer awareness about nutrition labeling on packaging. Chen (2001) expressed a different thought on brand awareness that it was a necessary asset but not sufficient for building strong brand equity. Beverland (2001) analyzed the level of brand awareness within the New Zealand market for zespri kiwi fruit.
3. OBJECTIVES OF THE RESEARCH PAPER
The objective of the study is to understand the buying perception of the rural consumer towards FMCG Products. For this, the objectives of the Research Work are as under. To study the perception of the rural consumer towards FMCG products To examine the brand preference and awareness of rural consumers towards FMCG products To study the attributes of brand preference. To study the impact of media on brand awareness & Preferences.
4. HYPOTHESIS OF THE STUDY
There is a significant difference between male and female attitudes towards brand There is a significant difference among different age groups’ attitudes towards the brand. There is a significant difference among different Academic Qualification attitudes towards brand There is a significant difference among different income group attitudes towards the brand. There is a significant difference between male and female attitudes towards brand awareness through Media.
5. SCOPE AND NEED FOR THE STUDY FMCG
Products are substantially used to enhance and protect the health and physical appearance and also the dignity of the people among their counterparts. The spending on FMCG products especially in the rural areas is showing an increasing tendency in the last 5 years. This is due to increase in income levels, fascination towards urban culture, good connectivity to nearby towns & cities, improvement in sanitary conditions, beauty awareness among teenagers of rural areas emulating their counterparts in the urban areas led to the increased usage of FMCG products particularly beauty & health care products in this region. With this backdrop, brand awareness in rural areas with reference to FMCG products is thought of. The study is confined only to the Garhwal Region of Uttarakhand State. It is believed that the findings in this region are fairly representative of the other parts of the State and the lifestyle & other parameters are not much different from what exists in the area of survey.
6. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The methodology of the study is based on the primary as well as secondary data. The study depends mainly on the primary data collected through a well-framed and structured questionnaire to elicit the well-considered opinions of the respondents. The study is confined to 10 villages of 3 districts of the Garhwal Region. Garhwal Region of Uttarakhand State is basically a rural oriented region and about 70 percent of the population living in villages. Garhwal Region comprises seven districts namely Chamoli, Dehradun, Haridwar, Pauri (Pauri Garhwal), Rudraprayag, Tehri (Tehri Garhwal), and Uttarkashi. Due to paucity of time and financial constraints, 10 villages of 3 districts namely Tehri Garhwal, Pauri Garhwal & Uttarkashi are chosen for survey adapting simple random sampling technique. In all 100 respondents are chosen from different age groups classifying them on the basis of literacy with the help of structured & unstructured interviews & discussions with these respondents the information for this survey is gathered. The information gathered through the questionnaires will be analyzed with the help of SPSS 18 software by using the Tabular Presentation, t-test, and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA).
7. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Three limitations have been identified in this study. First, the research work covers only 10 villages of 3 districts only. Second, the respondents don’t want to disclose their personal information and their perception of the organization to the researchers. Third, the sample size does not ensure representative and conclusive findings and finally, a more robust analysis is needed to reach a strong conclusion.