Women Consumers in Rural India: Who They Really Are—and How to Win Their Business

Rural marketing strategies for companies to win over women consumers in rural India.


Women living in rural India have for long been ignored by companies seeking to capitalize on growth opportunities presented by India’s hinterlands.

These consumers today represent a substantial market for brands, and ignoring them could cause companies to miss out on a significant opportunity. Why?

The buying preferences of India’s female rural consumers are changing fast, and their decision-making power and independence is increasing. These women are eager to purchase branded, high-quality products, use mobile devices to stay in touch with family and friends, and even research brands. They are no longer willing to accept inferior products simply because such offerings cost less than higher-quality ones.

This report draws on extensive conversations with a wide range of female consumers in India’s hinterlands, macro-trend analysis and discussions with business leaders across an array of industries to illuminate the aspirations, purchasing behavior and “pain points” of female rural consumers in India and suggests an approach companies can adopt to win over these consumers.


Key Findings

Getting to Know India’s Rural Women Consumers

Our study has confirmed that women consumers are undergoing the three fundamental life shifts that we highlighted in our earlier report. Rural women are:

  • Independent and aspirational. They are driven by a deep desire to provide their children with a better future through education and healthcare.

  • Networked. Women in rural India are better connected in both the physical and digital sense.

  • Discerning. Women in India’s rural regions have become “street-smart” about common retailer schemes aimed at winning their business.

Uncovering New Realities about India’s Female Rural Consumers

We conducted in-depth interviews with women from villages and rural towns across 10 Indian states, asking them questions about their consumption-related beliefs and behaviors.

What we heard helped us identify many significant and hitherto poorly understood truths about these consumers.

  • 84 percent of rural women travel outside their own village or town to a nearby city or district headquarters to make purchases and bring the products home.

  • 37 percent of the rural women make purchases on their own, and this number goes up to 40 percent for working rural women.

  • 69 percent of all the rural women we interviewed buy branded products.

  • 60 percent of the working rural women and 67 percent of the nonworking rural women buy branded products for their trustworthiness and reliability.

  • 76 percent of rural women make impulse purchases in their own village or in a nearby village.

  • 92 percent of rural women say “service features” would most enable companies to serve them more effectively.


To win and keep rural female consumers in India throughout their entire purchase journey, companies will need to excel on four fronts:

  • Offer reliable products

  • Emphasize value for money

  • Build networks founded on trust

  • Engage with key retail partners

The “purchase journey” of female consumers in India.

Ready to drive new growth by
effectively and profitably
serving women in rural India?

About the Research

The research comprised three individual studies across key stakeholder groups: rural consumers, business leaders and channel partners.

The studies were designed to answer the following questions:

  • How has the behavior of rural consumers in India, including women, changed in the past few years, and how have such changes affected their purchase decisions?

  • How aware are business leaders of these changes? If they are very aware, how are they responding?

  • Which companies are best capturing the opportunities presented by these changes, and what can other companies learn from them?

Read earlier reports:


Raghuram Devarakonda

Raghuram Devarakonda
Managing director – Accenture Strategy
Advanced Customer Strategy

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Vikram M. Rao

Vikram M. Rao
Senior manager – Accenture Strategy
Advanced Customer Strategy

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