Unsatiated demand for consumer durables

By agencies   |   Thursday, 26 May 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Despite the boom in consumer products witnessed in the last decade, a huge unsatiated demand exists in India for consumer durables. The National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) said in its latest report on `Household Amenities and Other Characteristics'.

By the end of 2002, only 4.4 percent of the urban households owned a car, while 66 percent of such households had a TV set with 41 percent of them having a cable connection. Also, only 28 percent of the urban households possessed a refrigerator, while just a little over 15 percent owned an air conditioner. Some 23 percent of such households possessed a two-wheeler.

These figures are much better than the 1993 statistics, which has been taken as a base year in some cases. In that year, only 49 percent of urban households possessed a TV; 15 percent owned a refrigerator and 8 percent had air conditioners.

The NSSO survey on `Housing Condition in India' had identified 58.5 million households located in urban areas in 2002. The report on `Household Amenities and Other Characteristics' was the second and final one under the survey. The first report dealt with housing stock and constructions in the country and was released in May 2004.

On the rural side, the second report found that in 2002, about 26 percent of rural households possessed a TV with 10 percent of them having a cable connection. Also, 6.7 percent of all rural households had a two-wheeler and 0.6 percent had a car. About 1.7 percent of such households owned a tractor. In 1993, about 13 percent of the rural households possessed a television set.

As per the survey, there were 148.1 million households in rural areas in 2002.

The findings also reveal an interesting behavior pattern in urban areas in terms of possessions of miscellaneous durables as the income level increases. The order of preference-cum-affordability (from the most to the least affordable) that emerges shows that the first preference is for fans, followed by sewing machine, refrigerator, air conditioners, washing machine, room heaters.

The NSSO survey had been conducted during July-December 2002 on a sample of 97,882 households spread over 4,769 villages and 3,538 urban blocks of the country.

Interestingly, in rural areas, the audio-visual medium of television appeared to substitute the radio/tape player as the level of living improved, despite the fact that radio/tape player had become cheaper than 10 years ago.

The report also highlighted that personal computer (PC) has not become a favored item for household possession. Only 0.6 percent of rural households possessed a PC and that the Internet facility was practically non-existent in such households.

Only 1.4 percent of urban households possessed a PC with Internet facility and another 1.7 percent possessed a PC without an Internet facility.

Only 5.3 percent of rural households had (one or more) fixed telephones and 0.9 percent had mobile phones. Among urban households, about 24 percent possessed fixed telephones and 3.3 percent had mobile phones.

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