Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lucky Wandering

Today was so. much. fun.

We had an industry visit this morning and then were given the rest of the afternoon off to ourselves. A few of us decided to wander around the city together to check out the area where the attacks on the Taj Palace happened a couple of years ago. That hotel was crazy nice. HUGE. Security in and around the hotel was nuts. We were attempting to take pictures (as you can see below) but security stopped us before we could get too many.  I'll just say it was one of the nicest hotels I have ever been in.

After we looked around for a bit, we made out way over to a street that was filled with shops/vendors. The neighborhood we were walking around in had a restaurant called Leopold Cafe that is known around the city as the Westerner's hang out (get ready Mom, Dad, and Christine...I'm taking you guys there). It was right on the corner of the street by all of the shops so it was pretty packed. I highly recommend it for anyone traveling to Mumbai. Super fun.

Right as we were finishing up lunch and getting ready to leave, two men sitting behind us started to strike up a conversation with us and ask us all sorts of questions.  When I say all sorts I mean anything from where are you from, to what's your relationship status, to do you want another beer (is that even a question?). They were in their sixties (?) and SO friendly. The conversation lasted for about an hour or so. One of the men told another girl that they were Brahmins (top of the caste system in India), however when we met up with the rest of the group for dinner we were told that's probably not the case(whoops!).  That's the thing here - the consumer culture of India has grown so much that the labeling of individuals has become much harder since so many more people are gradually acquiring more money and consequently spending more. I didn't doubt the guy at all, but either way they were willing to spend money on people they didn't know which says something.

A question was brought up in one of our readings where the author attempted to gage how much market potential India really has. It seemed pretty clear from our run in with those two strangers and the conversation that followed, that India has enormous potential. Think about it this way. The population of India is 1.2 BILLION.  The population of the United States is around 300 MILLION.  In numbers alone, India has 4 times as many consumers as the United States ready and willing to buy often regardless of their income. Those numbers are pretty astounding, huh!? Simply walking down the street you can see that India is a market with raging potential.  Now it's just a matter of figuring out how to harness that potential.

It's always nice when you can go into a resturant and strike up a conversation with locals (even if they are not who they say they are) and get a unique perspective on a seemingly massive untapped market that has only begun to be discovered.

Time for me to hit the sack and dream of Mumbai market shopping;) Don't worry, I'll do a blog post on that too.


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