Rob Katz

How Big is India’s Base of the Pyramid Market?

BOP Pyramid s+bBusinesses interested in exploring base of the pyramid markets often ask for hard data: how many people? Where do they live? What do they spend money on? BOP pioneers CK Prahalad and Stuart Hart have done well for themselves and their ideas, as demonstrated by the success of their latest books. For the data-hungry manager, though, these books leave something to be desired–both are primarily anecdotal and make vague estimates about the size of the BOP. I have good news for managers–that’s all about to change.

The Economic Times of India, in conjunction with Indicus Analytics, today published a ?first-ever? compilation of BOP markets in India – by district, complete with size rankings and market potential ratings. At least that’s what an article in the Economic Times of India reports this morning. I’ve spent the last hour looking for the study on the Indicus Analytics web site and on the Economic Times web site, without success. (If you can find it and let me know, I will be eternally grateful).

According to the article, Indicus Analytics? study breaks down BOP markets geographically within India. In Medinipur, BOP household expenditure accounts for fully 60 percent of all household expenditure. Furthermore, most big BOP markets are either within a major city or in its vicinity. This supports big business? push to go downmarket in urban areas. Unfortunately, these data make it hard to sell firms on the benefits of going rural, where many base of the pyramid communities live and work.

India is just one case. Latin America–another region where stats-based BOP analysis has been done–is quite different. There is an overriding message: the base of the pyramid is too big to ignore, and companies want to know exactly how best to engage it.