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The go-getting Buntys of India

November 14, 2007

You might have heard about the Bunty syndrome as it has appeared in various news reports but this was something I had missed. I stumbled upon it while researching yesterday’s post on small towns.

The Bunty Syndrome is all about a study conducted by Euro RSCG across 12 Tier-II cities among the youth aged between 15-30. The study covered about 2,400 consumers in 12 small towns and it talks about the “new Indian consumers” from semi-urban and rural areas – the Bunty’s. They long for a better, modern lifestyle, work hard, earn more and spend their money, although not always lavishly. You might say that their urban cousins might do the same, but the survey reveals that the drive to succeed is greater amongst the Buntys.

Euro RSCG Worldwide’s Global CEO David Jones has said:

There is a sense of urgency, excitement and confidence as they (Buntys) race ahead. Marketers and their agencies can not afford to ignore them – they are the Future Market not just for India but of the world…

Did you know for example that 80 per cent of Mercedes ‘S’ class sold in India sell in Ludhiana? Well, Ludhiana is an industrial hub and companies like Hero, Trident, Nahar, Malwa, Atlas and Vardhman are present here.

The Bunty’s of India are in a hurry to own big cars and big houses, go on foreign trips and want an exciting career…and they are going after their dreams more aggressively than their metropolitan brethren! What they might want may differ (depending on cultural preferences), but the key word is want. And because of this they are driving trends. Suman Srivastava, CEO, Euro RSCG India has been quoted in Business Standard as saying:

Contrary to common belief that trends begin in big cities and trickle down to smaller towns, we are seeing that some trends are bubbling up from the tier II cities… youngsters in the tier-II cities are more aggressive, with an appetite for risk, coupled with the belief “no pain, no gain.”

These youngsters, who believe that “greed is good” want to consume goods and they want their needs to be satisfied “almost immediately.” As a result, the Buntys are quicker to latch on to newer, better brands and consumables. They might just want to emulate their metropolitan counterparts at home…but to my mind they will have their eye on global trends as we live in a global market.

This study has just underlined what marketers already know…that smaller towns and rural India is where the action is. But what is interesting is that small town people are thought to be the go-getters. That they are equally talented no one ever doubted but now we know that they have a greater drive to succeed…

HR executives interviewed in a Times Ascent article confirmed this. They said they like to hire small town people because of their higher motivation levels and tendency to work very hard.

And yeah, the name Bunty Syndrome has been inspired by the film Bunty Aur Babli. The movie was about the dreams of people from smaller towns who aspire to make it big….

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2007 11:26 am

    Hi Nita,

    The media has been abuzz with stories about the emergence of small-town India in the recent past – be it in terms of industrialization, or inceased number of self-employed professionals; even contestants in reality shows! Your timely and relevant post only adds to the buzz 🙂

    In my opinion, this trend should be viewed as an encouraging one – its immense good news. It will surely contribute to the booming economy; and make it more meaningful since the benefits are shared!

    However, we also need to tread with caution – with more and more people aspiring for and affording effluent western lifestyles, one should not forget about environmental impact!

    On a slightly unrelated note; I can’t help but observer how all these articles and surveys classify Goa as a “small town”. I fail to see the logic behind this classification.

    1) GOA is a state – it may be the smallest in India; but its still a state.
    2) At 3000-odd sq. km. its too large to be called a “small town”
    3) The population of about 10-12 lakhs (a very rough guesstimate) probably does make the cut to be called a “small town”; BUT
    4) Population density (roughly 400 per sq km) is still too sparse for Goa to be clubbed along with cities.

  2. November 14, 2007 5:20 pm


    I have sent this post around to some of my friends in consulting and banking. The latter are of course keen on this ‘consumer’ while a friend in consulting wrote this back:

    “We recently nicknamed someone on our team “Bunty” – he fits this description almost exactly (we’ll pat ourselves on the back for being so prescient!)”

    This friend is Bengali and works in a large global strategy firm and he is referring to a new hire from India. 🙂

  3. November 14, 2007 6:14 pm

    Kiran, the point you made about environmental issues is very valid. I think we are going to improve our garbage collection very soon…and create more places for landfills. The amount of paper and plastic that is being used today is nauseating!
    About that point on small towns, the way researchers label towns and cities is something that surprises me too…I think they simply take a metro as a big city and work downwards..

    Shefaly, thanks. This is a coincidence! I guess there are more Buntys and Bablis than we can ever imagine…and I guess some of them are my readers!

  4. axinia permalink
    November 15, 2007 3:26 am

    I just sent your post to one young dynamic man I know in Austria , a man called Bunty 🙂 Another coincidence?

    I am a bit surprised that this trend is coming up presently in India. Actually, this phenomenon is well spread around the word. That must also be a reason why big cities actually become big cities 🙂

    The phenomenon is quite normal, however your point “These youngsters, who believe that “greed is good” want to consume goods and they want their needs to be satisfied “almost immediately.”” is frightening.
    I do hope India would be able to withstand that western consumer-madness…

  5. November 15, 2007 7:25 am


    Yes, this small town aggressiveness is a world-wide trend and shows that India has well and truly joined the global gang! And I doubt that India can resist or withstand the consumer madness. It’s well on it’s way. 🙂 I guess by the time the majority of our people get caught in it’s clutches, the west will have seen the downside…and some like you are already seeing it!

  6. axinia permalink
    November 15, 2007 8:09 pm

    nice point, Nita 🙂

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