IIM Udaipur’s Consumer Culture Lab Shares the Country’s First-Ever Digital Research on India’s Rural & Regional Heartlands

19th February 2023, Udaipur: The Consumer Culture Lab of IIM Udaipur, the only such Lab of its kind in any educational institution in India, has launched the annual report “Rangbhoomi, The Digital Heartlands of India”. Done in collaboration with Stripe Partners, UK, the project is authored by Prof. Tanvi Gupta, Associate Professor, and Co-
Chair of Consumer Culture Lab, and Adishri Guha, Senior Research Executive of Consumer Culture Lab.

This report talked about how Indian small towns are in a state of flux between aspiration and rootedness and also conceptualizes the state of liminality or being in-between, using a map of three ideological “lands” (Bhoomi in Hindi) that small town consumers inhabit.

The Research Team explored beyond metropolitan India and went to the rural and regional heartlands that are often unexplored. Through ethnographic research in nine locations, across nine states, with fifteen social media creators, a research team explored the journeys of small-town content creators.

Researchers found that people use platforms such as Instagram and YouTube to create original content, build followings, have a social impact, and make money. The detailed Report can be downloaded from club. time.in

Commenting on this report, Prof. Ashok Bannerjee, Director of IIM Udaipur said, “Rural India is driving internet adoption. It grew from 299 million internet users in 2020 to 351 million in 2021. Along with internet adoption comes a concomitant increase in the use of social media and e-commerce platforms for opinion formation and buying decisions. This report does an excellent job of capturing the rise of digital consumers in India and their growing ease in using digital platforms to create content to influence decision-making. The major findings of the ‘Digital Heartlands of India’ will surely have key takeaways equally for the industries that have rural consumers as target customers and policymakers.”

Rajesh Nanarpuzha, Associate Professor at IIMU and Co-Chair of Consumer Culture Lab said, “In line with the stated mission of IIMU’s Consumer Culture Lab to understand the Indian consumer better and bring the muted voices of India’s consumptions-scape into the mainstream, Rangbhoomi- The Digital Heartlands project is our significant first step. The implications of this study will be compelling for both industry and academia.”

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