Can You Guess Where This Market Is?


Let’s watch this video, first.

At first glance, it will look like any market in rural India. But a close look will reveal tall apartment buildings. This is where the market was located. It’s active for half-a-day, twice a week.

The market is located just opposite to a property developed by ATS in Sector 109, Gurgaon. It is approximately 5 kms from the Delhi airport, as the crow flies.

These are some of my observations:

Approximately 100-125 people were in the market when the video was taken (around 6.30 PM).

  • The total number of people who will visit this market from past one year is around 700-800 people, spending on average Rs 75-100.
  • There are between 40-50 vendors selling vegetables, fruits, sweets, toys, clothes, dry fruits, utensils, meat (usually chicken and fish), fruit juice, ice cream, food and everyday use items like comb, hair brush etc.,
  • Majority of people buy from vegetable vendors. They seem like anchor clients in the market.
  • Majority of customers are neighbouring villages (which were there before the place was urbanised) and construction workers. In another post, we will discuss about purchase patterns of construction workers and what they reveal.
  • Rain or storm, the markets function with great regularity.
  • The quality of vegetables are far superior compared to what Big Basket supplies, and prices are much cheaper.
  • The vendors move as a pack, with their own transport vehicles.
  • The market opens post-lunch, and ends by around 9.30 PM. Hardly seen them functioning beyond 10 PM.
  • Most customers walk to the market, hardly anyone come by vehicles.

What you won’t see here:

Near absence of any branded goods. It’s a challenge to find a single brand.

Think of this: This is a market in one of the most urbanised cities (Gurgaon) and located very close to Delhi. Yet, brands have no presence in the market – which is catering to the people in the bottom of the pyramid. A back of the envelope calculation shows the market makes a turnover of Rs 80,000 – Rs 100,000 in a day. A small economy of 800 consumers, 40 vendors and turnover of Rs80,000.

If I am a policy maker, I will look at ways to promote these markets which creates employment.

And, if you’re an executive looking to expand your brand’s presence, this is a market waiting to be studied and understood, so that next range of products targetting the bottom of the pyramid can be launched.

For more reading on ‘bottom of the pyramid’, read C K Prahlad’s essays on this topic.

(How India Lives has the most granular data about India. Name any village in a rural area or a ward in an urban location, we have 550 metrics ranging from demographics to asset ownership to how they live. Contact us, if you think we can help you.)

Read More

News in numbers, Apr 14, 2016: $250 mn to beat cancer, e-platform for farm produce trading…

1.20 million barrels per day (bpd)

What is it? The expected increase in global demand for oil in 2016, according to 13-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Why is it important? This is 500,000 bpd lesser than the previous estimate, raising concerns of crude prices going down again. Oil prices hit a 12-year low of $27 in January this year. A producers’ meet to freeze output at January levels to support prices, which is scheduled for this Sunday in Doha, is keenly awaited though Iran has refused to participate in it.

Tell me more: On February 16, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia and Qatar said they would freeze oil production at January levels, if other producers agreed to join in on the plan. This resulted in increase in oil prices by 30% in the subsequent weeks.

$250 million

What is it? Internet billionaire Sean Parker’s funding to set up a non-profit institute to beat cancer.

Why is it important? It brings together over 300 scientists at 40 labs in six institutions to work on a new area of cancer research – immunotherapy – which uses one’s immune system to fight cancer. This seeks to draw in on the advantages of scientists and researchers working together rather than in silos, though this also has the risks of suppressing diverse opinions to think alike.

Tell me more: The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy would pursue immune therapy patents on behalf of the six institutions and license them, taking a 10-15% cut of the revenue generated by the patents to be put back into the institute. There were 8.2 million cancer-related deaths and around 14 million new cases in 2012, according to the World Health Organization.


What is it? The number of local markets to be connected on an e-platform called National Agriculture Market launching today.

Why is it important? The e-platform aims to provide farmers with wider choices of selling their produce at better prices, a move that is likely to help the government fulfill its promise of doubling farm incomes by 2022. Currently, farmers sell their produce to traders at the nearest market. This comes at a time when farmers are reeling under two successive droughts.

Tell me more: The 21 markets are spread across 8 states. The Indian government plans to bring 585 such markets on to the platform by March 2018. However, the government may need to tackle some state laws/rules that may be a hindrance to this national e-marketing platform.

64 lakh litres

What is it? The quantity of water the Bombay High Court has asked the BCCI to supply to drought-hit villages in Maharashtra.

Why is it important? This direction comes along with the order to BCCI to shift all 13 IPL matches, including the finals, to be played in the state after April 30. BCCI had promised it would use treated sewage water for the IPL matches in Mumbai and Pune and the teams from these cities would contribute Rs 5 crore each towards drought relief measures in the state.

Tell me more: The BCCI said though it respects the court’s orders, it is difficult to re-organise the tournament mid-way. The BCCI Secretary said it was unfair to target the league and questioned if the swimming pools in five-star hotels have been shut or if people in the state have stopped watering their gardens.


What is it? The number of new fund offers (NFOs) for which mutual fund houses have filed draft papers with the market regulator so far this year.

Why is it important? Indicates that the mutual fund industry would retain or outpace last year’s growth (which saw 191 draft papers of NFOs). In 2015-16, 43 lakh new equity accounts were opened taking the total to 3.6 crore, the fastest addition since the 2008 global financial crisis. However, it is still less than the total of 4.1 crore accounts at the time of the crisis.

Tell me more: Reflecting the increasing demand for mutual fund products from retail investors in what is perceived to be a largely risk-averse market, the investors’ base hit a record high of 4.76 crore at the end of March.

Read More