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The Economics of Leisure Consciousness

Indians have a third option, leisure, and they consider it an essential component of the healthy lifestyle, and the traditional status-quo of the Indian household has been disrupted

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The social fabric of India is at the centre of a transition where people are recalibrating their approach towards their time and investments. Due to three dominant trends - a proclivity towards nuclear families, purchasing power of the millennials, and the high penetration levels of the internet, Indians today are taking a breather to focus and spend on their own leisure.

The past decade was the era of practicality. An individual primary objective was to make ends meet while simultaneously balancing their family responsibilities. Today, Indians have a third option, leisure, and they consider it an essential component of the healthy lifestyle, and the traditional status-quo of the Indian household has been disrupted.

First, a new trend towards nuclear families is rapidly complementing the traditional joint family system. According to a report by the United Nations the average size of an Indian household is 4.8 members and nearly three quarters (74%) of Indian households contain just two generations. The tendency to live in smaller clusters PAN India has allowed couples and their children to lead more flexible lives with the ability to allocate time dedicated to their own leisure. This trend is accompanied by another significant development - ‘millennial mindset’.

Secondly, the young Indian citizens have been in the age of relative abundance. Millennials may have the ability to buy Rs 16 lakh crore worth of goods and services online by 2020, with an estimated total spending power of Rs 22 lakh crore. This is in contrast to the previous generation who had to save for every commodity they purchased for their own satisfaction. Today, millennial have a relative advantage, they are liberated from the stringent work/family axis and have found a way to prioritise their own leisure. This emergence of ‘Leisure Consciousness’ is evident not only in metro cities but across India.   

Consumers are conscious of the importance of leisure on their wellbeing and are ready to make room in their budget for it. According to Crisil, between fiscals 2015 and 2018 credit comprising personal, small and medium enterprise (SME), and credit card loans clocked a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27% or almost four times growth in bank credit.

Whether it is travelling to Northern Europe, Malaysia, or a weekend getaway in Lonavala, millennials are also making use of easy and fast loans. Personal finance for travel now account for between 12% and 20% of the total loan portfolio of lenders. With this facility, millennials can now think of visiting more expensive destinations, than what they initially planned for. Personal loan for travel also allows millennials with flexible EMI repayment options, enabling them to check into luxury hotels or even extend their vacations.

Millennials have changed the face of the rental industry in India.  They apparently pay a whopping USD 92,600 on rent by the time they turn 30, despite earning more than their previous generations. Renting makes trendier and desirable products available to millennials, which they will probably can only own after the age of 45.

Lastly, the growing internet penetration empowering every consumer with a community that supports the belief in the development of the ‘whole-self’ is another driver of Leisure Consciousness. In India, there will be 840 million total Internet users (60% of the population) by 2022. Already, the number of internet-enabled smartphones crossed 300 million with 294 million Facebook users, 34.4 million Twitter users, and 71 million Instagram users. This is another testament to the importance of Leisure Consciousness of an Indian citizen.

The economic story of India is rapidly being defined by this Leisure Consciousness. The rising quality of life directly impacts its core economic structure; therefore any progress in the lives of Indian citizens inevitably leads to national progress.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Gaurav Chopra

The author is Founder & CEO, IndiaLends

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