Maslow’s Theory and Indian Retail

by Deepak Sharma on Friday, March 18, 2011

Interesting parallel drawn between Maslow’s Theory and maturing Indian Retail industry.

Indian retail evolution is mirroring Maslow's Theory of need hierarchy

Maslow's theory maintains that a person does not feel a higher need until the needs of the current level have been satisfied. This is exactly what happened in the Indian retail scenario. All of us were so used to our local dingy kirana [Local Mom and Pop stores] shops that we didn't feel a higher need, until Indians started travelling abroad and saw the high end retail environment. That, accompanied by our liberalising economy, was the harbinger of modern trade in the Indian retail industry.

Once the lower need of safety & security was met, particularly for the urban consumer, just like Maslow's theory says, the consumer in India was ready to move to the next need. That of "Love & Belonging". To fulfill this need, the retail trade responded quickly. There was this phase where almost every retailer had a "loyalty programme" of some sort or the other. Lifestyle, Shopper's Stop, Westside, Pantaloons, you name them and they had it.