Exploring India’s Spending Mosaic

By axio

In a land as diverse as India, spending habits are as kaleidoscopic as its culture. Whether you're strolling through the bustling markets of Mumbai or navigating the serene streets of a small town in the Himalayas, the approach to spending might be the same but, thanks to our diverse society, what we buy is drastically different.  

From tech enthusiasts in Bangalore to art lovers in Jaipur, every demographic brings its own flavor to the spending mix. Location, interests, and peculiar preferences all play a role in shaping India's spending personality.

The Data Dive

Let's don our data goggles and plunge into the fascinating spending statistics:

Retail Therapy Reigns Supreme

Indians, irrespective of their income levels or geographic locations, seem to have a universal love for retail therapy. On average, 25% of an individual's monthly income goes in shopping trips and random buys. Whether it's the allure of the latest fashion trends or the charm of acquiring new possessions, retail and shopping top the spending charts. With e-commerce the way to go, it’s now increasingly easy to spend at every whim and fancy.

Metro vs. Non-metro Showdown

Surprisingly, non-metro residents outshine their metro counterparts in retail and shopping expenses with a 35% share going towards shopping. Could it be the influence of larger family sizes, or perhaps, a deeper appreciation for the joy of shopping in a less crowded environment? The spending plot thickens.

Festive Fervor and More

Now how could we claim to talk about how India spends and not include the festive season(s) of the country. 

In 2023, Indians were expected to break their own festive spending records with a predicted 25x more shopping than the previous year. Also, it's not just about crackers and sweets anymore; We have learnt the financial essence of the festivities and evolved into spending on things which last slightly longer. The top three festive spending categories include home remodeling, apparel, and the ever-essential mobile phones.

Almost half of the population was predicted to splash out more than Rs 10,000 on festive celebrations – a significant 2.5 times increase from 2022. The spirit of celebration, it seems, has a contagious spending vibe.

Indian Vs. The World

The spending spectrum in India spans from the poorest to the wealthiest, each with their unique preferences. The less privileged prioritize spending on food, while the affluent indulge in the luxury of housing and transportation.

However, in the grand scheme of global spending, Indians allocate a lion's share to food and housing. Almost 31% of Indian households spend 4% more on food and beverages when compared to other BRICS nations. 

Retail and shopping take center stage in India's spending orchestra, accounting for over 25% of all monthly expenses. Groceries, daily needs, services, utilities, and food and beverages follow suit, creating a harmonious spending melody across various income brackets.

It's evident that beneath the diverse demographics and varied interests, there's a shared love for the act of spending itself. It's not just about the what, but the how, when, and where – a movement of rupees that vibrantly paints the canvas of India's spending personality. 

This personality, however, is one that is evolving more rapidly than ever before. Indians now have more money spent on leisure like eating out, holidays, clothing etc. than they did 10 years ago. The growing economy and the boost in average incomes might be part of this change, but the advent of digital modes of payment have really boosted this. Credit, an age-old concept in the west, has only just come into the spotlight in India due to the numerous credit providing facilities available today. Banks, neo-banks, and startups have made providing credit much more accessible and alluring to the present generation. 

While some are still vary of the credit system, a lot of Indians have adopted it readily, creating diverse markets for banking and credit.

Knowing Your Spending Persona

However India might be spending, on a personal front, understanding your own spending habits is like deciphering a treasure map to financial well-being. It's not just about tracking expenses; it's about recognizing the patterns that shape your financial identity. Let's take a playful dive into six distinct personas we’ve identified according to transaction data. Find out which persona you resonate with the most.

1. Fitness Ninja

The fitness industry in India is on the up as people get more health conscious and spend on things that keep them healthy. According to a report, the health and fitness industry is predicted to grow by almost 12% from 2022 to 2027, giving rise to a very distinct persona.

Meet the Fitness Ninja, a living testament to the adage "health is wealth." The Ninja’s priorities are as toned as their physique. Gym memberships, organic groceries, and the latest fitness gadgets – every expense is a step towards a healthier lifestyle. While their spending may seem gym-expensive, it's an investment in a future of well-being.

2. Roam-antic

Everyone loves to roam. In fact, India is only warming up to the idea of holidaying. It is predicted that the Indian tourism industry is set to grow a staggering 173% by 2030, when compared to 2019. This means there’s another unique persona growing. 

The Roam-antic is on a perpetual quest for adventure, chasing sunsets and collecting passport stamps. You can sometimes spot this person by the number of luggage tags they’ve forgotten to take off their backpacks. The Roam-antic’s expenses read like an itinerary – flights, accommodations, and those spontaneous experiences that become lifelong memories. While their bank balance may waver, the Roam-antic is enriched with experiences money can't buy.

3. Fun Funatic

We all love our Netflix binges and concerts, and this is evident in the way India has almost doubled its per capita spending on Media and Entertainment from 19 USD in 2016 to 36 USD in 2022. This can be partially attributed to a certain sect that always has a fun time on their to-do list.

Enter the Fun Funatic, who’s priorities lie in being entertained, having laughs and finding joy. From concerts to comedy shows, this spender believes in living life to the fullest. Entertainment subscriptions, event tickets, and maybe a few quirky impulse buys – every rupee is an investment in happiness. For them, the real value is found in the memories created through spontaneous adventures - and why not?

4. InveStar

The InveStar is the financial visionary in the room. While others see risk, they see opportunities for growth. Stock portfolios, investment seminars, and financial consultations are their preferred topics of conversation and tools to secure life. Though their spending may appear calculated, it's a testament to their belief in turning every rupee into a financial seedling destined to bloom.

5. Munch Maniac

Do you eat to live or eat to live? Going by reports of how India is learning to spend on food, seems like a lot of us now eat to live. Food delivery, one of the major causes of the recent spike, is steadily growing. The average revenue per user (ARPU) for food delivery is around 16,000 INR. That’s quite a lot, given the size of our population. 

We all know someone who’s always ready for a bite or is already having a bite. Say hello to the Munch Maniac, whose love affair with food knows no bounds. This is no ordinary, self-proclaimed foodie. This persona is why someone coined the term “Live to eat”. Dining out, food festivals, and gourmet grocery hauls – every meal is a celebration. While their budget might lean towards the gastronomical, for them, the investment is in savoring life's flavors. It's not just about sustenance; it's about indulgence.

6. Shoperazzi

Confessions of a Shopaholic was based on this persona. Maybe. The Shoperazzi’s shopping sprees turn everyday life into a runway. Fashion hauls, trendy accessories, and the latest tech gadgets fill their shopping cart. While their closet might be full, each purchase is an expression of personal style. For the Shoperazzi, the investment lies in curating a lifestyle that's as chic as it is satisfying.


Recognizing your spending persona isn't about fitting into a financial mold; it's about understanding the unique rhythm of your financial dance.

Whether you're a Fitness Ninja sculpting your health or a Roam-antic collecting memories, embracing your spending persona is the first step towards financial empowerment. So, which spender are you? Find out in REWIND 2023.