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New Social Classification System for India

February 21 2024

The Market Research Society of India (MRSI) has launched a new Socio-Economic Classification System, ISEC, which it says is 'far more representative, stable and less volatile' than its predecessor, NCCS.

New Social Classification System for IndiaMRSI is India's national association of research professionals. NCCS is based on the ownership of consumer durables and vehicles, but has become 'less discriminatory and more volatile' due to the growth of GDP and income in the country and the resulting higher penetration of consumer durables, and ownership of vehicles.

The new ISEC looks instead at the educational attainment of the highest educated female adult and male adult; and the occupation of the household's chief earner. ISEC is 'on track' to be adopted by The Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA), client side researchers at firms such as ITC, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Marico and Dabur India, research agencies including Kantar and IPSOS, and major media agencies.

The new approach has been designed by a team including representatives from the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), Kantar's Worldpanel division and the Indian Readership Survey (IRS). Its creators say the 12-tier, open-source system works equally well for urban and rural households, is 'straightforward and quick and not intrusive to administer'.

MRSI Director General Mitali Chowhan comments: 'Socio-economic classification is the base of any targeted consumer understanding. At MRSI we recognise the need for an evolved SEC structure and ISEC is a system that is highly relevant. ISEC was developed by the industry, for the industry and unlike any previous classification system, it considers women's education as a key definer of social capital, an attribute that is highly pertinent in current day. As an industry body, we are deeply invested in our stakeholders and the launch of ISEC is in line with our commitment to help our industry grow and evolve'.

Ipsos India CEO Amit Adarkar comments: 'Socio-economic classifications are the starting point of any planning or decision-making, impacting almost all industries. Following a SEC system that is relevant, evolved and representative is hence critical. NCCS was introduced at the time when digitisation was gaining momentum and women representation in household decisions was marginal. Our country has evolved greatly since then and it is essential that we follow a SEC that is equally evolved'.

K Ramakrishnan, Managing Director South Asia for Worldpanel, adds: 'The challenges that companies are faced with these days are innumerable with the current SEC system adding to these challenges in terms of targeting and understanding behaviour. ISEC is a robust system that works well in both urban and rural India. It has more distinctiveness, a better distribution and it gives us the confidence that its structure will benefit brands and their decisions'.

Shashi Sinha, CEO of IPG Mediabrands India, says the new system provides 'a better and deeper understanding of consumer cohorts' and was 'long due'.

Web site: www.mrsi.co.in .

All articles 2006-23 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas, 2024- by Nick Thomas, unless otherwise stated.

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