Followers are mostly rural women who are supported by others
or in unstable and casual occupations. They are dependent on others and do not have a say in financial decisions, and use financial tools infrequently. While Followers have high levels of self-esteem, they have little agency to take action and seek out conversations with their family as they have little trust in formal institutions.
up to tertiary
have access to land
Who are they?
“I don’t know about banking. My husband is here,
he takes care of payments.”
Followers are relatively low-SES and poorly educated. 71% are women, with 54% being over 35 years old. The majority of Followers are not the primary decision makers in the household and are unlikely to take financial decisions themselves.
Of all the segments, Followers are the least likely to take financial decisions themselves with only 26% of Followers reporting it is their responsibility in their household. Instead, 40% of Followers report that their spouse takes charge of the household finances. This may further explain why Followers do not have strong expense management skills, given their reliance on their spouse, family and others in the community (with 27% reporting that “Others” take decision over expenses.).
What do they want?
Followers are predominantly home-makers who are dependent on their husbands. They have little interest in banks and formal finance, but are motivated when they are presented with products and services that would support their children, particularly around education.
How do they manage their finances?
““I do not want the pressure of finances on my head.”
Followers’ overall financial health is lower than the average for India. It is not surprising that 69% of Followers report income volatility given their dependence and reliance on others for income. At the same time, Followers have low involvement in formal financial services. A large proportion of Followers have never stepped into a bank, and rely on their husband for all financial matters. One of the reasons for this low involvement is that Followers fear being perceived as “meddling” in financial issues as they see it is a typically male role.
Only 17% of Followers set aside money or save at least once every three months at home, which is lower than the India average. This is in line with their reliance on others for financial matters, and a lack of regular savings and managing of their daily expenses.
Followers are middling to low users of virtually all forms of technology. They have below-average smartphone ownership, both in terms of personally owning a smartphone and through shared/common property. They have slightly above average use of digital technologies, with 5% of Followers using digital technologies for entertainment. However, they do tend to use digital technologies to surf the internet or to read the news.
Followers personally own feature phones less frequently than average. When they do use their phones, the majority receive calls, which is reflective of their stay at home status, where the phone becomes the primary way of connecting with others in the community.
How do they think?
"I am a typical housewife doing household work."
Followers have a low sense of agency. Despite a high level of self-esteem, Followers feel little agency to change their circumstances, as demonstrated by their high external locus of control with 65% of Followers viewing external factors and agents as having more control over determining their future, rather than their own capacity. This is unsurprising given that they have had very little agency in their lives until now.
Followers are less likely to be deliberate, goal-oriented savers, with only 39% scoring middle to the highest level on deliberateness and dependability. This is intuitive in light of Followers’ lack of involvement in finances, as they are less likely to have been exposed to situations and circumstances where they have had the opportunity to cultivate their planning, dependability and ability to uphold commitments.
Given their stay-at-home status, Followers heavily trust and use information discussed within their familial network in comparison to other sources, with 54% placing most trust and reliance on family compared to the national average of 50%. They are more likely to stay up to date through word of mouth than use technology, with 19% relying on friends, close to the national average.
Followers are not likely to be key sources information in their community with 36% of Followers reporting low influence in the community compared to the national average of 29%. This low influence is reflective of Followers’ stay at home status and social isolation.
Only 23% of Followers report a high reliance on having others (e.g. family, friends) with them to review financial information, compared to the national average of 33%, but this is likely reflective of their dependent status and their preference to be less financially involved than the heads of the household.
How might we incentivize women to save
and use formal financial products
when they have little or no interest?
How might we create products and services
that equip women with the confidence to be able to
realize their aspirations for their children’s future?
“I don’t know about banking.
My husband is here, he takes care of payments.”
Sangeetha is a young mother-of-two who lives with her family in her father-in-law’s ancestral home. Sangeetha is dependent on her husband for all decisions. Her husband has recently encouraged her to start a small tailoring business from the home to keep her less idle and to contribute to the family’s savings. Sangeetha has had limited education as she was married at 15-years old. Since then, she has been dependent on her husband for all decisions. Her husband plays a pivotal role in her life and she expresses how lucky she is to rely on him. Sangeetha’s key motivation in life is to be a good mother and advance her children’s education.
Financial Services such as Loans should be Customized to a Household rather than Individual
Sangeetha is entirely dependent on her husband. While her husband encourages her to gain financial independence, Sangeetha insists on validating all new schemes and products with her husband first, and seeks his approval. Formal financial services should tailor their value propositions towards the household and/or be channelled through the husband as there will be multiple processes of validation within the family.
Sangeetha would benefit from a loan to support investment in her tailoring business but needs to feel comfortable that her husband will validate and support it.
Leverage Ease and Convenience for those who are Disinterested in Finances
Sangeetha is highly disinterested in finances, despite her husband’s encouragement. She would be more likely to be engaged if potential schemes and products were within easy reach, convenient (e.g. door-to-door service), using channels that are already established as trustworthy, e.g. ASHA agents, post office agents, but with a gender lens in place (i.e. consumers would be less likely to trust male agent when husband is not at home).
Sangeetha needs a financial product that is part of her existing routine, and does not require her invest in learning new behaviours, such as leaving the house and visiting a bank for the first time.