Psychographics of the Pakistani Consumer aged 25-35: Marriage and Beyond

Psychographics of pakistani consumer

Here’s the second part of the article on Pyschographics of Pakistani consumer in the age bracket 25-35. The nuptial knots are tied and now the real show starts.

  1. The proverbial honeymoon period is roughly around three months for the new husband. Within these three months he would be engrossed in ‘maternal bliss’ so much so that he won’t make it to any get-together with his male buddies unless you explicitly mention it’s a treat for him. After this blissful period ends, he would actually start coming up with excuses for a get-together, going to the extent of inviting the clan over for a game of cards, when she’s not around, of course, probably visiting her folks. For the wife, this period may last longer.


  1. He still indulges in his ‘old habits’ unbeknownst to her while she has gone to her ‘Maeka’. Whether it’s just the momentum from his youth or is there an underlying reason for this, that has to be probed deeper.


  1. There’s a correlation between the career of the wife and her inclination to indulge herself in a job. The MBA wife is much more likely to continue her pre-marital job whereas the engineer or doctor wife is more likely to sit at home and be the typical housewife. However, exceptions abound. The freelancer wife is very rare, at least in these traditional professions. The fashion designer wife is the most likely to continue her day-job. So is the journalist wife who if not pursuing the day job at least continues to contribute as a freelancer to various publications.


  1. The wife has a strong affinity for lawn exhibitions, which she visits religiously while the husband not so keen on these events has to tag along. In fact, it’s not only a window shopping expedition but an actual shopping spree. Whether this is spurred by the hordes of women indulging in buying at the exhibition (herd mentality) or the ambience of the location (in most of the cases the exhibitions are held at an upscale hotel mostly Marriott) is not known. It is worth mentioning that there’s no discount or introductory price at the exhibition to induce the frantic buying that is witnessed at these lawn exhibitions, so there probably is a correlation between the location and the behavior.


  1. Another very distinct pattern is the offspring phenomenon. The working wife and husband may delay the arrival of the stock, but for the rest of the bunch (working husband and dedicated housewife), it’s a race against time to conceive a child in record time before the maamies and chachies raise cries of impotency. Or at least that’s what seems to be the line of thinking.


  1. However, the dominant partner in this critical decision is the wife. While the rookie husband may be in favor of having some fun time before the added responsibility of an additional family member, it’s the female who wants to get ‘started’ right away, probably because the brunt of the criticism if the couple doesn’t conceive soon enough is borne by the female in the Pakistani society. This in turn is driven by the widely accepted false notion that impotency is a female syndrome. So her fear of this is so great that at least on this occasion she becomes the dominant partner so much so that while the male has arranged all the contraceptives in accordance with his ‘wait’ decision, he gets dissuaded not to use them at the ‘last minute’ by her.


  1. But what after the first child? This is where it gets interesting. After heaving a sigh of relief that they can reproduce for sure, the young couple refrains from having another kid for ages. At least that’s what has been observed over the five-year period. Many who married five years ago are still stuck at the first kid.


  1. Just a couple of generations ago, the trend was to go for kids one after the another. That’s not the case now. One of the reasons probably is the wife wants to shed off baby fat before embarking on another pregnancy. In contrast to the days of yore where the young wife was bulky with three kids in tow after just a few years, now you see a slim and smart wife with just one kid in as much the same time.


  1. The secondary reason is of course, money. The young couple wants the best for their child, even before the child is born. And that includes the best gynecologist and the maternity clinic. The place of choice is Agha Khan Hospital in spite of its exorbitant rates. When asked why, the usual response is that it offers the best nursing you can get in Pakistan, and that it ensures the young mother before and after the event is taken care of in the best way. However, the maternity charges do not affect the young couple financially because the man is most probably employed at a major company, local or MNC, which covers all the maternity charges.


  1. But from there on, it’s an unending battle. They get their first born all the branded stuff from diapers to nutritional supplement. Then comes the education and it’s an even steeper uphill task from there.


  1. One other cardinal rule the couples religiously follow is the celebration of the first birthday of the newborn. For some inexplicable reason, it has to be a grand affair akin to their wedding celebration, and literally everyone’s invited – from the distant relatives to the distant friends. It can happen anywhere depending upon the financial position of the young parents. From hotel ballrooms, shadi halls to seaside huts, you name it. The only common trait is that it’s extravagant.


  1. Like many other traits, it doesn’t make much sense, because the poor kid is not even aware of what’s happening. The rational thing to do would be to save that money and spend it when the child is a few years old and can truly enjoy his or her occasion. By that time he or she would have a few friends as well. But at age one, it’s just to show off to the world.


  1. Majority of the young couples’ first child is a girl. And since they don’t go for the second shot anytime soon, their world is going to be rotating around a female child for quite sometime. Although the biological reasons for that happening cannot be determined, but this simple fact is going to help marketers and advertisers position different brands in the minds of these young couples. Green Star made use of this fact in the first video of their song ‘Suno Zara’, when they showed the couple having a girl as the first born.


  1. The offspring, even when it’s just half a year old, is brought along on every wedding occasion, even though the occasion lasts well into the night. This does not bother the young parents at all that their newborn’s sleeping regimen is being disturbed.


  1. Gone are the days of entertaining the newlyweds at your home. These days the couple’s friends and relatives don’t go through this hassle but instead entertain them at a restaurant, mostly upscale. Again a good marketing opportunity here for the shrewd restaurateurs.


  1. The modern couple eats out at least twice a month. What sort of restaurant depends entirely on the specific couple. It could be an upscale restaurant on Zamzama or just a run-of-the-mill Usmania or Lasania.


  1. Couples going to their friends’ house for a random visit like they used to in the past has become a rare commodity. Nowadays, the favorite rendezvous point is mostly a wedding of a common friend, or the post-wedding party. Apart from these occasions, it is extremely rare for the couples to get together. Mostly the husband and wife have their separate get-togethers with their friends – no spouse allowed.


  1. Public show of affection in newly married couples is also becoming somewhat common. Not the kissing part, but anything below that like holding hands and leaning on each other is fair game. However, the affectionate displays disappear altogether after the proverbial honeymoon period.


  1. Pregnancy has ceased to be a hindrance in food outings. Couples would readily venture out into the food jungle even when the first-time pregnant wife is in the final stages of the pregnancy, as opposed to the previous generations’ practice of keeping a low profile and not doing outdoors at all.


  1. Now coming to the conveyance part. Unless the male is provided a car by his company, which inadvertently is a Suzuki Cultus, and a white or silver one at that, he goes for the Honda brand. Since he can’t afford a zero metre, he sets his eyes on a second hand one. Let’s say his budget for the car is Rs. 400,000. Instead of buying a brand new Suzuki Mehran or Alto, he’ll go for a Honda Civic or City even if it’s ten years old and he knows he’ll be spending a lot of time at the mechanic getting it fixed.


  1. Living alone is out, and the extended family system is in. It’s not exactly the joint family system of the yore where all the uncles and aunts used to live together. But the nuclear family system is becoming rare at least in Pakistan’s middle to upper middle class. Whether the reason is budgetary constraints or having able baby-sitters (in the form of grandparents) to look after the child while the young parents venture out for work, is not clear.


  1. Another revealing fact is that both the partners remain active on online communities especially Facebook, Twitter and Instagram even after marriage. Facebook is the most popular, taking over from Orkut. While the men usually indulge in this activity at work, their female counterparts indulge at home. Marriage photos are duly posted on Facebook profiles for all the world to know what transpired at the event.


  1. The husband is more keen to post almost the entire wedding album. Some go even to the extent of posting the bride and groom photo in the place of profile photo.


  1. Sharing of honeymoon photos on Facebook is yet another rising trend by both the partners, although some are more discreet in that they change the privacy setting to be viewed by just friends instead of all the world to see.


  1. Sharing of the newborn’s photos is another must. In fact many go to the extent of putting their child’s photo as their own profile photo.


  1. Linkedin is the new kid on the block whose popularity has more to do with the rumor that some have got their dream jobs through this network rather than any great feature available on it. Who are these people and what did they do on this network to grab their dream jobs, no one knows other than the fact that they are ‘friend of friend’. In any case, Linkedin is the strongest contender to dethrone Facebook especially with respect to the segment under study.


  1. About moving to greener pastures, the husband has a definite desire to move to the Middle East before marriage. However, in the post-marriage period, this desire wanes considerably, but does not cease to exist. A close friend of his getting a job there in this period boosts up this desire though.


  1. The favorite destination for offspring shopping is two-fold. If the attire is being bought for some occasion or outdoor stuff, then it is Zubeida’s. However, for casual stuff to be worn at home, the favorite haunt is Madinah and Zainab Shopping Centre, where children clothing can be had dirt cheap, think Rs.50 for a shirt or knickers for a 1-3 year old.


  1. Day-long excursion to a farm house is fast transforming from a fad to a trend. The trip is usually under-taken with three or four families in the same age group.


  1. This has fuelled demand for model farm houses which are continuing to spring up not only on Super-Highway but on National Highway as well.


  1. In the previous generation, this excursion was mostly reserved for the sea-side.


  1. Subjects belonging to the top tier within the SEC class under study are most likely the members of one of the non-elite resorts, the most common being Dreamworld Resort, and spend their weekends at these resorts instead of the farm house.


  1. Divorce still continues to be a stigma in this segment of the society. However the word most commonly used to refer to it is ‘Khula’ especially by the girl side as if that would offset any stigma attached to it, or at least it does in their perception of reality.


  1. The generation of yore was a better time manager, juggling 4 to 5 kids in addition to a job and family and in-law commitments. This generation struggles to cope with even a single child and thinks a million times before going for even a second child, let alone a 4th or 5th.


  1. This could partially be explained by the erosion of the standard 9 to 5 office timings, with the husband reaching home after almost 12 hours at work, except in the case of a government job where this schedule is still followed to the letter.



So what do you think? How much of this really reflects the behavior of this segment? If not, do you have any other insights, or would you like to add to what I’ve already discerned?

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