An exploratory investigation of deal proneness at the bottom of the pyramid

Shruti Gupta, Caitlin Denbleyker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Research in the area of sales promotion has shown that a combination of tactics are effective in driving consumer action such as purchase, new product trial and brand switching among others. Odd as it may sound, the bulk of research in deal proneness has been conducted within the context of the developed, western societies. Despite this lack of information, consumer marketers in low income markets continue to spend increasing amounts of funds in promotional offers in the fast moving consumer good (FMCG) category. A growing stream of research under the labels of bottom of pyramid (BoP) and subsistence consumers has increasingly pointed out the market attractiveness of this low income population to multinational companies especially in the FMCG sector. These poor consumers are individuals who earn approximately $2 per day. In this paper, we identify the level of deal proneness amongst the BoP consumer, promotional offers that are successful in the BoP segment and the reasons "why" the poor don't respond favorably towards promotional offers. The findings point to significant insights for marketing managers that propose that deal proneness might not transfer universally across all cultural and/or socioeconomic groups. The data for this paper comes from a qualitative study conducted with 58 urban poor consumers in India. Findings show two dominant patterns in deal proneness amongst the BoP consumer: First, a low level of deal proneness and second, a presence of deal specificity, when deal prone. Four reasons are offered each to explain why BoP consumers are deal insensitive at a generalized level and why two promotional offers - price and volume discount along with a product premium offer are well received and signal the presence of deal specificity amongst the consumers. Finally, implications of the above findings for marketers and public policy makers are offered to address the needs of the subsistence marketplace.ach paper must start off with an abstract (with the exception of case studies).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-64
Number of pages16
JournalAcademy of Marketing Studies Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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