IIM Udaipur’s Consumer Culture Lab Shares the Country’s First-Ever Digital Research on India’s Rural & Regional Heartlands


Done in Collaboration with Stripe Partners, UK,  the Report explores the journeys of small-town digital social media creators.


  • Consumer Culture Lab of IIM Udaipur launched research report “Rangbhoomi, The Digital Heartlands of India”. 
  • The Lab is the only Lab of its kind in any educational Institute in India
  • The research team explored India beyond metropolitan India,  and into the rural and regional heartlands that are mostly left unexplored
  • The Report talks about how Indian small towns “flux between aspiration and rootedness” and also conceptualizes the state of liminality

17th February 2023, Udaipur: The Consumer Culture Lab of IIM Udaipur, the only such Lab of its kind in any educational Institute in India, has launched the annual report “Rangbhoomi, The Digital Heartlands of India”. Done in collaboration with Stripe Partners, UK, the project is authored by Prof. Tanvi Gupta, Associate Professor and Co-Chair of Consumer Culture Lab, and Adishri Guha, Senior Research Executive of Consumer Culture Lab. 

This report talked about how Indian small towns are in a state of flux between aspiration and rootedness and also conceptualises the state of liminality or being in-between, using a map of three ideological “lands” (Bhoomi in Hindi) that small town consumers inhabit.

The Research Team explored beyond metropolitan India and went to the rural and regional heartlands that are often unexplored. Through ethnographic research in nine locations, across nine states, with fifteen social media creators, a research team explored the journeys of small-town content creators. 

Researchers found that people use platforms such as Instagram and YouTube to create original content, build followings, have a social impact, and make money.  The detailed Report can be downloaded from cclab.iimu.in

Commenting on this report, Prof. Ashok Bannerjee, Director of IIM Udaipur said, “Rural India is driving internet adoption. It grew from 299 million internet users in 2020 to 351 million in 2021. Along with internet adoption comes a concomitant increase in the use of social media and e-commerce platforms for opinion formation and buying decisions. This report does an excellent job of capturing the rise of digital consumers in India and their growing ease in using digital platforms to create content to influence decision-making. The major findings of the ‘Digital Heartlands of India’ will surely have key takeaways equally for the industries that have rural consumers as target customers and policymakers.”

Rajesh Nanarpuzha, Associate Professor at IIMU and Co-Chair of Consumer Culture Lab said, “In line with the stated mission of IIMU’s Consumer Culture Lab to understand the Indian consumer better and bring the muted voices of India’s consumptions-scape into the mainstream, Rangbhoomi- The Digital Heartlands project is our significant first step. The implications of this study will be compelling for both industry and academia.

About Consumer Culture Lab: 

The Consumer Culture Lab at the Indian Institute of Management in Udaipur was established to help local and global companies navigate India’s nuances.  Using a multidisciplinary approach, drawing from disciplines like anthropology, sociology and psychology, the Lab seeks to initiate a conversation around themes of consumer culture and qualitative methodologies in India. It is the only such Lab in any educational Institute in India.

About IIM Udaipur:

IIM Udaipur is one of the fastest-growing management schools in the country and is breaking ground by focusing on world-class education. IIM Udaipur has recently been listed on the QS 2022 Masters in Management (MIM) Rankings and is the youngest B-School in Asia to feature in the Global FT MIM Ranking 2022 for its two-year MBA program. IIM Udaipur entered the realm of advanced education by receiving AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) benchmark accreditation just eight years after its foundation. Due to this distinguished accreditation, IIM Udaipur joined the ranks of just 5% of the prestigious Business Schools of the World.

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