Globally speaking more of us now live in cities than in the country, but this statistic is not evenly distributed; for example, 73% of India lives in a rural environment, and since roughly one out of six Earthlings is Indian, that adds up to a huge rural consumer base.
That in turn calls for a large amount of product design to address specifically rural, as opposed to urban, customers, who have different needs and tastes. As seen in this WSJ interview, South Korea's LG is one of the companies specifically targeting rural customers with design. An excerpt:
WSJ: How do you design differently for rural markets?
[LG Electronics Managing Director] Moon B. Shin: Colors are a major differential [and] we work with color specialists to design rural products. Rural people like brighter, beautiful colors, urban people prefer more classic colors, like grey or white, with a metallic finish.
Durability is also very important. For example, we've introduced plastic bodies, instead of metal, for washing machines geared for supplies to coastal areas to guard against the high corrosive content of salt in the water supply. Also, we have tailored our designs to suit rural conditions. Often, rural areas have erratic electricity supplies and they tend to be dry and dusty, so product design has to meet those demands. For example, our refrigerators have built-in voltage stabilizers to protect the compressor from fluctuations in electricity supplies.
Read the full interview here.