The rapid growth of Tier 2 cities in India has coincided with the expansion of a new middle class with a culture of consumption. These emerging cities have become centers of economic opportunity, attracting migrants and fueling aspirations for an improved lifestyle.
Growth of Tier-2 cities and New middle class:
- New economic opportunities: Post-liberalisation, LPG reforms facilitated new avenues for entrepreneurship and employment.
- Migration: Increased migration due to growing urbanisation in erstwhile small towns altered the composition of the middle class and made it relatively heterogenous in caste and religion.
- Consumption Culture: Aided by factors like economic growth, globalisation, increased digitalisation and urbanisation, the new middle class adopted consumerist culture, marking a cultural shift from the old modest middle class.
Display of wealth and conspicuous consumption of goods and services became a status symbol, reflected in
- Mushrooming multinational brand chains
- E-commerce overshadowing traditional retail
- Strong preference for English-medium education
- Gated communities,
However, the correlation between the growth of tier-2 cities and the rise of the new middle class is not unidirectional, as its conspicuous consumption culture and value-system further aided the growth of these cities.