At the e4m Pitch CMO Summit 2022, an expert panel deliberated on the topic of 'Building salience for EMI service for online purchases' and explored its various aspects The percentage of users using some form of an EMI service to buy a mobile or a gadget has increased from under 10 per cent a few years back to a little over 40 per cent, a recent user survey by 91mobiles has shown. Although this may be specific to the user demographic, it offers a directional trend in the market at large. At the recently-held e4m Pitch CMO Summit 2022, an esteemed panel explored the topic of 'Building salience for EMI service for online purchases'. The session, comprising Aishvarya Murali, Head of Marketing, ZestMoney; Elizabeth Venkataraman, Joint President, Marketing & Alliances, Kotak Mahindra Bank; Vivek Kumar Sinha, Chief Marketing Officer, Home Credit India, and Aravind Tambad, Vice President - Growth & Marketing, Uni cards, was chaired by Nitin Mathur, Co-Founder, 91mobiles. Sharing his views on how he has seen the market as well as the evolution of consumer mindset around EMI services over the years, Kumar said, "We started as a consumer deliverable product. In the last decade is where lending has got democratised, where it is not getting limited to one particular sector but where everyone is willing to come forward and get the product. And the biggest change that has happened is not being 'loan averse' or not having a taboo about that I am buying a product on EMI to manage my requirements but rather accepting that this is a way of paying for the product that I want to acquire. That has been the biggest mindset change. And this started with the younger generation who wanted to experiment and enjoy and did not want to wait for something to happen in their life. But now, it is cutting through the ages." Outlining how she looks at the marketing strategy and how it has transitioned with time, Murali explained, "With respect to ZestMoney, as one of the biggest BNPL players that exist today, what we sort of thought about when we were looking at the brand and looking at how to talk to the consumer, is that there are two to three simple insights. First is that money is a means to a better life, it is always a means to getting to a place where you went before. So that was the primary insight we worked on when we were looking at ZestMoney. Our inspiration came from millions of consumers who have taken BNPL with us. That was the genesis of us building out the brand - to tell everyone that a better life is for everyone. The problem of credit in India is that, unfortunately, the top millions have access to a plethora of options and underneath that, there is a whole section of people who don't even have one of those options." Uni cards is a relatively new player in the segment. Speaking on how it was positioned and competed with the top players, Tambad points out, "Our product is eight months old. Of course, we want to change the way people interact with credit with a range of products for every consumer segment. We started with a BNPL product for existing credit card users. We realised that a product that smoothens out liquidity crunches that people feel on certain occasions would be something that can actually appeal to our existing credit card user segment. This is the genesis of our product portfolio and we, of course, will launch products for more consumer segments.” Kothak Mahindra, along with the traditional credit card, also has an EMI card, which sort of competes in a sense. Elucidating on the offering and the marketing strategy when it comes to building out this category for Kotak, Venkataraman said, "The products that have credit were earlier available on credit cards. The EMI converts your purchase into EMI and it's an option after you make the purchase. Now, credit card penetration is low because of all the credit requirements that are there in the system. So, debit card EMI was introduced, which makes it wider. Now, for all customers, there is a smart EMI card, which you can buy. What this does is that you do not necessarily need the card - you can go to a store and purchase something, and with a few details and some paperwork, you can avail of the facility at the store itself. We are present in over 40,000 stores, all e-commerce sites, so it is very convenient to avail consumer durable finance today."