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Retail Industry in India

May, 2014


The retail sector is one of the fastest growing in India over the last few years. The Indian retail industry, which comprises organised and unorganised retail, is currently estimated at US$ 490 billion. It has experienced high growth over the last decade with a noticeable shift towards organised retailing formats. The industry is moving towards a modern concept of retailing. “Demand from international and domestic brands as well as retailers continued to strengthen throughout 2013; with the second half of the year witnessing an increase in demand for quality retail space in Delhi NCR, Pune and Chennai,” according to the findings of CBRE’s latest report, India Retail Market View H2 2013.

As India’s retail industry is aggressively expanding itself, great demand for real estate is being created. Further, easy availability of debit/credit cards has contributed significantly to a strong and growing online consumer culture in India. With the online medium of retail gaining more and more acceptance, there is a tremendous growth opportunity for retail companies, both domestic and international.

Favourable demographics, increasing urbanisation, nuclear families, purchasing power of consumers, preference for branded products and higher aspirations are some factors which will drive retail consumption in the country.

Market Size

India’s retail market is expected to touch a whopping Rs 47 trillion (US$ 782.23 billion) by 2016–17, expanding at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 per cent, according to a study by a leading industrial body.

The total organised retail supply in 2013 stood at approximately 4.7 million square feet (sq ft), witnessing a strong year-on-year (y-o-y) growth of about 78 per cent over the total mall supply of 2.5 million sq ft in 2012.

The foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in single-brand retail trading during the period April 2000–January 2014 stood at US$ 98.66 million, as per data released by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

Online Retail

India’s online retail industry has grown at a swift pace in the last five years from around Rs 15 billion (US$ 249.64 million) revenues in 2007–08 to Rs 139 billion (US$ 2.31 billion) in 2012–13, translating into a CAGR of over 56 per cent. The nine-fold growth came on the back of increasing internet penetration and changing lifestyles, and was primarily driven by books, electronics, apparel, beauty and personal care.

According to Crisil Research, the online retail business in India is expected to grow at a whopping 50–55 per cent annually to become a Rs 50,000 crore (US$ 8.32 billion) business in the next three years. During the same period, ecommerce companies could capture around 18 per cent of the country's organised retail market, up from their current share of about 8 per cent.

India’s urban population has contributed immensely to the growth of the online market in the country. Mumbai have left behind all other cities in India in shopping online; Delhi ranks second and Kolkata ranks third in the preference for online shopping in 2013. In the next 7–10 years, around 30–40 per cent of the total retail in India’s top 75 cities is expected to be carried out online, as per Mr Arvind Singhal, Chairman and Founder, Technopak Advisors.

In India, Flipkart and Snapdeal dominate the online marketplaces. Snapdeal brands itself as the biggest online marketplace in India and allows more than 20,000 businesses to sell on its platform. The growing online retail market has become a very lucrative business for international majors as well.

Key Developments and Investments

  • Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) plans to take its cash-and-carry, or wholesale business to Jaipur, Rajasthan, becoming the largest organised wholesale player in the country.
  • Ezeego1.com has launched a new franchise store in Gurgaon, Haryana to reach out to a wider mass of audience who prefers the conventional method of travel booking.
  • Galderma, a Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company, owned by food and beverage giant Nestle, plans to tap the Rs 30,000 crore (US$ 4.99 billion) skincare and beauty market in India.
  • Fast-food brand Subway plans to expand its presence across IT parks, highways, hospitals and food courts. “We plan to have about 650 outlets by 2015,” said Mr Gurpreet Gulri, Country Head, Subway India.
  • Big Bazaar plans to use a Rs 100 crore (US$ 16.64 million) marketing campaign, which will play on mass media as well as social media, to reposition itself as a change agent rather than a player who provides the deepest discounts in the business.
  • Tanishq has celebrated another landmark in jewellery retailing by opening its new showroom in Bengaluru. It is the 162nd showroom in Tanishq’s network.

Government Initiatives

The Government of India has allowed 51 per cent FDI in Multi-Brand Retail Trading (MBRT) and 100 per cent in Single-Brand Retail Trading (SBRT).

According to the extant policy, foreign retailers investing more than 51 per cent can open outlets across the country on the condition that 30 per cent of their sourced sales would come from small to medium-sized domestic enterprises. Further, global chains will now need to invest only 50 per cent of the initial compulsory investment of US$ 100 million in setting up cold storages and warehouses in India.

Foreign chains have been given the green signal to set up stores in cities with a population of less than one million. Earlier, supermarkets could only commence their operations in 53 cities, the ones with a population of more than a million.

Road Ahead

While most retailers have been rushing to capture opportunities in the quickly crowding Indian metros, some have been focusing their expansion plans in the non-metros. In the next few years, modern retail is expected to grow 50–60 per cent annually in tier II and tier III cities, compared to only around 30 per cent in the metros.

Better employment opportunities and improved lifestyles have pulled the rural population towards cities. By 2030, it is estimated that 91 million households will be middle class and about 570 million people are expected to live in cities. This factor would be a significant driver for organised retail.

The opportunities in food and grocery retail are immense, given that it constitutes about 69 per cent of the country’s total retail market, according to panel members at the seventh Food and Grocery Forum India.

Exchange Rate Used: INR 1 = US$ 0.01664 as on March 31, 2014

References: Media Reports, Press Releases, Deloitte report, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion website, Union Budget 2014-15