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India witnesses consumer boom: study

By Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 16 (UNI) India, historically a nation of savers, has now become a nation of spenders, a report of India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) has said.

Globally, India takes the second place in the retail development index, according to a report by global consulting firm AT Kearney.

Other international reports, like the Knight Frank survey, say India ranks fifth amongst the 30 retail markets in the developing countries.

One of the key reasons for the boom in consumer spending is the impressive growth of the middle class. At the start of 1999, the size of the middle class was unofficially estimated at 300 million people, larger than the entire population of the US. This figure is expected to grow to 445 million by this year.

In the past years, there has been a change in the retailing space, which was dominated by the unorganised sector largely by small-sized shops clustered together in a market, with the rise of organised retailing.

The size of the organised retail industry was estimated at 4.2 billion dollars during 2003 with an annual growth rate of 8.5 per cent, according to the IBEF report.

This space is expected to log a ten-fold growth from the present 2 per cent of the total retail industry to a significant 20 per cent by the end of the decade.

At present, the organised retail activity is concentrated mainly in the apparel, food and beverages and entertainment segments.

Globally, it is observed that as the income levels rise, the share spent on food and grocery in the total household income declines and the proportion of income spent on lifestyle-related activities increases.

The rising number of retail-cum-entertainment centres or shopping malls, in the metros and their suburbs, is another notable trend in this context. Gurgaon, adjoining the capital, has the highest concentration of malls in the country at present.

Retailers, now, focus on malls, as opposed to standalone developments, in providing leisure activities such as multiplexes, facilities for kids' entertainment and eateries.

The most popular Indian outlets include Shoppers' Shop, Globus, Pantaloon, Lifestyle and Big Bazaar.

Worldwide, the direct selling industry grosses around 83 billion business annually and employs about 40 million sales force.

India is the fastest growing direct selling market in the world with cumulative sales of about 0.343 billion dollars.

Direct selling does away with the need for a retailing intermediary and reaches out to the consumer at his house through a sales agent.

UNI PV RA MP PM1206

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