Write a short note on the growth of the Retail Sector in India.

Retail and real estate are the two booming sectors of India in the present times. And if industry experts are to be believed, the prospects of both the sectors are mutually dependent on each other. Retail, one of India’s largest industries, has presently emerged as one of the most dynamic and fast paced industries of our times with several players entering the market. Accounting for over 10 per cent of the country’s GDP and around eight per cent of the employment retailing in India is gradually inching its way toward becoming the next boom industry.

As the contemporary retail sector in India is reflected in sprawling shopping centers, multiplex- malls and huge complexes offer shopping, entertainment and food all under one roof, the concept of shopping has altered in terms of format and consumer buying behaviour, ushering in a revolution in shopping in India. This has also contributed to large-scale investments in the real estate sector with major national and global players investing in developing the infrastructure and construction of the retailing business. The trends that are driving the growth of the retail sector in India are:

  • Low share of organised retailing
  • Falling real estate prices
  • Increase in disposable income and customer aspiration
  • Increase in expenditure for luxury items (CHART)

Another credible factor in the prospects of the retail sector in India is the increase in the young working population. In India, hefty pay packets, nuclear families in urban areas, along with increasing working-women population and emerging opportunities in the services sector. These key factors have been the growth drivers of the organised retail sector in India which now boast of retailing almost all the preferences of life – Apparel & Accessories, Appliances, Electronics, Cosmetics and Toiletries, Home & Office Products, Travel and Leisure and many more. With this the retail sector in India is witnessing rejuvenation as traditional markets make way for new formats such as departmental stores, hypermarkets, supermarkets and specialty stores.

The retailing configuration in India is fast developing as shopping malls are increasingly becoming familiar in large cities. When it comes to development of retail space specially the malls, the Tier II cities are no longer behind in the race. If development plans till 2007 is studied it shows the projection of 220 shopping malls, with 139 malls in metros and the remaining 81 in the Tier II cities. The government of states like Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) are very upbeat about permitting the use of land for commercial development thus increasing the availability of land for retail space; thus making NCR render to 50% of the malls in India.

India is being seen as a potential goldmine for retail investors from over the world and latest research has rated India as the top destination for retailers for an attractive emerging retail market. India’s vast middle class and its almost untapped retail industry are key attractions for global retail giants wanting to enter newer markets. Even though India has well over 5 million retail outlets, the country sorely lacks anything that can resemble a retailing industry in the modern sense of the term. This presents international retailing specialists with a great opportunity. The organised retail sector is expected to grow stronger than GDP growth in the next five years driven by changing lifestyles, burgeoning income and favourable demographic outline.

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