New Delhi: India is all set to emerge as the sixth largest market by the year 2012.
At the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) retail conference, Transforming Retailing in India, Vinod Sawhny, president and chief operating officer of Bharti Retail said, "India will emerge the sixth largest market by 2012 because of income and population growth and saving behaviour".
Sawhny stressed that the sector will grow on the strength of the rising purchasing power of the consumer, which will mainly come from the services sector. Rising population of working women, rising services sector, growing middle-class and easier access to credit are some of the factors that will fuel the growth of retail industry in India.
Sawhny further added that private labels will constitute a big part of organised retail, while calling upon the industry to deal with supply chain constraints, wastage and poor storage and distribution.
''We need to address issues related with talent, policy, fragmented market and IT infrastructure and ensure affordable real estate,'' he added.
Dr Ira Kalish, director at Deloitte Research said the retail evolution in India is still in its nascent stage, "while Indian retail market is promising, it has a long way to go to make a mark on the global level.''
Speaking on the progression of retail across the world, Kalish said, "Though a number of retailers from emerging markets are doing well, no Indian player figures on the list top 10 Asia-Pacific retailers".
"The retail industry is very dynamic and competitive. Many players, who were doing well in the past, are no more in the picture. Retailers can cash in on the growth in consumption in Asia," Kalish added. He warned that the US is going to witness a sustained period of financial turmoil, which may affect other markets.
Considering the changing global economic scenario, the US dollar may depreciate further and China may revalue its currency, he said.
Organised retail is poised to grow at 30-40 per cent, and the country will see one of the fastest growth in retail sector. India will be an attractive market despite its complexities and marketers need to adapt to Indian realities. Ability to differentiate will determine the success of a retailer, he said.
Rajeev Karwal, founder and chief executive officer of Milagrow said, "Consumers are more prepared than retailers for organised retail. Retail is undergoing transformation, but we need to keep typical Indian buyer in mind while chalking out strategy." Assuaging doubts on the future of mom-and-pop stores, he said, "If organised retail can grow at 30 per cent, mom-and-pop stores should also expect a 20 per cent growth."
Participants at the conference ranged from retailers to FMCG companies, logistics players and realtors deliberating on the issues plaguing the industry in the areas of logistics, trained manpower and escalating real estate costs, and others.
The forum fuelled interesting discussions on the nature of the challenges faced by the retail sector and how best to formulate a win-win situation for all attached to it.