Rural India Laps up Diapers, Colognes, Sanitary napkins.

Rural consumers are buying diapers, salty snacks, colognes and even contraceptives other than condoms like never before, despite signs of falling demand for traditional FMCG categories such as shampoos and soaps in hinterlands due to unabated inflation. Data from Nielsen, a global provider of insights and analytics, shows that tens of contemporary and indulgent product categories including sanitary napkins and chocolates are growing at high double-digit rates in Indian villages (see graphic).

“The rural mindset is open to consumption of newer, more contemporary categories, as a result driving consistent growth,” says Nielsen India VP Prashant Singh.
Nielsen categorises rural markets as those with population of less than 5,000, but there could be some exceptions. It estimates that the country’s rural FMCG market will grow to $100 billion by 2025 from $12 billion in 2011.
For MNCs like Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo, it’s an achievement of sorts to have broken ground in rural markets, by initiating consumers into newer categories such as diapers and salty snacks and upgrading them from unbranded or regional products to branded ones like in the case of cooking oils.
So, how did they achieve this?
P&G adopted the classic and tested strategy of betting on low-volume, lowpriced packages — sachets in the case of detergents and shampoo, and, for diapers, a pack of two at Rs. 15.  The move has paid off.
“We have seen a near doubling of the diaper category in rural India over the last two years,” says P&G Brand Manager (Pampers) Girish Kalyanaraman.
P&G launched the country’s first lowpriced trial pack of two Pamper diapers two years ago, educated people in rural areas about the benefits of uninterrupted overnight sleep for babies; and ran an awareness campaign on Doordarshan and satellite channels. Result: Demand for diapers has grown 90% a year in the last couple of years.
American snacks and beverages maker PepsiCo is another company that achieved tremendous growth in rural areas. Besides using fixed low price points such as Rs. 2, 3 and 5, PepsiCo has been using innovation, backward linkages for procurement and expanded distribution to drive growth in the hinterlands, a PepsiCo spokesman said.
“There’s a massive under-served demand for hygienic packaged snacks; we are expanding our manufacturing footprint and investing heavily in expanding distribution,” he said.
The company has moved away from centralised manufacturing and, instead, partners with local entrepreneurs across the country to cater to regional preferences and tastes, using locally grown ingredients. Examples for this include the extension of Kurkure brand to three local variants — Mumbai Usal, Bengali Jhaal and South India Spice—and testing of Lehar Iron Chusti puffs and biscuits at Rs. 2 in Andhra Pradesh. Kolkata-based Emami—maker of Boroplus anti-septic cream and Zandu Balm pain reliever—broke into the rural cooking oil market with a Rs. 5 pack of its edible oil Healthy & Tasty. “Rural consumers are used to buying unbranded or loose oil from local kirana shops for Rs. 5 or 10,” says Emami Group of Companies Director Aditya Agarwal, explaining the idea behind the low-cost edible oil packet.

The small-store owner is too important, nimble and innovative to be bumped off by big-box retailers in India.

Kirana RIP? Not Yet.

The arguments for and against FDI in retail are, at a generic level, valid on both sides. However, since the devil is usually in the detail, the facts about India’s small retailers and suppliers, the conditions stipulated for FDI, and recent experience with the effects of domestic modern retail need to be viewed together before the likely outcome pronounced. The big fight is about whether this new policy will kill small shops, massively destroy livelihoods and take away GenNext’s opportunities. Facts suggest otherwise. Consider the kirana, the one most feared to be at risk. About 5-6 million of the 8 million FMCG-stocking kiranas are in rural India, and are totally safe, as the new ones can only come into the top 53 cities.

R Sriram, founder of Crossword and retail expert, tables two insights. One, in many big cities, kiranas are already not participating in the growth offered by the newer settlements like Gurgaon or Powai, because without their advantage of historically-priced real estate, they are not viable. Two, increasingly, small shopkeepers’ children are getting better educated and want to exit ‘sitting in the shop’ as soon as possible, just as small farmers’ children are exiting farming. Sadly, the country’s retail density has been increasing in recent years, not driven by passion or profit, but because of lack of options — hopefully that will change. It is true that traditional income streams of small shops in the vicinity of a large supermarket plummet; but we have seen that they soon recast their business model, exploiting the inherent advantages they have that the supermarket cannot emulate: free, prompt and no-conditions home delivery, superior and customised customer relationship management, khaata- credit and willingness to stock small quantities of something used by only a few people in their catchment — a classic ‘long-tail’ strategy. Notice two more things: even in upper-class areas in large cities, despite large retail chains in the vicinity, the small vegetable vendor and kirana continue to find a place in the household’s shopping basket. The kirana also continuously morphs, and is already moving to a more specialised and selective portfolio. We will find them variously choosing to become more of a convenience store (7-Eleven-type), or fresh-food store, a home-delivery store, maybe even express-format franchisees of large retail, and so on.

Another reality check: how much consumption capacity do even the top 50 cities have? Seriously, how many more Ikea, Zara, Walmart, Tesco and Best Buy can a Surat, Kanpur or Indore absorb, in addition to more Big Bazaar, Megamart and Croma? Further, foreign specialty retailers targeting the rich consumer will create never-before custom, and not at the expense of existing shops. Two decades ago, we had the same hue and cry that Indian brands would be wiped out; but they got better and bigger than they would have had they been left unchallenged. Now for the suppliers. Large suppliers will lose the pricing power they had with small retailers and nobody on any side of the FDI debate is grieving for them. Small suppliers, even without FDI, are being mercilessly squeezed by middlemen. The hope is that large retail chains, unlike the broker middleman, have more incentive to pay more because they have customer loyalty and a brand to build; in exchange for steady, loyal, consistent quality supply, they will pay more, guarantee offtake, improve product and production efficiency. The FDI norm of at least 30% sourcing from small scale pushes this further. Walmart potentially could kill the small suppliers of anything by importing 70% from China cheaper; but loads of small traders are already doing the same, flooding our markets with Ganesh murtis, chappals, clothes, watches, etc.

The Achilles’ heel for a lot of skilled artisans, specialised producers, grass roots innovators, etc, is market orientation and marketing. Producer collectives have managed to organise themselves on the supply side using government assistance schemes, but they struggle to manage the demand side. That is the missing link that large retailers in vendor development mode can provide, just as the auto industry has done to ancillary suppliers. Both sides agree that customers will gain because large chain retailers can provide better for cheaper, given the discounts they get through buying large quantities and sourcing smartly. Customers will also get a wider range, more innovative products and more comfortable, truthful and informed shopping environment. Poor customers won’t get discriminated against, because the hypermarket is anonymous, transactional, classless and nonjudgemental. They may not get better service because the small Indian retailer is the champion of good service, from atta to electrical, the likes of which we haven’t yet seen any big retailer match, anywhere in the world. That’s another reason why he will always survive.

Before we fight further, consider this. This network of commercially-savvy supplychain linked small retailers is an invaluable asset: as one report said, they are not ‘unorganised’ by any stretch of imagination; we agree and have refrained from using this phrase in this article! It is unlikely that Indian jugaad will let this network disintegrate. Perhaps in rural India, where they would have been more hard hit had the big-box retailers been allowed, they would have been garnered by banks as new extension counters for financial inclusion.

economictimes.com: RAMA BIJAPURKAR INDEPENDENT MARKET STRATEGY CONSULTANT

India Paves Way for Wal-Mart, Tesco to Enter Market

India approved allowing overseas companies to own as much as 51 percent of retailers selling more than one brand, paving the way for global companies such as Wal- Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Tesco Plc to own stores.

Overseas companies must invest at least $100 million, half of which has to be spent on developing back-end infrastructure, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said in a statement presented to parliament today. India’s cabinet yesterday eased retail ownership rules, including permitting 100 percent foreign holding in single brand stores.

India’s decision to allow overseas ownership in retail will create up to 10 million jobs and give farmers better prices, Sharma said. Wal-Mart,Carrefour SA (CA) and Tesco (TSCO) seek to step up their presence in the world’s second-most populous nation to tap a market estimated by Business Monitor International to double to $785 billion by 2015 from $396 billion this year.

“This is possibly the most exciting thing that has happened in retail in India,” said Hemant Kalbag, who heads the consumer and retail practice for Asia at A.T. Kearney in Mumbai. “This is probably the next big wave of change in organized retail in India.”

Overseas retailers will be required to purchase at least 30 percent of goods sold in the ventures from small industries, Sharma said. Stores will be permitted only in 53 cities with a population of 1 million or more, and the government will retain the first right to buy farm products, he said.

‘Important First Step’

The government’s move is “an important first step,” Wal- Mart Asia President Scott Price said in a statement. The retailer looks forward to “playing a key role” in India.

Asia’s third-biggest economy permitted foreign retailers to own wholesale stores in 1997. Policy makers have been debating ownership rules in retail for at least seven years.

Wal-Mart has set up 14 such stores through a joint venture with billionaire Sunil Bharti Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises to gain a foothold in India, while Metro AG operates six wholesale stores. Carrefour opened its first outlet in December.

“This legal evolution should contribute to modernize Indian food supply chain and to fight against food inflation for the benefit of Indian customers,” Carrefour said in an e-mailed statement. The Boulogne-Billancourt, France-based retailer will wait for final regulations, it said.

India’s decision may prompt expansion of existing joint ventures and trigger acquisitions, said Bryan Roberts, director of retail research at Kantar Retail in London. Still, the size of the opportunity may be “overstated,” he said.

“A lot of retailers have already expanded and found that there’s not enough middle-class shoppers around at the moment,” said Roberts.

‘Win for Consumers’

India’s retail industry will get $8 billion to $10 billion in fresh investments over the next five to 10 years, Kishore Biyani, managing director ofPantaloon Retail India Ltd. (PF), said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. Pantaloon, which operates more than 150 Big Bazaar supermarketsacross 90 cities and towns, also has apparel and consumer-electronics outlets.

“It is a big win for consumers as they will have more choices,” said Biyani. “It’s a win for small industries as they will have more retailers creating markets for their products” and farmers will benefit from better prices, he said.

Pantaloon climbed 16 percent, the biggest gain since May 2009, to 233.95 rupees at the close in Mumbai trading. Shoppers Stop Ltd. (SHOP)rose 6.2 percent, and Trent Ltd. (TRENT), Tesco’s India partner, advanced 8.6 percent, the most since August 2010.

The decision to permit foreign retailers came as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s parliamentary ally the Trinamool Congress opposed the proposal. The main federal opposition Bharatiya Janata Party was also against the move.

Political Opposition

“Small and medium retailers, which employ a large number of people, will be affected,” Arun Jaitley, a BJP leader, said in New Delhi yesterday. “We oppose it completely.”

Overseas investment in the retail industry may help slow the pace of price gains, Reserve Bank of India Governor Duvvuri Subbarao said in the northern city of Chandigarh today. “Its important not only for raising overall growth but also important for containing inflation,” said Subbarao.

India’s food inflation accelerated 9.01 percent in the week ended Nov. 12 from a year earlier, the commerce ministry said yesterday. The rate has stayed above 9 percent for 16 weeks.

‘Licking Their Lips’

Raj Jain, president of Wal-Mart India, said in April 2010 the company can help reduce prices by improving supply chain and infrastructure to cut waste. About 40 percent of fruit and vegetables in the country rot before they are sold because of a lack of cold-storage facilities and poor transport infrastructure, according to government estimates.

Bharti-Walmart, the local venture, buys fresh produce directly from about 1,200 farmers in Punjab, in northern India, Jain said in May.

“Foreign retailers must be licking their lips at this opportunity,” said Narayanan Ramaswamy, executive director at KPMG India, which advises retail companies. “It has to be one of the biggest opportunities in the world right now.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Bibhudatta Pradhan in New Delhi at bpradhan@bloomberg.net; Malavika Sharma in New Delhi atmsharma52@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Longid at flongid@bloomberg.net

Starbucks Looks to Bagged Coffee, K-cups to Grow

Starbucks has big plans to revitalize the bagged coffee aisle, the Wall Street Journal reports. Jeff Hansberry, the man tasked with that job, said that he wants to make “our products available wherever customers want them.”

 The company wants to enhance the coffee-buying experience.  The company is busy developing strategies to revamp its presence in supermarkets and other retailers, but is releasing no details yet. Hansberry did comment that he wanted to double the shelf space of single-serve coffee products in grocery stores. He also said Starbuck products, such as bagged coffee, K-cups, Tazo teas and Via instant coffee, should be together on a shelf.
“What we’re looking for is a brand block — to get all of our items together,” he said. “We need to make it simpler to shop.”
Part of that simplification process will happen in January, when Starbucks will debut its color-coded packaging that will make it easy for shoppers to pick a new light or “blonde” roast, medium roast or dark roast.
To help the company decide what to change, Starbucks has started surveying customers across the United States. Also this week, Starbucks announced its purchase of Evolution Fresh, which will replace Naked brand juices in its stores.

New Stop & Shop concept store opens in Chelmsford

New Stop & Shop concept store opens in Chelmsford with following convenience options:

An on-site nutritionist: The company has hired a professional nutritionist who will be available for consultations. The cost, according to Robinson, will be $25 an hour, but the customer will get that $25 back in the form of a gift card.

Day care services: Stop & Shop is introducing “The Tree House” – a room where supervised day care is provided for up to 90 minutes for free, for children ages 3 through 9.

Curbside pickup: Customers will be able to order groceries on a computer and pick them up at the store without leaving their cars. They can pull up to a designated curbside pickup area where a Stop & Shop employee will process the payment and load the shopper’s car.

IT ’ S A ‘MALL ’WORLD

The retail revolution in Mumbai has enhanced residential spaces across the city

When Crossroads, the first mall in Mumbai and in the country was launched, little did we know that the city would witness such a huge retail boom in the years to come! Today, Mumbai is home to some of the most prominent and successful malls in the country.

The start of this retail revolution in Mumbai can be traced to the initial years of the last decade. However, during the time frame of 2003-04 to 2007-08, the sector witnessed significant growth of around 11 per cent. The second half of the year 2010 re-witnessed an upsurge in the retail market post the economic meltdown.

Mumbai is estimated to have total organised retail stock of 8.72m sq. ft. and will witness 11.26 m sq. ft. of new retail development over the next three years. According to a study by McKinsey Global Institute, India is poised to become the fifth largest consumer market by 2025. The retail sector in the western parts of India like Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Ahmedabad, have seen a huge transformation, thanks to the changing consumption patterns, high disposable income in hand and favourable demographics.

Explains Shreesh Misra, Center Director of Phoenix Marketcity, Kurla, “An asset like a mall becomes a catalyst for people to converge at a particular location and spend leisure time beyond their office hours or during their weekends thus offering utmost convenience. So as and when the consumers start frequenting a mall or a retail space, the administration also plays a key role to support the property with proper infrastructure. Considering all these factors when people of a certain profile start taking a keen interest in a particular demographic it directly results in demand of residential spaces thus resulting in a complete makeover of the area.”

Phoenix Marketcity, which is coming up at Kurla, is predicted to change the face of this central suburb. It will floor 2.1-m sq ft project area for retail and boast of one of the biggest multiplexes in the city with 11 screens.

Retail developments in Mumbai like Inorbit Mall at Malad, Center One at Vashi and High Street Phoenix at Lower Parel were among the first to successfully bring in landscape changes in these respective areas. Such developments have had a positive impact on the real estate prices in the areas of their operations. Commercial places like Kamala Mills Compound, One Indiabulls Centre, Raghuvanshi Mills have gained prominence after High Street Phoenix. Adds Misra,”High Street Phoenix has acted as a catalyst for commercial and residential developments for Lower Parel which was not perceived to be good for any kind of development earlier. Today, it is one of the most sought after locations.”

Similarly, several residential projects by leading developers like Rustomjee and Kalpataru, to name a few, have launched their residential projects post the launch of Inorbit Mall in Malad.

Mumbai undoubtedly has a large number of working couples, migrants, DINK (Double Income and No Kid) and families with good disposable incomes and display an increasing appetite for socializing. These retail destinations being closer to such residential hubs add more vibrancy and convenience to the lifestyle.

Says Reema Kundnani, V.P – Marketing & Corporate Communications, Oberoi Realty, “Today, an average Mumbai family spends their weekend in a mall where the lady of the family gets to shop and meanwhile the kids get to play in the fun zone.

The main reason why malls are gaining popularity is because facilities like shopping, entertainment, movies and food are all available under one roof which makes it a hassle-free destination. We started with Oberoi Mall as the initial step of Oberoi Garden City project followed by the other planned developments.”

Similar is the story of central suburbs and Navi Mumbai where the mall culture is fast spreading with the commencement of malls like R-Mall, Nirmal Lifestyle, Korum, Eternity and Center One, Inorbit and Raghuleela in their respective suburbs. Center One, the first mall in Navi Mumbai, has played a significant role in the development of Vashi node.

Says Sandeep Runwal, Director, Runwal Group, “A good retail development changes the entire look of the area. Before the launch of R-City mall the area wasn’t a preferred destination for residential spaces. But now the residential prices have been almost doubled or tripled in the area. A good mall always adds value to the area and people are willing to pay premium price for a good lifestyle.” Runwal Group has established R-Mall, the first mall in Mulund, R-City and R-Odeon in Ghatkopar and R- Mall in Thane.

Clubbed with 7 -7.5% growth in GDP, the organised retail market is expected to grow in the near future, adding convenience and a new buzz to residential locations across the city.

British supermarket chain tests iPad-ready shopping carts.

Want a side of Apple with your supermarket runs?

Shopping Cart with iPAD interface

Shopping Cart with iPAD interface

British grocery store chain Sainsbury’s is testing out new shopping carts with solar-powered iPad docks and speakers (iPads not included).

The trial, first rolled out at a Sainsbury’s location in Kensington, West London, will allow customers to watch live sports and sports-related news after docking their tablets to holders affixed to their shopping trolleys, the Telegraph reports. A built-in battery with a self-charging solar panel keeps the tablets from running out of power, and a sensor on the front bumper will beep if an engrossed shopper gets close to crashing into another cart.

The carts have been developed by broadcaster Sky TV to shine a light on its Sky Go service, which serves up television on the go on Apple devices (an Android app is reportedly coming soon).

Sainsbury’s said in a statement that the shopping carts, which may be rolled out to other stores in Britain if successful, could convince more shoppers to patronize a store.

“We strive to make our customers’ lives simpler, which is why we’re looking at these new trolleys,” said Brett Hart, the supermarket chain’s shopping cart buyer.

100 Retailers in Shopping Centers Released

China Chain Store & Franchise Association (CCFA) convened the Conference on Cooperation, Development and Exchanges Between Commercial Real Estate Developers and Chain Retailers in Ningbo of China’s eastern Zhejiang Province on June 9 and released the book 100 Retailers in Shopping Centers.

CCFA has selected over 100 outstanding chain retailers from its members in various business formats, which have the ability to make expansion nationwide. The Association categorized them according to existing business formats and functions of shopping centers and offered information on different aspects of these brands, such as features of their image, traffic, expansion rate and development plan.
Some are international brands, some are famous brands in China and some are leading brands in regions, including department stores, supermarkets, home appliance stores and household stores and covering all business formats like apparel, fashion, catering, cosmetics, entertainment, education and service. These can meet the demands of commercial properties to attract investment from various stores and provide a wide variety of retailers for commercial real estate developers.
In addition to the information in it, the book has also given professional analysis and different views from experts of shopping centers on the industry’s current situation, trend, investment, financing, planning and design.
It is a great aid for commercial real estate companies to learn and attract investment of their shopping center programs.
Here are some comments by developers of shopping centers on the book:
It is quite useful! The book can give guidance on brand portfolio and combination of business formats and it is a professional reference for the management of shopping centers.
– Wanda Commercial Management
Shopping centers are drivers for creating a fashionable and prosperous city, while brands are the core competitiveness of shopping centers in the market. Best wishes to 100 Retailers in Shopping Centers.
-Sunshine100 Real Estate Group
The book has integrated resources and set up platform for information exchanges, a show of CCFA’s function and value. 100 retailers is the start and we are aiming at 1000.
-Powerlong Real Estate Holdings Limited
The book is an excellent reference to see clearly the essence and core value of shopping centers.
-Shopping Center Department of CR Vanguard
Reading the book will free you from the worries when you are developing shopping centers.
-COFCO Commercial Property Investment Co., Ltd.

Pharma Cos’ Rural Growth Doubles on Sales Push

Rural drug market grew 18.8% in FY11 against 10.9% last year

Pharma companies have seen rural market sales doubling on the back of aggressive marketing initiatives. Improved access to healthcare and rising incomes have seen a stronger perk-up in the underserved rural market over the past year. 

For the 12 months period ended April 2011, India’s rural drug market grew 18.8% compared with 10.9% in the previous year. This is a sharp jump from the growth rate in the same period of 2009, when the rural market had actually shrunk by 2.1%. In April, rural drug sales grew by 28.6% against 12.4% and 2% in 2010 and 2009, respectively, data from IMS Health Information and Consulting Services show.

Though rural markets account for a modest 18% of the . 58,000-crore domestic drug market, drug firms and analysts expect this segment to sustain the high growth rate and increase its share in the pie. Interestingly, while the share of metros — 30 cities with population over 10 lakh — in the country’s drug sales continues to rise, the smaller class I and class II-VI category towns are witnessing a decline. In the last year or so, top Indian companies such as Ranbaxy, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, GSK and Sanofi Aventis have ramped up their sales and marketing force hiring hundreds of sales personnel to push sales to the country’s hitherto neglected hinterland. India’s largest drugmaker by sales, Ranbaxy Laboratories, increased its field force by 1,500 or 50%, the largest recruitment drive in the past decade. Apart from adding marketing muscle, pharma firms have also aligned their product portfolio for the under-penetrated rural markets, said Kumar Hinduja, acting MD at IMS Health Information and Consulting Services India.

For one, French firm Sanofi Aventis plans to double its market share to about 4% by launching generic drugs targeted at rural markets at low prices. For this, it hired about 500 people while other big players such as Dr Reddy’s, GSK and Elder Pharma also added hundreds of marketing personnel to beef up its sales network in rural towns. Sujay Shetty, director, life sciences and medical devices at consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, said companies need not realign their marketing plans because the different segments are complementary. Besides, the rural market numbers were earlier subdued because many traders used to come to big towns and cities to buy their stock, and were thus accounted in non-rural numbers.

Metros continue to grow strongly because they have huge commercial potential, while the relatively lower growths in Class I — VI towns was due to gradual decrease in patient traffic from rural areas to these towns, following improvement in healthcare delivery levels, said Hinduja. 

Bringing Innovation to Your Business Model for Success

When Zipcar launched in 2000, the American car-rental company tried something different. It replaced the traditional daily-car-rental model with hourly rentals as an alternative for short-distance travel. It went on to earn a much higher hourly rate than its competitors, and today the company’s annual revenues are approaching $200 million. Another example is the service provider Live Ops, a company which manages customer-service agents. Instead of employing and training a large work force in a low-cost location such as India, the company built up a pool of loosely affiliated freelancers who work remotely and are paid only for the time they actually spend on calls.

What Zipcar and Live Ops share in their achievements, Girotra and Netessine say, is not some breakthrough in their services but rather innovation within their business and operating models. These companies differentiated themselves from their competitors through innovative business models, instead of focusing purely on product or technology innovation. They offered existing services to existing customers using existing technologies, but using a different operating model.

“There’s creativity in coming up with new products and there’s creativity in coming up with new business models,” Girotra says. “You can invent new products, but to really realize the value it is important to organize and create the right business model around that.”

Two popular companies did exactly that: The Spanish clothing retailer Zara designed a hyper-fast supply chain to deliver new lines of clothing in two to four weeks, allowing the company to keep abreast of evolving, arguably fickle consumer preferences. Technology superstar Apple created an ecosystem that included not only technology and product innovations but also a whole range of complementary software services. The challenge with business-model innovation lies in identifying where and how to make changes. Too often companies focus on improving revenues, costs and resource utilization, but completely ignore the risks associated with the business.

%d bloggers like this: