India flag India: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in India

Evolution of the Sector
There has been a significant expansion in distribution channels in India during the past few years. Indian retail industry is one of the fastest growing in the world. According to Invest India, the overall retail market is set to cross the $2 trillion mark by 2032 from $690 billion in 2021. The Indian retail e-commerce market, which amounted to $72 billion in 2021, is also set to grow at an annual growth rate of 30% for a gross value of goods of $350 billion by 2030. Retail is India's largest industrial sector, currently accounting for over 10% of India's GDP and 8% of total employment.

Most Indian manufacturers use a three-tier selling and distribution structure that has evolved over the years. This structure involves redistribution stockists, wholesalers, and retailers. As an example, an FMCG company operating on an all-India basis could have between 40 and 80 redistribution stockists (RS). The RS will sell the product to between 100 and 450 wholesalers. Finally, both the RS and wholesalers will service between 250,000-750,000 retailers throughout the country. The RS will sell to both large and small retailers in the cities as well as interior parts of India. Depending on how a company chooses to manage and supervise these relations, its sales staff may vary from 75 to 500 employees.  Wholesaling is profitable by maintaining low costs with high turnover, with typical FMCG product margins anywhere from 4-5%. Many wholesalers operate out of wholesale markets. In urban areas, the more enterprising retailers provide credit and home-delivery.  Now, with the advent of shopping malls, companies talk of direct delivery and discounts for large retail outlets.

In 2021, e-commerce generated $63 billion in revenues, growing by 26% compared to 2020 (ecommerceDB). India will have 500 million online buyers by 2030, compared to 150 million in 2020, with digital spending projected to increase more than tenfold to $800 billion and account for more than a third of all retail sales by 2030.

Market share
India’s food and grocery retail industry is considered the third largest in the world with sales reaching $858 billion in 2022 and expected to grow annually by 8.17% (Statista). The food and grocery sector constitutes nearly 70% of the total retail market in India. The food retail sector in India is comprised of modern grocery retailers along with e-commerce, representing 10% of the market share and traditional retail formats, specifically neighborhood shops called kirana stores, which account for 90% of all retail sales.

Due to the Covid-19 crisis, the food retail sector in India has undergone changes.  India's largest food retailer, Reliance, has worked with WhatsApp to expand its presence in the e-commerce market by linking kirana shops to its online platform and supply chain. Due to blocking restrictions and social distance regulations, Indian customers have increasingly turned to e-commerce platforms to secure essential food supplies. Thus, many retailers have organised themselves with and commerce services, Amazon India has expanded its Amazon Pantry services to over 300 cities.

The unorganized sector in food retail is predominantly dominated by general stores, kirana stores, convenience stores and street markets. On the other hand, the organized sector includes gourmet stores, department stores, discount stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets, e-tailers and cash-and-carry formats; there are mainly Indian firms.

The major food retail chains in India are: Reliance Retail, Future Value Retail, Avenue Supermarts Limited, More Retail Limited, Star Bazaar, Spencer’s Retail, Walmart India, Spar Hypermarket and Namdhari’s Fresh.
Retail Sector Organisations
Retailers Association of India

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.


© eexpand, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: June 2024