Sep 5, 2016
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Shift in consumer behaviour impacts retail sector

Sep 5, 2016

The changes in the behavioural patterns of Indian consumers have posed challenges for the retail sector, reveals a latest report. Increased use of smartphones, health and environment concerns, technological innovations and the rising complexity in the decision-making process are some of the key areas of change that will impact retail businesses.

Rise in incomes of consumers, their younger profiles and growing access to the internet are identified as the driving forces for this shift by the FICCI-PwC report, Shaping Consumer Trends. It reveals that there are certain business trends that are visibly unfolding and creating a large number of opportunities for consumer-driven companies.

These trends include a shift in the purchase behaviour towards online buying, preferences for products and services that are perceived to be relatively healthy, evolving desire for service and rise of convenience. Consumers have also realised that their collective networks are enabling them to demand improved products and services from companies, leading them to have ‘crowd clout.’

The Indian government is introducing policy reforms by liberalising foreign investment norms and creating a single window clearance policy to facilitate business in the country, says the report. However, there is a need for further investment under the ‘Make in India’ campaign for India to compete with the developed nations of the world and make a mark in the sector.

“Globally, investors are looking at India not only for its market size but as a destination with significant long-term potential. The evolving regulatory framework and the dynamism of the government have opened new avenues and have two-fold benefits on fulfilling objectives of make in India, and of increasing consumption demand in the country. This is the time when most regulations are and should be created around consumers. In particular, the food and beverages segment has opened up the extensive scope of manufacturing and trading in the country,” said Akash Gupt, partner and leader – Regulatory Services, PwC India.

The FICCI-PwC report recommends giving a status to the retail sector industry to make companies eligible for priority sector lending as well as focusing on improving ‘ease of doing business’ in the country to improve the regulatory environment and India’s rank on the global index.

It also suggests implementing GST early, providing fiscal incentives to the industry, implementing a unified retail policy on a pan-India basis, harmonising various laws such as Legal Meterology, BIS and FSSA and having a product specific policy for foreign investment in the trading sector. 

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