RAI – the apex body which represents the organised & semi-orgainsed Retailers and Corporates chains presented its 26th edition of the Retail Business Survey. According to an official press release, Mar. ‘22 showed a growth of 22% over the same period in 2021and a phenomenal 12% growth compared with 2019, the pre-pandemic year. It is to be noted that Mar. 19 was shrouded with a lot of uncertainty ahead of the General Assembly elections which was held nationwide over 2 months.
Speaking about the survey results, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India (RAI), said, “The removal of pandemic-related restrictions has resulted in all-round growth of retail businesses across regions and categories including categories that were hitherto showing weak sales like garments and footwear. However, when looking at the performance, one needs to factor in the inbuilt inflation in most products like garments, electronics and some FMCG products.”
Retailers in Western India reported a 37% growth over 2021, the highest among all regions while South reported the lowest growth of 21%, perhaps due to a higher base in the previous year. East India grew 26% and North India by 28%, thereby indicating an overall positive consumer spending trend across India. Most states have relieved strict norms for gathering in public events, opened up state borders for travel, including vacation and leisure and social distancing norms are not the norm anymore! This has propelled higher movement of people within cities as well as outside, leading to an increased level of shopping and dining.
Curiously, Consumer Durables as a segment witnessed the highest category level growth of 45% over last year and 60% over 2019. This is a clear indication that Indians are embracing personal electronic devices such as laptops, tablet computers and smart phones for work & entertainment. The fiercely competitive market has witnessed lower discounts in the past 12 months than before, with a higher demand for most products. New launches of TVs, Washing Machines & Refridgerators have seen more takers than ever before, though online continues to dominate the proportion of shopping.
Home furnishing & furniture category witnessed second highest category level growth over 2021, indicating preference for personal comfort to fulfil WFH better than before, with more and more companies offering flexi– hybrid working models. Beauty products and wellness continues to witness lower demand and shrunk by 11% over 2019, indicating fewer takers, perhaps due to partial closure of workplaces.
With the economy opening up well over the past 2 quarters, FY 2022-23 could well be among the best over the past half-decade, unless new variants pose risks for the estimated business recovery. And with booster shots now available for just Rs. 225, it is expected that most people who would have taken vaccine doses would comply with this as well, thereby building immunity, both within as well as in perception!