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Indian retailers explore tech options as digital consumption surges

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Indian retailers are exploring technology options including virtual and augmented realty as the consumer in Asia’s third largest economy is increasingly adapting to digital tools for his consumption needs, top retailers said.

A cross section of India’s top retailers who converged at Phygital Retail Convention in Mumbai for the two-day business event pointed out that the pandemic crisis had pushed malls to be innovative and opt for e-commerce and this may threaten to shrink time to value cycles with rapid digital adoption.

Anurag Mathur, Partner & Leader – Consumer and Retail Business, Strategy8, part of the PwC network commented on this “B2B (Business-to-Business) ecommerce players such as Udaan & ShopX are betting on these lower tier cities accounting for 60 percent of retail spend,”  

He also added “Online fashion sales reported triple digit growth from Tier 2 and 3 cities vis-à-vis less than 20 percent in metros.”

These tier 2 and 3 cities also attracted five times more investments in retail infrastructure compared to metro cities, he said.

Jatin Goel, Executive Director, Omaxe group added to this  “We need to embrace technology including augmented and virtual reality,” 

Augmenting technology assumes significance since India’s consumer retail is witnessing a tectonic shift towards lower-tier cities in a post COVID-19 era with increased digital adoption, according to several retailers at the convention.

By 2025, India’s online retail sales is estimated to rise to 104 billion U.S. dollars from 37 billion U.S. dollars in the year 2020 with social commerce pie within it rising to 18 billion U.S. dollars from 2 billion U.S. dollars, respectively, Mathur said.

Moreover, the significance of social commerce over e-commerce can be gauged from the fact that the total investment in social commerce in 2021 was an overwhelming USD 882 million, he said.

Alluding to the digital trend, Damodar Mall, CEO – Grocery, Reliance Retail pointed that over half of their stores are based in small towns and around 60 percent of the total orders of its grocery app were placed from Tier 2-3 cities of India.

The convention also saw the launch a D2C Yearbook 2021 that captures the most powerful D2C (Direct-to-consumer) brands scripting success in India across over nine categories.

Published by IMAGES Group and Powered by Green Honchos, the coffee table book decodes the journey of 100 prominent brands and their category dominance, funding and revenue trends, customer acquisition strategy, and finally their overall growth numbers.

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