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CDIT continues to click for malls

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Sandeep Kumar
Sandeep Kumar
A multimedia journalist with over eleven years of experience in print and digital media, Sandeep Kumar is assistant editor with Images Group. Books, retail, sports and cinema are an inextricable part of his life.

CDIT is still an important category for shopping centres, contributing to a substantial amount of footfall, traffic and variety

New Delhi: Croma, Indian retail chain of consumer electronics and durables by Infiniti Retail launched more than 50 outlets in last six months, and most of the stores were opened in shopping malls. In May, Croma opened nine outlets, out of which the stores opened in malls were, one at Pawan Mega Mall in Sonipat (10,000 sq. ft.), Garuda Mall in Bengaluru on (7,500 sq. ft.), Raghuleela Mall in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra (11,302 sq. ft.) and TDI Connaught Plaza in Mohali, Punjab (10,600 sq. ft).

CDIT stores have long since been an important part of the retail mix of a mall, contributing to its appeal and footfall. We look at how their role in a mall has changed over the years.

Post Pandemic Growth

CDIT witnessed a notable surge in the post pandemic era. And there is a general consensus among industry experts that it is due to the total dependence on electronics as a mode to communicate and work.

“As people adapted to remote work and digital connectivity became essential, the CDIT category gained significant traction. This change has positively impacted shopping malls as they can leverage this trend to attract more footfall. By offering a diverse range of CDIT products, malls can position themselves as one-stop destinations for tech-savvy consumers seeking convenience and variety,” feels Ravinder Choudhary, Vice President, Vegas Mall.

According to Arijit Chatterjee, Chief Operating Officer, Junction Mall, Durgapur, work from home has been a key driver of the growth of this category post pandemic. “Due to its day-to-day use of this segment in work life in form of WFH (work from home), online meetings, online classes of both schools and colleges, work in other sector leading to the digital format are some of the reasons leading to the growth of the sector,” he says.

Susil S. Dungarwal, Chief Mall Mechanic®, Beyond Squarefeet™ Advisory feels that CDIT was a thriving category even before the COVID-19 era. However, in the aftermath of the pandemic, this category has experienced a substantial uptick due to a significant surge in demand for CDIT products.

“Consumers have shifted their perspective on this category from being a luxury to becoming an absolute necessity. This shift in mindset has proven advantageous for shopping malls, as it has driven consumers to visit CDIT stores for product exploration, ultimately influencing their purchasing choices,” Dungarwal says.

Gerald Mathew, General Manager Operations, Mumbai-based Growel’s 101 Mall feels that remote work and a lack of domestic help have lead to a notable increase in the demand for CDIT products.

“The shift to remote work prompted individuals to invest in improved laptops, printers, phones, and other electronic devices, and this trend of embracing technology-driven lifestyles continues. A majority of shopping malls are currently observing a surge in the purchase of electronics,” says Mathew.

Rohit Gopalani – SVP, Head of Leasing Business, Inorbit Malls (India) Pvt Ltd explains, “With remote work becoming the new norm and reduced expenditures on commuting, dining out, and other related costs, employees found themselves with more disposable income. These factors along with the need to be well connected remotely have contributed towards boost in the sales of CDIT as a category.”

“In the near future, we believe that this trend will continue, and this category will perform even better numbers further contributing to the consumption in malls,” he adds.

Bigger the better

Among the various formats within the CDIT category, mall developers feel that Large Format Retail Stores (LFRs) selling electronics and gadget stores hold particular relevance for shopping malls. Having a mix of all brands gives better availability and variety to customers.

“The stores spread across over 15,000 sq. ft. are the best suited for any mall, as then the CDIT player will be able to showcase a complete range of products with variety of offerings to the consumer,” states Dungarwal of Beyond Squarefeet Advisory.

“Such stores provide a one stop solution for consumers’ varied tech needs with their wide range of products. Also, we have seen a good uptick in exclusive brand outlets of mobile and laptops,” Gopalani from Inorbit Malls adds.

These stores align well with the mall environment, as they provide interactive displays, hands-on experiences, and expert assistance that engage shoppers.

“Additionally, these formats tend to draw diverse demographics, contributing to higher footfall and extended dwell time, which benefits the overall mall ecosystem,” says Choudhary from Vegas Mall.

Mathew from Growel’s 101 Mall too feels that large format multi-brand stores more pertinent as they provide an extensive range of products and brands, catering to diverse customer requirements.

The Right Space

The specific stores and brands occupying CDIT space in malls widely depends on the mall size, location and target demographics. On an average, malls managed by Beyond Squarefeet Advisory allot 12,000- 15,000 sq. ft. to CDIT stores. At Growel’s 101, about 11,493 sq. ft. is allocated to CDIT stores while at Junction Mall it is 10, 727 sq. ft.

Although Inorbit malls did not specify the size, the company did share that CDIT stores occupy about 2-5% of the total space in its malls, depending on a particular mall’s overall size, catchment, and positioning among others.

Vegas dedicates about 12, 172 sq. ft to CDIT. “This allocation reflects the significance of the CDIT category in our overall tenant mix, ensuring shoppers have ample options to explore and engage with the latest tech products,” says Choudhary.

There has been a notable rise in the demand for high-value items over the years, and hence malls are enhancing their brand selection to align to the changing consumer trends.

“At Junction Mall, we are willing to add more retail space for CDIT. Since as on date, we hardly have any space to lease to CDIT categories. But definitely we have plans to create space in future,” added Chatterjee.

Vegas’s current arrangement reflects a curated selection of CDIT players that cater to different customer segments, ensuring that our mall remains a go-to destination for all things tech. “Over the years, our approach to CDIT players has evolved to align with changing consumer behaviours and industry trends. We have prioritized creating an experiential shopping environment within our mall by offering a mix of well-known CDIT brands alongside emerging ones,” adds Choudhary.

Inorbit malls understands that one notable advantage of the CDIT category is that each brand typically caters to a distinct consumer base, which has allowed us to prioritize zoning less, given the diverse appeal of these brands.

“We’ve acknowledged this considerable potential within this category and are actively working to optimise our spaces to accommodate these brands more efficiently,” states Gopalani.

CDIT as Anchors

Croma, Reliance Digital, Sangeetha Mobiles, Jumbo Electronics are some of the brands which have a notable presence in malls irrespective of their location and size. Having a CDIT brand as an anchor store is a common approach for malls across Tier 1, 2 and 3 cities. Until and unless, the mall is a themed or a luxury mall, CDIT stores in malls is a common practice.

“Integrating CDIT as an anchor store can be a successful strategy, often yielding comparable or even better results than department or apparel stores,” explains Choudhary.

The rapidly evolving nature of CDIT products keeps consumer interest high, attracting repeat visits. Moreover, as these stores offer experiential shopping, they enhance overall footfall and encourage shoppers to spend more time within the mall. This can lead to increased cross-store visits, benefiting other stores within the mall as well. “Besides, the added attraction to try out newly launched products imparts such stores an edge over the online marketplace,” he adds.

The high average bill value works in the favour of this category and contributes towards substantial numbers from CDIT stores in isolation.

“Naturally, as an anchor, these stores contribute significantly to the total mall consumption as well. These factors make this category essential in the retail mix of a mall as the offerings for the customer would remain incomplete without it,” adds Gopalani from Inorbit malls.

According to Dungarwal, a CDIT store might function as an anchor, but only in cases where the mall itself is relatively small. “Although CDIT could certainly add to the range of options available to consumers, it cannot serve as a substitute for a department store in any aspect,” he adds.

Multiple CDIT Stores in Mall

Having multiple CDIT stores in a mall can be a strategic move, provided that the stores offer distinct value propositions and cater to different segments of the consumer base.  This might be a good strategy if the mall is very large.

“While competition between similar stores can stimulate consumer interest, offering a variety of brands, product lines, and services can create a comprehensive CDIT shopping experience. However, a balance needs to be struck to avoid oversaturation, which might dilute the unique appeal of each store,” says Choudhary.

For Growels 101, a single large-format CDIT store, Croma, alongside numerous exclusive outlets for well-known brands, has yielded positive results.

“A good mix in the category can look like a single LFR Multiple Brand Outlet (MBO) supported by a few smaller exclusive brand outlets (EBOs) which add more value in terms of overall business and offerings while taking up lesser area in the mall, indicating greater efficiency,” says Gopalani from Inorbit malls.

Sushil Dungarwal explains that in the scenario where the mall’s size exceeds one million square feet, it becomes reasonable to incorporate multiple CDIT stores. “This approach offers consumers a variety of choices to select from, ultimately contributing to increased foot traffic within the mall,” he adds.

However, Chatterjee believes having multiple EBOs  adds value with only one multi-brand large-format CDIT store.

Revenue Says it All   

CDIT has proven to be a robust revenue generator for malls yielding substantial monies through shared profits under the revenue-share model. CDIT stores have consistently demonstrated year-over-year growth and have become increasingly influential contributors to overall mall revenue.

“Generally, CDIT stores exhibit an annual growth rate of around 15-20%. Nonetheless, in recent years, their growth rate has surpassed these figures due to escalating demand for consumer durables and the continual evolution of technology. Consequently, the need to replace and upgrade gadgets further drives this growth,” states Dungarwal.

According to Choudhary, the rapid pace of technological advancements and changing consumer preferences drive frequent upgrades and replacements, leading to consistent demand. “Compared to the previous year, the growth percentage in CDIT sales has notably outpaced other categories. The exact percentage can vary, but this trend underscores the importance of the CDIT category in driving mall revenue,” he says.

At Growel’s 101 Mall, CDIT category has been performing exceptionally well with high conversion rates and exponential double-digit growth.

“Major CDIT players prefers rental in revenue share. Since the topline of this category is higher, revenue share adds better rental compared to MG.  In the current year till date there is a very marginal growth of around 6-7%, considering business of this category in our property,” says Chatterjee.

Inorbit has witnessed double digit growth in CDIT year-over-year as per Gopalani.

Footfall and Popularity 

As per the data maintained by CDIT stores, well-established CDIT stores contribute to about 2-3% of the total foot traffic in most malls. “This percentage could go a bit high in the tier 1, 2 cities mall,” states Dungarwal.

For Junction Mall, CDIT caters to a footfall of 7%. For Vegas, the footfall percentage from CDIT stores is 5%.

In conclusion

It is estimated that the Indian Appliances and Consumer Electronics (ACE) is expected to more than double to reach Rs. 1.48 lakh crore ($21.18 billion) by 2025 from US$ 9.84 billion in 2021. The demand is expected to come from rural India as well with the rapid digitalization of Bharat, ensuring that CDIT will continue to remain an evergreen category in malls.

Junction mall: CDIT Stores

CDIT Brand in mallSize of the storeLocation (floor)
LG – Video Plaza3260 LG Floor
Samsung Exclusive1536UG Floor
One+701UG Floor
Apple Store1050UG Floor
VIVO11842nd Floor
OPPO8802nd Floor
Mi Studio9032nd Floor
Akshara Mobiles3202nd Floor
Baba Telecom3002nd Floor
Shree Telecom3752nd Floor
The Ice Berg221 2nd Floor

 

Inorbit mall: CDIT Stores

CDIT Brand in mallSize of the storeLocation (floor)
 EBOs 1200-1800 sq. ft.Depending upon the zoning
MBOs7000-12000 sq. ft.Depending upon the zoning
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