For four years, Walmart had a freeze on its business in India, but that has ended with the opening of a new store in Agra.
The enormous Indian market — India Brand Equity Foundation reports $57 billion in retail spending in 2014 — has been tough for foreign retailers to penetrate. The current administration, however, is highly motivated to make it easier to do business in India. A large middle class, increasing urbanization, and rising wages are supporting what India’s retail sector is calling a “Retail Renaissance”. Retail spending is expected to double by 2020, according to the Boston Consulting Group.
Walmart’s focus is on B2B sales, with 21 wholesale cash and carry stores under the name Best Price. 50 more stores are planned. Ecommerce is also a big part of the plan. Industry insiders predict that online sales may equal in-store sales within five years.
Google India reports that 35 million Indians currently shop online. The rising generation, comfortable with technology and accustomed to greater consumption of consumer goods, is expected to bring the number of online shoppers to 100 million in the next two years.
Walmart is ready, with ecommerce integration in all the current stores and online memberships available.
Suppliers should be ready to consider whether India should be part of their strategy going forward.