Essential goods will fuel the Indian retail industry's growth in the coming quarters amid the coronavirus-induced slowdown, with consumer expenditure continuing to remain focused on these items, particularly food and grocery, according to a report.
As per 'Indian Retail- Certainty Despite Headwinds', a joint study by the Retailers Association of India (RAI) and real estate services firm ANAROCK, the average bill value for essential goods has gone up 1.5 times after lifting of lockdown to Rs 900 per basket at present from Rs 650 per basket in early-March.
Categories such as food and grocery, followed by apparel, fast-moving consumer durable and electronics, furniture and home furnishings and quick-service restaurant will see a V-shaped recovery in the next 2-3 quarters, the report said.
It added that other segments like beauty, wellness and personal care and home essentials may take 4-6 quarters to recover fully. Overall, the report also found that 70 per cent of retailers anticipate business recovery in more than six months and 20 per cent in more than a year.
According to the report, in the wake of the pandemic, omni-channel retail has taken centre stage with in-mall stores doubling as urban warehouses to ensure fast delivery. Besides, hygiene and sanitation are now of prime importance in malls and touchpoints automation and digitalisation is the new norm.
RAI Chief Executive Officer Kumar Rajagopalan said, "Omnichannel was gaining importance before the pandemic. The pandemic has enhanced the importance of retailers having an omnichannel strategy since concepts of digital browsing, click and collect, curbside delivery, and video shopping have gained importance."
He further said COVID-19 has propelled consumers to purchase based on convenience either as delivery to home or by shopping at offline nearby stores or by time-scheduled shopping.
ANAROCK Retail MD and CEO Anuj Kejriwal said omnichannel retailing is evolving rapidly with brands collaborating actively to enhance their reach.
"Many are using malls or in-mall stores as urban warehouses to ensure a faster delivery to customers and are tying up with existing e-commerce and delivery portals to leverage their existing network and ensure reduced additional cost," he said.
COVID-19 will work as a catalyst for the growth of organised retail and e-commerce in India. Online spending is on a marked rise with online shoppers projected to increase from 15 per cent in 2019 to 50 per cent of the total online population by 2026, Kejriwal added.
When it comes to sanitised shopping experience, the report found that mall owners are looking to minimise touchpoints by going digital and sanitising cars before letting them in the parking spots.
"With valet services, cars are sanitised before and after the car is returned to a customer. Sanitisation of customers' belongings before mall entry also figures high on the list," it added.
Store operators are sanitising apparel after every trial, and steam-ironing them before returning them to the rack after 24 hours. The report also said many retailers are also using technology for consumers to order before entering the store, or for home delivery of products. Automation and contactless technology will redefine the shopping experience in the future, and retailers will need to adopt such technologies.