India’s Retail Industry: Trends and Insights

India’s Retail Industry: Trends and Insights

The retail industry is an important part of the Indian economy and on track to make an even greater impact in the years to come.  

India’s retail industry is currently the fourth largest in the world and accounts for over 10 percent of the country’s GDP and around 8 percent of the workforce, totaling over 35 million people. 

India’s large population, increasing urbanization, and rising discretionary spending among consumers make it one of the best countries worldwide to invest in retail space, according to Invest India. 

The largest retail segments include food and grocery (63 percent), apparel and footwear (9 percent), and consumer electronics (7 percent). 

Retail Industry Growth 

The Indian retail market is growing quickly and expected to reach $2 trillion by 2032. 

Much of this growth is attributed to the expansion of malls, which are becoming more prevalent in tier-2 and tier-3 cities due to lower rental rates and operating costs. In 2022, malls and shopping centres represented roughly 12 percent of India’s total retail market and 1.2 percent of the country’s total GDP. 

The Hindu Business Line reports that approximately 50 percent of India’s shopping mall stock is concentrated in eight major cities: Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, the National Capital Region (NCR), and Pune. The NCR leads with a 34 percent share, followed by Mumbai at 18 percent and Bengaluru at 17 percent. 

Also driving the industry’s growth is a nationwide rise in e-commerce. According to Invest India, the country is poised to become the third largest online retail market by 2030, with an estimated annual gross merchandise value of US$350 billion. With more households gaining access to internet and TV, e-commerce brands have more opportunity than ever to reach potential consumers and generate sales. 

Workforce Outlook: Diversifying and Reskilling 

Propelled by the industry’s significant growth, experts are predicting the creation of 25 million new jobs by 2030. 

However, the demographics of the country’s retail workforce are changing, as more young people join the labour force. Like we’ve seen in other industries, the skills that retail workers need for success are evolving, as well. E-commerce is on an upward trajectory, and employers are shifting their focus to digital literacy as a result. 

Related: IoT Interview Questions, Part One: Manufacturing, Automotive, Retail 

As part of this transformation, more retailers have adopted digital payment systems—so retail workers today and moving forward must be comfortable with the relevant technologies. While Gen Z employees may have less of a learning curve, employers will need to make a concentrated effort to upskill or reskill existing workers who require more training. 

Aiding India’s shift toward tech-enabled retail is the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), which was established in 2021 to create a more inclusive system for e-commerce for sellers of all types and sizes. 

To keep up with the industry’s growth, retail employers will also need to focus on recruiting more women to open positions. Compared to other industries, the retail sector has historically employed more women than men—but much of this progress was undone during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, and businesses are still trying to make up the difference. 

The share of women in the retail and quick-service restaurant (QSR) workforce was 33 percent in FY22, down from 65 percent in FY20. 

Related: 5 Strategies for Gender Inclusion and Diversity Hiring in India 

Retail Opportunities 

The retail industry employs a wide range of workers with varying skillsets and qualifications. Common retail jobs include: 

  • Retail Sales Associate 
  • Store Manager 
  • Data/Business Analyst 
  • Supply Chain Manager 
  • Inventory Manager 
  • Merchandiser 
  • Social Media Manager 
  • Product Manager 

Acara Solutions has supported the hiring needs of many clients in the retail and e-commerce sectors. If you’re ready to find the talent your retail business needs for success in 2024, contact us today. 

This blog was authored by Sayantan Biswas, Associate Vice President, Business Growth.