RAI survey indicates sales growth in July 2023 and increasing offline traffic


29 August 2023, Mumbai

The Retailers Association of India (RAI) 42nd edition of ‘Retail Business Survey’ has reported that in terms of pan-Indian retail sales, July 2023 outperformed July 2022 by 9 percent.

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The report also stated the southern part of the country outperformed the national percentage by 3 percent whereas western India was at par with the national performance percentage. However, the northern and eastern states performed below the pan-Indian rate by 2 percent.

Leading zone

South India continues to be the most lucrative region for retailers with more urban pockets, higher income, and a generally superior level of preferences. The CEO of RAI, Kumar Rajagopalan opines this is a sign of recovery, and consumers and retailers have settled in after the two years of pandemic-led lockdowns and disruptions.

He indicated a clear trend wherein consumers research products online and buy them at brick-and-mortar stores. Meanwhile, stores have upped their game in providing better shopping experiences.

Apparel sector saw 8 per cent growth

The survey that compares performances between July 2022 and 2023 also indicates, all retail sectors outperformed this July compared to July 2022. Quick-serve restaurants (QSRs) had the pole position in terms of sales with a 15 percent growth over July 2022, followed close at heel by food and groceries with a 14 per cent growth.

The least growth compared to July 2022 was in the furnishings and furniture sector, the reason being monsoon months are not the preferred time for home makeovers in India.

Data points

Just above furnishing and furniture, footwear came in second from the bottom with 7 per cent growth.  Jewelry experienced a 12 per cent growth and sports goods came in fourth with 11 per cent growth compared to July 2022.

Consumer durables and electronics retail experienced a 9 per cent growth compared to July 2022 while beauty, wellness, and personal care shored up a 10 per cent growth.

Apparel and clothing as a retail sector mopped up a tidy 8 per cent growth compared to July 2022.

Monsoon raining; One of the reasons for the 8 per cent sales growth could well be that many apparel brands and retail chains kicked off their monsoon sale in the pre-monsoon period.

However, the value of e-commerce in India for end of 2023 is projected at $63.2 billion as per a Statista report on the performance of India’s e-commerce.

Return of bricks and mortar retail

The clear trend of Indian consumers visiting and buying from physical stores has been on the rise for a while and online to offline retail has gained considerable traction. Today, we are witnessing an upsurge of online brands, especially the D2C brands vying for offline space either through their own stores or through formats ranging from kiosks to shop-in-shops.

Different strokes for different folks

In India, the best examples are brands like Pepperfry, Nykaa, Zivame, and Lenskart which started their journey as e-commerce entities but now have their stores at prime locations across the country including airports.

Each brand today, whether they begin their journey online or offline, eventually are seen working towards having their presence in both the online and offline space. What’s more, both are equally performing well for them.

As senior Vice President of retail at Technopak, Ankur Bisen points out that online-only brands quickly realized the limitations of being just an e-commerce brand in a market like India.

Brands recognized the virtues of offline presence that it enables brand visibility, creating customer connections, providing reach, instant gratification, etc., and indicating the need to have a brick-and-mortar presence.

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