Ive been hearing about the venture for sometime now, thanks to my dad who keeps me quite informed on businesses and the retail market in India. I smiled and carried on. Today [well, it was out a few days ago, but I read it today] I came across this article, and somehow it’s unsettling.
“With India’s economy growing at 8%-plus annually, retail sales are set to soar from $300 billion today to some $637 billion by 2015, estimates local consultancy KSA Technopak. But the market is now dominated by millions of tiny mom-and-pop shops. An antiquated transportation system and an army of middlemen have hobbled the development of homegrown retail chains with nationwide reach. And foreigners have been shut out by laws barring them from operating anything other than single-brand outlets.“
You can read the whole article here
Those numbers are huge, nothing to sneeze at, but look at it from a micro-level, from where these mom-and-pop shops are at. India thrives on such businesses, sure it’s always comfortable for a consumer to be able to buy rice, a few pens and a vaccuum cleaner all under the same roof, but that seems to jar the whole purpose of livelihood for tons of small business owners all over the country.
MNC’s have made it big in India, every trip I go, am amazed with what’s available and what’s being afforded by the average Joan/John. There have been buy all under one roof kinda stores that have mushroomed over the last few years, and the experience to me as a shopper has been mixed. The convenience is surely encouraging, but I’ve tried not to succumb to it. Shopping in India has a whole charm to it, hopping through stores, finding bargains and finally coming home exhasuted, but I speak like a tourist, as a guest of few weeks, not as a resident. When I compare it with shopping here in teh US, I still compare but tend to focus and completeall necesseties under one roof. The distances and traffic is too cumbersome to navigate to save a few bucks on the price of the product. I value my time more than a few cents, but I have a few worthy friends who think otherwise and hence each to their own.
I have wandered way off there – coming back to what started this whole rambling. Walmart is an icon for cheap affordable prices for your basics. I shop enough there and depending on what you were looking for, the quality isn’t too shabby. I prefer Walmart to Kmart definitely and though Target has an upscale look to it, their prices reflect it, and I occasionally have found some unique and exotic stuff to have fun with there. So..
1. Would I like to see huge Walmarts on my next trip home?
Heck no. :-)
2. Would an average consumer like walmart?
No idea on what they’d want to market, but am sure it would range between plastics and steel to clothes, and snacks. Perhaps electronics.
3. So would Walmart continue to market ‘made in china’ ?
I just wouldn’t understand the whole business model if that’s what it comes down to. Why have Walmart come in if Indian goods aren’t part of their inventory? If it is, wouldn’t Walmart have an extra 10 rupees for their overhead? Would that help an average consumer in the long run?
4. How huge an impact would this kind of an infrastructure have on a small business owner?By this I mean the guy who hawks wares off Pondy bazaar or the small shops that sell you ribbons and buttons, and the one who makes killer parottas? Will they continue to make money? Profitable money – enough to make it all worthwhile, and if not, where would they go? Is India a huge enough consumer to withstand the rush of the giants, sucking in all that’s sweet and tidy?
What do you think?