Indian retail massive shift to online

INTO INDIA has previously commented on the changing face of retail in India. Now here is the BIG NEWS:

The Indian online grocery market is estimated to exceed sales of US$3.19 billion in 2020.

This is a massive 76% jump over the previous year.


FMCG retail in India is being transformed – and it is not just Covid 19 – new younger urban consumers prefer tech shopping.

Flipkart is the biggest online retailer with about 38% market share, closely followed by Amazon.

For Australian businesses, Austrade has established The Australian Store at Amazon India.


Marketing to India’s millions is now about social media and e-commerce

India has 560 million internet users – and growing fast.

Over 450 million will be social media users within 2 years.

India is a young population – the median age is just 27.

E-commerce will be over A$100 billion by 2026.

Australia now has a good starting point thanks to Austrade – we have the AUSTRALIAN STORE at Amazon India.

Check it out.

India also has some of the world’s best digital marketing agencies – one leader was SOCIAL WAVELENGTH which has now become Mirum India – top outfit.

I have great respect for Mirum India which is led so well by Sanjay Mehta and Hareesh Tribrewala.

Indian startups are driving growth and change

There are many drivers of India’s economic growth and transformation – but certainly punching above their weight are Indian startups.

There were over 50,000 startups in India in 2018.

India has the third largest startup ecosystem in the world.

The success is partly driven by corporate India (which is providing much of the funding) and by the Indian Government policies.

Bengaluru is in the world’s top 20 startup cities and ranks in the top 5 of the “fastest growing”.

Some of the best known Indian startups include Ola Cabs, Snapdeal (e-commerce), OYO (hotels), Swiggy (food delivery), Big Basket (food e-commerce) and BYJU’s (ed tech).

Watch this space.

Can you trade with India without leaving home?

As Covid19 has made us all (Australia, UK, USA, Canada etc) more cautious, we are reluctant to travel.

Add to that a leap in Indian online e-commerce for all kinds of products and services.

Is the future of trade with India digital? Do relationships matter any more?

We have always said that the key to long term success with India is in the careful and gradual development of close working relationships. This has to be done face to face, but these days can be supported via phone and video calls.

Deakin University is the prime example of success through perseverance and relationship building – they have had a presence in India for over 25 years.

Ravneet Pawha has led Deakin in India for most of that time and she is now the Deputy Vice President – Global and CEO – South Asia. She knows everybody in decision making on education in India. Ravneet is a regular promoter of Australia and our education at conferences and in Indian media.


The Australian citrus industry is taking a closer look at India but their CEO has told members it could take five years to build a market.


So relationship still matters in dealing with India.

For our diplomacy, we need closer relationships at Indian central and state government levels.

For education, we need to follow the lead of Deakin University and be on the ground over there, building collaborative relationships.

And for products and services, while online is becoming the way of the future, products and services will only become trusted and valued as people have a relationship with your brand.

Australian PM Morrison has been gradually building a closer relationship with India PM Modi and this is producing some progress on agreements and cooperation.

Relationship – it is the way forward with India.


India offered flexibility on RCEP – the world’s biggest trading bloc

RCEP – the initials that describe potentially the world’s biggest trading bloc.

RCEP needs India back – it walked out during earlier negotiations.

To urge India back to the negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), its 15 member countries have offered New Delhi the option of deferring commitments related to opening up its market.

Reports on the RCEP move come on the eve of online discussions between Indian PM Modi and Australian PM Morrison. I hope they can advance the talks.


The move was reported in The Hindu Business Line.

According to some diplomatic sources, the deferral means that India does not need to worry about RCEP’s impact on the broadening of its trade deficit with China and other member countries when it signs the RCEP agreement.

India quit talks with the RCEP — which includes the 10-member ASEAN, China, Japan, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand — in November 2019, as it could not agree on crucial issues including the level of market opening being demanded by the members, especially China.

“If India agrees to the package then it can enjoy the benefits of all other aspects of the RCEP pact such as investments, services and intellectual property rights, without having to worry about the fate of industry and farmers,” the diplomat further said.

The RCEP, once completed, could be the largest trading bloc in the world, accounting for 45 per cent of the world’s population and 40 per cent of world trade.



The emerging symbol of change in India – watch out for Tonique

From the family coal mines to creating India’s largest and classiest liquor boutique, Anith Reddy (pictured below) and his new Tonique boutique liquor stores are a symbol of modern India with special attraction to middle class millennials.

Reddy has just opened his second store – Asia’s largest liquor boutique – in Bengaluru after earlier success in Hyderabad.

He has a store in Mumbai in mind but like the modern Indian entrepreneur, his ambitions are beyond India – he wants to open Tonique in New York.


At 30,000 sq. ft, spread over two floors, Tonique is certainly large. Unlike other liquor supermarkets in Bengaluru, like Madhuloka, Drops Total Spirits and House of Spirits, it is stylishly appointed, with hardwood floors, aroma oil diffusers and subtle mood lighting. “We want to be the Louis Vuitton of the liquor industry,” says Tonique’s founder, Hyderabad-based entrepreneur Anith Reddy.

Reddy, 43, (pictured below) believes buying liquor should be an experience – millennials value “experience” way above possessions and status, so he is on target.


In the store, buyers can interact with sommeliers and brewmasters. The store’s top floor, entirely dedicated to wine (1,000 different labels, including champagne), also houses a 600 sq. ft wine-tasting room that will host events, a bakery that will serve fresh liqueur chocolates and other delicacies, and a cheese section.

Bengaluru is a smart choice – the city’s social life and drinking habits set it apart from the rest of the cities in India. Bangalore has also been a favourite amongst many international brands.

And social behaviour is changing – now 60% of the visitors to Tonique are women, compared to an expectation of around 30%.


Apart from purchasing wine bottles to stock up your wine collection, you can also drink your wine in-store.

The consumer power of India’s millennials is just beginning to have impact and stores like Tonique are moving with this generation. There are 450 million millennials in India and those with money to spend are looking for that special brand. Tonique is showing the way!

Citrus Australia says Indian market needs at least 5 years of relationship building

Of course, Citrus Australia is encouraging growers to think about building relationships in the Indian market. We produce plenty of citrus and more to come.


But it was such a thrill to learn that their CEO, Nathan Hancock (pictured), believes at least a 5-10 year strategy is required.


INTO INDIA has been saying for years – India is for the long-term relationship builders and Citrus Australia is heading the right way.

He has told the industry they might need to accept a lower price just to build this relationship – and then there could be opportunities for price increase.

He rightly says India wants to buy “safe and healthy” food – and Australia has this reputation.


Citrus Australia has been looking at the potential for mandarins – I would too, and one target could be the millennials (age 21-37) who are more open to experimenting with foods.

Flipkart and the amazing growth of Indian startups

Year 2007 saw a landmark event in the history of Indian enterprise – one of many events that mean you should change your strategy for India market entry.

In October 2007, two young Amazon executives – Sachin and Binny Bansal (pictured above) set up an e-commerce website they called Flipkart, India’s most iconic startup story till date.

Flipkart was valued at US$ 21 billion when it was eventually acquired by Walmart in 2018.


The success of the Bansals also inspired many a startup journey in this period. Flipkart was obviously not an isolated event.

More top-notch professionals started sensing lucrative opportunities, leading by example and setting up their own ventures in the 1990’s.  Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Founder & Executive Vice Chairman, Info Edge India Ltd (of fame), and VSS Mani, founder of Justdial, were some notable examples.

Deep Kalra, (pictured below) Founder, Chairman and Group CEO,, got acquainted with the potential of the internet as an avenue for distribution while working at GE Capital and decided to set up the popular travel portal.


The most significant game changer is the manner in which mobile phones and more specifically smartphones have penetrated the Indian market. The direct implication of this has been that a large majority of Indians have, or are about to access the internet for the first time on their mobile phones.

A report by Kantar-IMRB in March 2019 estimated India’s internet users at 566 million, projected to reach 627 million by the end of the year.


Around 97% of India’s netizens use mobile as one of the mediums.

This has created new avenues of growth and spurred startups like InMobi, Ola, Zomato, Practo, UrbanClap, BigBasket, Pepperfry and more.

These startups have been fueled by several other factors – increasing affinity towards entrepreneurship, potential of the Indian market, globalization and the resulting interface with other ecosystems (particularly Silicon Valley), rising confidence towards startup funding and facilitating policies.

According to the NASSCOMZinnov Startup Report 2019, the ecosystem added around 1,300 startups in 2019, taking the total to 8,900 tech startups.

India ranks third both in the number of startups and unicorns. The aggregation space has definitely been the beehive for startup innovation. The top ten unicorns of India as on date include 6 aggregators, two fintech firms and one edtech firm.

Investments by VCs have grown by four times during the period, and number of deals increased from 130 in 2013 to 270 in 2017.

India needs more stories like Delhivery (logistics), Vortex (solar ATMs) and Ather Energy (electric mobility).


A welcome trend is that of well-established corporates engaging with startups to bring greater innovative capabilities in their own DNA. This could be pivotal for India as it seeks to move ahead of the curve in areas like AI and machine learning.

Meantime China is part of this Indian story.

Chinese tech giants Alibaba and Tencent, early-stage investors Hillhouse Capital and CDH Investments, large corporations such as Meituan and Fosun, and smartphone makers Xiaomi and Oppo — a little over 100 Chinese firms have made investments in Indian startups.

Chinese VCs have invested over USD8 billion and hold large stakes in a number of Indian startups, including unicorns and “soonicorns”.

Watch this space…

Thanks to the Trade Promotion Council of India for information for this blog.

India wine harvest down this year – opportunity for Australia?

India’s wine grape harvest is well down this year. A spell of unseasonal rain in October and November has spoiled grapes sown in Sangli and Nashik – both are in the State of Maharashtra in the “cooler” areas near the Western Ghats mountain range.


Pictured above – Sula vineyards – dominant Indian wine brand

On average, the state of Maharashtra crushes 20,000 tonnes of grapes and produces 1.2 million litres of wine – this year, however, just 12,000 to 15,000 tonnes of grapes will be crushed, resulting in the production of 700,000 litres of wine.

I first heard about this from the Trade Promotion Council of India who produce terrific information about trade with India – well worth having a look at their website.

But the figures hide another reality – quality will be down.

Commenting on the issue, Mr. Rajesh Jadhav, secretary of All India Wine Production Association, said, “There will be a 25% reduction in wine production and due to poor quality of the fruit, it will be difficult to maintain quality.”

India’s millennials (there are 450 million of them) are drinking wine – not in quantity but definitely chasing quality.

The Australian wine industry has a presence in India but mostly at the lower end – cheaper or good value wines led by Jacobs Creek.

Time for Australian wines to pursue sales channels in India!

RIL’s Jio moves to shake up India’s retail market in partnership with kirana stores

INTO INDIA wrote recently about Facebook investing in Jio, the Reliance Industries (RIL) internet and  telecoms arm.

Now they have announced a move which could long term shake up the retail space in India.

It seems that forever retail in India has been dominated by “mom and pop” local stores which are known as “kirana stores”. Most retail changes so far have been in competition with these stores.


But kirana stores have a firm grip on the Indian shopping psyche.

So now comes news that RIL has started home delivery of essentials in partnership with local kirana stores in Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan. These services are available under JioMart, an e-commerce venture of Reliance Retail, an RIL subsidiary.


This innovation uses WhatsApp (owned by Facebook), which has more than 400 million users in India. If it goes well, the scheme will be extended to other Indian cities.


Bank of America reports that RIL could digitise 5 million stores by 2023. Kirana stores are keen to go digital, driven in a big way by GST compliance.

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of RIL, is moving fast to change from a petrochemical giant to a mixed business including strong telecom and retail capacity.