Here’s a big generalisation – almost every product and service can find an eager market in India – the Indian economic growth story means demand for everything cannot be met – so that means opportunity for you.
But how to approach India?
First – think longer term than you normally do, but keep in mind modern India can be either fast or slow and there is no way of predicting.
Second – leave your ego behind. Pretty much every western company that has succeeded in India has done so on the support of a strong local Indian team across all levels. To do this, they have effectively left their ego behind.
Third – India wants your business, NOT your culture. You will struggle if you want to transfer your “culture” to India – putting your expat team in long-term charge of the local team is a risky approach.
Fourth – use your expat team wisely. Expats can come and go as needed – but your business needs longevity in India and that is what an Indian management team can provide.
Fifth – smart companies that go into India also ensure they hire Indians into the Head Office team, at the right level in HO guiding and advising the HO team.
I want to thank my friend Gopi Shankar for drawing my attention to this stunning development for Indian startups. Gopi is based in Bangalore (Bengaluru) and is Director – Trade & Industry | Global Victoria, Victorian Government Trade and Investment.
Money flowed into Indian startups in 2021 like never before. The ecosystem broke all the previous records in terms of fundraising and minting unicorns during the 12 month–period. According to data compiled by Fintrackr, total investments that flowed into Indian startups stood close to $38 billion in 2021. This is over three times more than the $11.1 billion in total funding that startups received during 2020.
Fintrackr’s data further shows that 1,391 startups mopped up $37.98 billion across 1,625 deals in 2021 which included 380 growth and late-stage startups and 948 early-stage startups. Among them, 297 startups, mainly early-stage, did not disclose their deal size.
Follow the lead of successful businesses who have advanced by integrating Indian culture and values into their offering.
Abandon the “quick sale” old mindset and adopt patience and a long-term view.
Model your business on Macquarie Bank – this works whether you are a large or small enterprise. Their central plank for India was partnering is the key to success.
Abhishek Poddar, Managing Director, Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) “India is one market where you need deep experience if you’re going to be successful. You have to take the time to appreciate and understand its unique culture and ways of working.”
Be clear about what India wants. Macquarie saw infrastructure and clean energy opportunities and focused just on them.
Most successful businesses in India have some philanthropic activity – this is highly worthwhile and well regarded in India.
Establish good relations with Government at Central and State levels – this is vital to being accepted in India.
Consider options such as acquisitions and partnerships which can speed up your market acceptance.
Be there for the long haul – Deakin University continues to make gains in India and has been present there for over 25 years.
Develop a local Indian team and allow them to apply their own culture – within your larger business culture.
Retail growth in north and west India (Delhi and Mumbai) biggest increase
According to the Retailers Association of India’s (RAI) latest business survey, retail sales in India increased 10% in February this year compared to the same month last year, indicating that the industry is returning to normalcy. The increase is also a 6% increase over February 2020.
Growth in the regions might provide a guide on where your best brand opportunities are – Retail firms in all regions showed growth in February 2022, with sales in West India up 16% YoY, East India increased by 4%, North India increased by 17%, and South India had a 4% increase.
Consumer durables and electronics, food and grocery, and quick service restaurants (QSR) all saw strong YoY increase of 28%, 19%, and 16%, respectively.
The apparel and footwear categories have also shown double-digit increase.
Talking to your State Government India business offices and to Austrade is a good idea – and have a chat with those who have been there before you.
According to research by London & Partners and its analysis of Dealroom.co investment data, India was the second-largest global venture capital investment hub for digital retail startups in 2022, increasing sharply by 175% from US$ 8 billion in 2020 to US$ 22 billion in 2021. Last year, India came in second to the United States, which attracted US$ 51 billion in investment, followed by China, which received US$ 14 billion, and the United Kingdom, which received US$ 7 billion. Bengaluru led the way in terms of worldwide Venture Capital (VC) investments in digital shopping in 2021, with US$ 14 billion, followed by Gurugram with US$ 4 billion and Mumbai with US$ 3 billion.
Bengaluru was a global leader in digital shopping investment last year. The metropolis nearly tripled its inflows of investments from US$ 5 billion in 2020 to take first place, ahead of New York City (second), San Francisco (third), London (fourth), and Berlin (fifth). Bengaluru was placed fifth among cities with the potential to produce future unicorns, just behind London, according to the research. Following a large consumer shift to e-commerce platforms during the pandemic, global venture capital investment in digital shopping more than doubled in 2021. In 2021, total worldwide venture capital investment is estimated to have reached a new high of US$ 140 billion, up from US$ 68 billion in 2020.
Ricky Ponting has teamed up with Mr Riggs for the India wine market
Sam Freeman is Trade and Investment Commissioner at Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) in India and is working with the Aussie wine industry to boost sales in India.
Now he is supporting Ricky Ponting (Ponting Wines) and Ben Riggs (Mr Riggs) in entering the India market.
He says: “Australia has witnessed a dramatic rise in the volume and value of wine being imported into India. The last 12 months have seen 81% growth in Australian exports to India and 10 new brands entering the market.
“Austrade is working with a number of wineries across Australia, to assist in their access to this small but emerging market. It was great to see coverage of one of our clients in Glam Adelaide, expressing their interest in the market and the potential it holds.
“It’s been a pleasure working with Ricky, David & Ben to help them build a strategy and channel for Ponting Wines to enter India. We look forward to seeing their labels on shelves soon.”
Conservative figures put the Indian middle class at 228 million
How big is India’s middle and wealthy class? And where are they?
Although this information is essential to your India engagement strategy, until now the answers have really only been speculation.
Lack of data continues to be a challenge, and estimates can vary wildly.
So, INTO INDIA brings you some numbers robust enough for you to use in your planning.
While some estimates put the middle class at 500 million or more, using a much tighter definition of middle class, Hurun Research produced much smaller numbers than most. They defined middle class as households who have more than over A$4,682 per year to spend on housing, travel, cars, education and products. These numbers found 57 million Indian households in the combined class of middle class and wealthy. Now, assuming each household might be four people, that becomes 228 million people.
Most of my research – but not all of it – comes from the Hurun Report, a leading research, luxury publishing and events group established in London in 1998 with presence in India, China, France, UK, USA, Australia, Japan, Canada and Luxembourg. It is widely recognized world-over for its comprehensive evaluation of the wealthiest individuals across the globe.
There are 412,000 dollar-millionaire households/affluent households in India with a networth of at least US$1 million.
Hurun Rich Listers have a wealth of Rs 1,000 crore (142 million), the report says, and pegs the number of such cumulative households in India at 3,000.
At the other end of the spectrum is the ‘Indian middle class’ that has earnings of over Rs 2.5-lakh per annum (over A$4,682) and a net worth of less than Rs 7 crore (A$1.3 million). 56,400,000 families in India fall under this category – approximately 224 million individuals.
The McKinsey Global Institute, which defines India’s middle class as households with real annual disposable incomes between 200,000 and 1 million rupees (US$3,606 to $18,031), estimates the ranks of middle class will more than double by 2025 to 583 million—41 percent of the population.
Where are they?
The top 10 states home to 70.3 per cent of millionaire households in India are Maharashtra (capital is Mumbai) has the highest number of millionaires (56,000), followed by Uttar Pradesh (36,000), Tamil Nadu (35,000), Karnataka (33,000) and Gujarat (29,000). City-wise, Mumbai is home to most millionaires (16,933), followed by Delhi (16,000), Kolkata (10,000), Bengaluru (7,582) and Chennai (4,685).
Aslany, who published a study on the Indian middle class in 2019, found that contrary to most assumptions, a significant segment of the Indian middle class resides in rural areas. About 28.05% of India’s population was middle class, Aslany found, adding that 52.31% of the lower middle class, more than 32% of the comfortable middle class, and more than 23% of the upper-middle class was in rural India. Most of the lower middle class in rural India are involved in agriculture, he said.
These realistic numbers should excite you to engage with India – right now demand for everything has gone through the roof!