With more than a billion inhabitants and a strong purchasing power, India offers some very interesting business opportunities even though 44% of the population does not have access to electricity (compared with 1% in China and 1.5% in Egypt) and the savings rate remains high (almost 28%); around 200 million people have access to consumer durables such as a television.
Indian consumers are interested in the value of a product and whether it is good value for money.
They appreciate having neighbourhood services and additional services and experiencing a show of solidarity from the business people (offering credit, home delivery services etc). Needs change and consumers expect to have a choice. They wish to be offered a diverse range of products and brands. The franchise networks that have a more Western structure profit from these changing needs when they launch their systems on the market.
It is very difficult to make oneâ€™s mark on the retail market. It is very fragmented and is for the most part made up of small structures supplied by wholesalers: this is due to the size of the country and its lack of logistics systems. However, this is changing rapidly with a move towards creating a more structured retail market. The large retailers are gradually increasing their share of the market year on year.
The large Indian industrial groups, notably from the textile, automobile and food sectors, are investing huge sums of money to set up shopping centres and distribution networks on a national basis (especially via franchising).
Since 1991, the country has been looking to attract foreign investment. The most attractive sectors are energy, telecommunications and consumer goods.
Investors, as any other foreigner, must take the culture of the country into account and how it affects business â€“ for example Hinduism and the caste system. It is important to recognize the standing of families and its members within an Indian business because business management is often centralized and concentrates around one family.