South India is incredibly diverse – be it language, culture, food or clothing. The four southern states have 25% of the country’s population, but 30% of its retail turnover. They are more literate and have higher levels of per capita income. Consequently South India is a very attractive market as far as retail is concerned.
- The South is the home of organized retail – and has built vibrant brands ranging back to the 1940’s.
- Entrepreneurs in the South are not risk averse – contrary to popular stereotype.
- Once they have found a robust business model, they are willing to scale – for example – textile, apparel, jewelry retailers have built large (>50,000 sq. feet) single category showrooms, and have invested in marketing, technology and people.
- South India has built strong vibrant brands.
- Malls recognize that they need local and regional Southern brands as much as they need their national counterparts.
- The South has several retail “firsts” to its credit – the first electronics chain (VGP / Viveks) , largest jewelry chain, Large international sari brands (Nallis)
Brands built in the South are consistent when they go national –
whether its Nallis in Delhi or Kalyan Jewellers in Ahmedabad.
South India is the home of retail capabilities in India & has created the modern retail movement in this country. It has the wherewithal to accommodate new channels, new customers and the aspirations of the next generation of family entrepreneurs. It is the time for other South based brands to think and plan national.
(Bijou Kurien was the keynote speaker at the Kongu Retail Summit, Coimbatore held on 18th March 2014)