An ACNielsen study has found out that while Modern Trade has grown 90 per cent across India’s eight key metros in the past year (November 2006-November 2007 period) the number of customers who have shopped at a supermarket or a hypermarket store in the span of four weeks has also nearly doubled over the same period. Also, spending at supermarkets has also seen a growth of 50 per cent, according to the study.
The study further found that shoppers generally used the modern format for their weekly and monthly shopping needs and used traditional stores for ‘top-up’ shopping. Supermarket shoppers continue to visit the local grocer, in fact, more often than they did a year ago.
Arti Verma, Associate Director, Client Solutions, the Nielsen Company India, said, “While the proximity of the local grocer gives it an advantage for top-up trips, retailers need to explore ways to encourage the supermarket / hypermarket channel for top-up / stand-alone trips to increase their bottom-line.”
For cooking mediums, detergents, shampoos, noodles, and feminine hygiene products, shoppers mostly prefered the Modern Trade to the traditional grocer. While the local vegetable market is still the primary destination of choice for fresh food, shoppers are increasingly shopping at supermarkets for fresh fruits and vegetables, with a substantial six-fold increase in shopping frequency for fresh food at supermarkets.
However, increasing choice within the Modern format has resulted in shoppers flirting across store banners. The study explains the store repertoire – the number of supermarkets visited in past four weeks – has gone up from an average of 1.61 to 2.03. In addition, fewer shoppers say ‘they continue to shop at the same store they always shop at’.
Further explaining, Verma stated, “Expansion within and across cities is critical to maintain brand visibility. The Modern Trade is still new to Indian shoppers and hence, they are going through a process of trial and error. While salience and presence helps stores build stronger equity in the market, shoppers in their quest for experimentation are keen to explore new stores. Certainly, the retailers who have expanded within and across cities have managed to garner greater footfall.”
As modern retail formats expand, they are no longer catering only to the upper socio-economic groups. The SEC A demographic now comprises less than half of the customer base, with both SEC B and more so SEC C seeing an increase in proportion.
And now with the battle rising within the retail space with two big names, Verma concludes, “The time has come for retailers to broaden their offering to cater to the needs of both their primary and secondary customers.”