India’s food & grocery market to reach $790 billion by 2024

02 November 2020 4 min. read
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Favourable government policies and market trends are pushing India’ food and grocery market to new heights, all while online groceries amass a growing market share. A new RedSeer Consulting report presents a market overview.

Between 2013 and 2019, India’s food & grocery market doubled from $300 billion to $600. Growth in this period was driven by traditional retailers – popular local corner shops that offer an assortment of products. In the lead up to 2024, researchers from RedSeer Consulting and BigBasket Brand Intelligence expect another ~$200 billion jump – this time driven by new segments.

Traditional retail’s shrinking market share will remain dominant, in and around the 90% level. On the incline, however, is modern retail – organised versions of corner shops that are in the spotlight as retailers consider more formalised business models.

Food & Grocery Market Overview

Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16%, modern retail will occupy more than 6% of the food & grocery market by 2024. A number of factors are driving this growth, most notably the government’s decision in February this year to allow 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the food retail market.

Given the size of India’s grocery market, few foreign investors will need a second invitation to enter, although most will seek out organised retail channels. Money has already been flowing in, and the collateral benefit has been an improvement across the entire food processing ecosystem, ranging from product development to cold storage and logistics.

As a result, it is now easier and more lucrative than ever to enter the organised retail space – a realisation that is spreading across the country. Retailers are realigning business models to offer a bigger product range in a more optimised space – benefits of organised retail. According to the RedSeer report, the trend has even spread to Tier 2 cities in India, which usually signals a boom due to the high population share in these small urban centres.

Indian Online Grocery Market Size 2019 - 2024F

These are some of the underlying factors driving growth in modern retail. Front and centre is the Covid-19 crisis, and all its effects on consumer behaviour. As people hunkered down to wait out the pandemic, a number of food & grocery product segments saw a boom according to the report. Growth shone through in segments such as comfort food, health foods and hygiene products – very notably as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. 

Consider the snacks & branded foods segment, which was growing by 5% each quarter until this year. In the second quarter of 2020, the segment grew by 75%. Beverages – mainly tea & fruit juice – saw a less dramatic but equally unprecedented jump of 50% compared to a pre-Covid-19 growth rate of 2%. Then there is the growth in personal care products – bath, face and handwash – which grew by 24% in the second quarter of 2020, up from 5% quarterly last year.

Feeding on this demand boom is modern retail for one – owing to flexible payment & delivery models – although the most notable boom has been in the online retail space. Almost instantly in response to the outbreak and the subsequent lockdown, online platforms became the avenue of choice for shopping, even for the daily grocery runs.

eGrocery market trend - 2020

All of a sudden, India’s 100 million plus online shoppers – much like their global counterparts – were upping their activity, while others made their first foray into the ecommerce landscape. RedSeer’s analysis highlights that e-groceries grew by nearly 75% in the lockdown period alone.

Although the latter half of the year has been all about reopening the brick & mortar economy, many expect this affinity for online to persist. A KPMG report from August described a ‘new Indian consumer’ who had emerged from the Covid-19 crisis – one who was optimistic, tech savvy and cashless. RedSeer’s estimates are based on a similar assessment.

The firm expects online groceries to grow steadily for the rest of the year at least, reaching a gross merchandise value (GMV) of over $3 billion – compared to nearly $2 billion last year. Accounting for the ecommerce boom being a permanent fixture, the report predicts a CAGR of nearly 60% for online groceries in the lead up to 2024, taking the segment past $18 billion GMV.

Currently occupying less than half a percentage point in market share, online groceries will grow to more than 2% of India’s food and grocery market over the next four years. All this while the overall segment soars to nearly $800 billion in value.