Field Trip: Indian Rural Sector

Indian rural retail has been one of the largest untapped retail markets in the world. Think of global majors fighting for a basis point increase in market share in more penetrated markets. This market was largely untouched. I came across this revelation after moving to India and decided to check it out by myself – a road trip!

I started out east from my city. And stopped at small and large populations. For anyway trying to understand the direction I went, I was aiming for Bhongir –

Bhongir Wayboard

I had also stopped by Bibinagar and Brahmanapally on the way.

A key feature you would notice as you go into these towns and villages is the village or town centers. All the commercial activity is typically around this place.

I started with grocery outlets as usual. Villages and towns are places were probably everyone has a farm or works in one. Expectedly, I didn’t find many fresh produce places. But, packaged grocery was available in a typical Indian retail store format – the Kirana – the mom-and-pop store. I did some shopper research by chatting up some people shopping there.

Larger population areas also had lifestyle retail centers. I found a particular apparel store, who wouldn’t let me take pictures, that was pretty well organized in the inside. I also found electronics and smaller apparel stores, perhaps not as crowded as what I saw in urban areas. Perhaps they operate on a low-rent and low-footfall model.

Since the areas that I visited were close to a large city – Hyderabad – you cant miss the warehouses that typically ship retail and non-retail items into the stores.

Rural Market Yard

The fresh produce was getting aggregated from a local agri market yard – called as ‘Rythu Bazar’ in local language, meaning ‘farmers market’. I could see vehicles not just shuttling produce loads into the yard but also out of the yard – indicating that the yard might not just be supplying to consumers but non-consumers too.

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