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e-commerce share to rise from 2% to 12% in 10 years as omni-channel gains momentum: Krish Iyer of Walmart

Calling for technology adoption as key to retail growth, Iyer enumerated four key challenges — food security, safety and nutrition, food wastage and sustainability — at the 12th India Food Forum 2019 in Mumbai

Krish Iyer

Despite the growth in brick and mortar or physical retail, the share of e-commerce, aided by pick up in omni-channel format, is set to rise from 2% to 12% over the next 10 years, said Krish Iyer, President and CEO, Walmart India and Chairman of India Food Forum, while delivering the inaugural address at the 12th India Food Forum 2019 in Mumbai. 

The gap between physical and digital needs to be bridged as the consumer is going digital in terms of experience as also his touch points, Iyer said at the two-day event (February 5-6) being held at Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel.

Sharing his insight at Walmart, Iyer said that by enriching customer experience, the consumer started buying Rs 180 over omni-channel instead of buying Rs 100 from the store itself and later the ratio in the store was Rs 70 while digital was Rs 110.

Calling for technology adoption as key to retail growth, Iyer enumerated four key challenges led by food security, safety and nutrition, food wastage and sustainability.

“Feeding a rising world population of 10 billion from 7 billion amid rising death of infant children due to malnutrition, changing climatic conditions are key challenges. In India, phenomenal efforts are made on the regulatory front for safety and nutrition that will follow with awareness, compliance and enforcement of law. Significant investment amounting to Rs 92,000 crore in food processing in catchment areas is needed to overcome the wastage of 30% of all food and 40% of fruits and vegetables,” he said.

Earlier, speaking at the forum, Ajay Macaden, Executive Director, Nielsen, said, “Consumers have evolved now for omni-channel even for specific categories like milk and bakery. Increased internet and smartphone penetration has led to multiple shopping channels and change in consumer behaviour.”

In markets around the world, categories such as travel, entertainment (books, music, events) and durable goods (fashion, IT/mobile, electronics) are the frontrunners for consumers to enter the online retail sphere. Consumers are, however, also looking for e-commerce options for an increasing range of categories, as their more immediate needs for convenience and ease expands, Macaden said.

Consumers in APAC (Asia Pacific) have even evolved to fresh grocery and packaged goods with China, India, Japan and Korea leading the market. In fact, packaged grocery food and fresh groceries are showing the highest percentage growth of all categories in 2018 in this region, he said.

Other key speakers at the forum included Damodar Mall, CEO, Reliance Retail (Supermarketwala); Sadashiv Nayak, CEO Food business, Future Group; Mohit Kampani, CEO, Aditya Birla Retail; C. Gopalkrishnan, Founder, N. Supermarkets; Ramesh Menon, Former CEO, Hypercity; Mohit Anand, MD, Kellogg, India and South among others.

India Food Forum was formed in 2007 with support from MOFPI, Govt of India, and leading Indian and global trade bodies to take up a series of support initiatives for the Indian Food Business. It is a unique knowledge and networking forum that includes a conference featuring thought leadership, master classes that feature in depth expertise and experience of acknowledged experts, an exhibition showcasing innovative and valuable products, services and technologies; and a glamorous, glittering awards ceremony where the industry celebrates and honours exceptional achievements of people and organisations in FMCG, Food and HoReCa (hotel/restaurant/café) businesses.

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