Delhi's upscale Khan Market has witnessed a 14 percent decline in rental during the last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic and is ranked 21st in the most expensive high-street retail location in the Asia Pacific region.
Around 80 percent of Indian high-street retail markets experienced declines in rent during this period, the property consultant, Cushman & Wakefield, said in its latest Main Streets report.
The top three most expensive cities for retail remain Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Sydney.
Regionally, among the worst-impacted was Hong Kong's premier shopping district of Causeway Bay, which saw a 43 percent fall in rent to HK$ 870 per sq. ft. per month.
"Among Indian high-streets, Khan Market saw a 14 percent decline in 2020 and slipped out of the top 20 most expensive markets in the APAC region," the consultant said.
Khan Market continues to be the most expensive retail market in India with a rent of US$ 195 per sq.ft., followed by Connaught Place in the national capital.
Cushman & Wakefield noted that India entered the pandemic in strong form with upward pressure on rents in main streets across the major cities in the country.
However, the start of lockdowns from Q2 2020 stalled the momentum, and transactions have declined even as markets gradually re-opened in H2 2020.
The ongoing wave of lockdowns that occurred across the country at different times and for varying lengths resulted in an average decline in rents of around 9 percent, but this ranged from 18 percent and 14 percent in Kolkata and Bengaluru respectively to more benign declines of less than 2 percent in Chennai and Ahmedabad.
"The APAC region has the world's 64 percent smartphone users and the largest share of global e-commerce at US$ 2.5 trillion of the global total of US$ 3.9 trillion. That makes it easier to comprehend why the pandemic forced buyers to tilt towards online shopping,” Anshul Jain, Managing Director India, and South East Asia said.
Even in the last quarter of 2020 when the markets began to open and main streets began experiencing improved footfalls, people across the region continued to shop online.
"And with the second wave of the pandemic at its peak, partial lockdown imposed in several cities in India, e-commerce will continue to be the obvious preference till we ride out of the current situation," Jain said.