CPM India, a marketing agencies in India, recently conducted a unique research study, surveying over 3000 Kirana and independent self-service stores to develop a deeper understanding of the Indian retail landscape during the Coronavirus induced lockdown period. The study titled ‘Winning During Disruption: A Perspective on Kirana Stores’ provides a comprehensive look at how Kiranas, which were the one of the key circulatory systems in the retail anatomy of India during the lockdown period, stepped up to this unprecedented challenge and insights on the long-term implications of the lockdown on the retail sector.
A one-of-its-kind survey, CPM India launched ‘Winning During Disruption: A Perspective on Kirana Stores’ with the aim of understanding the sales impact, change in consumer and retailer behaviour and evolution of channel during the lockdown period. CPM India ventured out, and in a series of on-premise interviews maximised the coverage of the research across the nation by reaching out to 3071 Kirana and independent self-service stores. The research survey was implemented with a geographical coverage of 23% in North, 22% in East, 22% in West and 31% in South and a tier break up of T1 38%, T2 41% & T3 21%.
Some of the key insights this research drew out include:
Lockdown effect and how various regions fared
- Both Kiranas and independent self-service stores reported a sharp increase in sales with 44% of the respondents reporting greater than 25% increase in sales
- The lockdown helped retailers increase their customer base with 60% retailers’ nationally reporting an increase in new customers
Home delivery on the rise
- It is no surprise that there was an increase in home deliveries but the regional picture is disproportionate
- Home deliveries in the east increase only by 30% while the rest of India saw home deliveries rise by 60 – 65%
Non-availability of goods
- The major issue according to retailers were the non-availability of goods, with east being the worst affected. 76% retailers in the east reported delivery disruption and availability issues
- Better margins and better availability helped indigenous brands gain market share
- Customer loyalty to brands also fell
Leveraging technology a must
- The pandemic has made retailers more conscious of technology: Nearly 50% of the retailers are receptive of using technology to place orders. Nearly the same no. of retailers are ready to use technology to receive information on schemes and product launches
- With safety being the foremost concern an overwhelming majority, 80% of the retailers are contemplating social distancing in stores
- Retailers have also become cost conscious with 18% of them thinking of cutting expenses
- Consumer loyalty is on an all-time low, with an increasingly high number of people willing to forgo associations with brands if the choice presents itself
- As the markets transform, and consumers value proximity of stores, and become reluctant to adhere to specific brands alone, the role of Kiranas will be much more significant in the Indian Retail scenario
Speaking about the research, Mandeep Singh, CEO and MD, CPM India said, “With the objective of identifying emerging trends in the wake of COVID 19 and their possible evolutionary paths in the Indian retail landscape, we at CPM India decided to conduct a research to understand the impact of these unprecedented times on the retail sector. The results have been nothing short of fascinating, with clear and imminent structural transformation being witnessed. This research shows us how the pre COVID and the post COVID world are starkly different. I hope ‘Winning During Disruption: A Perspective on Kirana Stores’ will help brands redefine the way they approach not just the end consumer, but also a more technologically aware retailer.”
Hitesh Kakkar, COO, CPM India further added, “As one of the finest field marketing agencies in India, we at CPM India take great pride in the strength of our workforce and the sheer knowledge one can access just within the organization. The research, which has been conducted, is testimony to the deep understanding we have of the Indian retail sector and our incredible reach, which allowed us to survey over 3000 retailers for this research.”
India’s retail landscape, unlike any other, is dominated by small independent stores known as Kiranas. Despite being unorganized, these stores have proved to be the saviour of Indian Retail during the coronavirus imposed lockdown. As social distancing norms clashed with the need for essentials, these mom and pop establishments came to the Indian consumer’s rescue and provided much-needed succour for heart and hearth. This research is a study of how the world has changed and what brands and retailers need to learn in order to stay ahead of the curve.