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Anurag Mathur

Leader (Retail & Consumer Practice) PwC India

Topic: Retail

The Indian consumption story continues to unfold, promising strong growth potential. The relaxation in regulation for FDI, e-commerce entry, and procurement for single-brand, wholesale (cash & carry) and Indian brands/manufacturers, is poised to usher in increased competition in the domestic market. With rapid growth in digitalisation, and alternative modes of shopping, payment and delivery are finding increasing acceptance, driving a transition towards organised retail. Omni-channel presence and consumer analytics are rapidly driving the evolution of a sleeker business model. These changes, coupled with a growing supplier ecosystem, are bringing a dynamic era for retail. An easing of tax laws through goods & services tax and recognition of the industry would be critical steps to drive further investment in supply chain and cold chain infrastructure, for ensuring a sustainable business model.

While the GST Bill might still be under fire in the Budget session, what impact do you think it will have on the e-commerce sector in the event it is passed?


The GST Bill presents itself as a large discontinuity that will create an opportunity for many businesses. The e-commerce sector deals with a very large number of vendors and customers and the largest impact, thus, would be in the nature of ensuring dealings with compliant vendors and renegotiating sourcing costs to ensure credit passthrough, minimising the working-capital impact and competitive-pricing ability. There would also be a significant impact on the supply chain structure to ensure the lowest number of stock movements to balance cost and service levels.

With innovation becoming the watchword in e-tail, what will be the challenges for a rural-centric retail chain — sponsored and fed by the government — to cater specifically to rural demand and price ranges?


The promise of Indian consumer demand over the next few decades is going to be fuelled in no small means by the rural mass. The last few years have seen significant growth of digital access in rural areas, especially through mobile phones, growth of “micro” technologies like digital wallets and some success of private players with rural distribution models — from FMCG to automotive and microfinance. The core challenges remain around efficiently servicing demand through building low-cost infrastructure or utilisation of existing government infrastructure without cost leakages.