Enabling kirana stores to connect to the digital economy can help boost consumption in both rural and urban India
Digital connectivity today is not limited to cities but is also available in rural areas of India. E-commerce has reached the small village panchayats of India. As a result, the e-commerce sector is expected to grow more than expected,” said Ashwini Kumar Choubey, minister of state, ministry for consumer affairs, food & public distribution, at Ficci Massmerize 2021 – 11th Edition of the business forum’s annual conference on retail, FMCG and e-commerce. The minister said that India’s economy is well on its path to recovery and the FMCG sector is a key player in India’s $5 trillion dream.
Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog, said in an economy where close to 55% of the GDP comes from consumption expenditure, the FMCG sector emerges as one of the largest sectors. “Growing awareness, easier access and changing lifestyle have been the key growth drivers for the sector,” he said. There were many disruptions in the business models of the sector, yet the world showed the capacity for innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, new business models came up and delivery channels were modified, he added.
He further mentioned that the pandemic has led to developing alternative delivery channels for customers and as more and more people are preferring online platforms, such delivery models will be the key to the future. He also stated that digital supply chains are the future, and India has to work towards making this future a reality.
Speaking about the kirana stores, Kant said, “India’s kirana stores make up a huge segment of our economy, especially in the FMCG sector where the rural economy matters as much the urban economy.” He urged the larger firms to work with such kirana stores to ensure digital onboarding and handholding. Enabling kirana stores to connect to the digital economy can have the impact of boosting consumption in both rural and urban India.
Resilience, he said, is the new metric for accessing performance and preparedness for the future. Government and businesses will be judged on how resilient and sustainable their practices are. “Redefining delivery channels, sustainability, leveraging innovation and technology, enabling kirana stores and hybrid working models will be the key to ensuring a resilient FMCG sector right from the manufacturing process to last-mile delivery channel,” said Kant.