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BW Businessworld

Focus Will Be On Consumer

By the end of 2016, there will be more than 500 million Indians who would have had their entire education in the 21st century.

Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma

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By the end of 2016, there will be more than 500 million Indians who would have had their entire education in the 21st century. Collectively, this demographic cohort will be more than 40 per cent of the country’s population. India’s millennial generation is not just the consumers of tomorrow but also the talent that will drive enterprises in the days ahead. Born in a much more restless, information rich and rapidly changing world, the younger generation is vastly different in terms of their expectations and aspirations from their work environment.

This generation is also entering the talent pool in organisations at a time when the Indian economy is going through a fundamental change and upswing.

The year 2016 comes in the midst of India becoming the fastest-growing large economy in the world and the World Bank projecting that the GDP growth rate may touch 8 per cent by the last quarter of the forthcoming year. Within the next couple of years, our economy will cross $3 trillion and the consumption sector itself will be a $1.5-trillion engine fueling India’s growth and prosperity.

As a business that is geared towards catering to the domestic economy, we are preparing to attract the younger generation as consumers as well as a talent magnet that attracts and thrives with the energy and passion that the younger generation brings in. Future Group is evolving and reimagining itself with the values, beliefs and passions that the younger generation represents. Organisational hierarchies and structures are giving way to work circles that evolve, iterate and self-organise every once in a while. Job descriptions are becoming irrelevant and being replaced with fluid roles that are refined and updated regularly. Authority is not delegated, but distributed. Speed and imagination is what drives 21st century organisations and that is all that counts in determining the value an individual brings on the table.

Our retail environments too are going through rapid change. The new Big Bazaar Gen Nxt stores that we have unveiled in Mumbai and Delhi are built around making the shopping journey far more interactive and experiential through the use of technology, innovation in services, layouts and section designs. The stores integrate the digital and physical interfaces in a seamless manner. Technology upgrades at cash tills that ensure faster checkouts. Customers even have an option to experience new products at check-out lounges while their billing is processed.

Our new stores have experience zones for multi-sensorial experiences for food products, wider merchandise and assortments across all categories and a whole new design that has full LED lighting, large digital screens, digital shelf talkers and energy saving technologies that optimise air-conditioning, humidity and lighting within the stores. Each of these features are geared to attract every segment of customers including customers looking for superior service, are time-constrained, or are technologically savvy and look forward to experiencing newness in every shopping experience. The stores are also designed to be modular in order to enable continuous upgrade and incorporate more technology-led interfaces and innovations.

Similarly, the brands and products we are creating, whether in fashion, food, FMCG or home goods, are also being developed keeping in mind the needs and aspirations of the new century. Multiple functionalities, freedom to use the product in the way the user wants, and brands that are built around beliefs or values rather than a product category are some of the hallmarks of the new brands or products we are creating or partnering with.

The year 2016 promises to be one of the best for the consumer sector in the recent times. Most consumer indices have started picking up on a strong note. Whether it is occupancy ratios at hotels or airlines, sales of automobiles or consumers durables or same store sales growth of retailers, all have shown positive signs of growth in the past few quarters. Lower interest rates and introduction of the GST regime will further add to the momentum in the consumption economy. The government’s implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission will bring in more money in the hands of a large number of people and can further fuel the growth of the consumer sectors.

The last few years have seen an unprecedented rise in start-ups and entrepreneurial culture. It was only after 20 years of liberalisation and a severe economic slowdown that entrepreneurship became a buzz word in the country. New enterprises have brought in new thoughts, ideas and benefits and fostered new behaviours and conveniences in our lives. However, entrepreneurship and start-ups, by their very nature, are also risky and prone to failures and closures. There will always be a human cost associated with closure of fast-growing businesses. We have celebrated and benefitted from the growth of entrepreneurship in the country. But as a society we should also be prepared for failures and accept it — else India’s entrepreneurial culture will be at risk in 2016.

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 11-01-2016)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Kishore Biyani

The author is the founder and chief executive officer of Future Group

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