India – Converging Forces in the Rising Consumer Marketplace

The growth and development of India’s emerging economy in recent years has been of great interest to me. India’s dynamic energy and vibrant culture, combined with the new economy, present a singular opportunity for retail development. Fashion week, Bollywood, and international designers are all converging in a market that, according to a joint study by ASSOCHAM and KPMG, expects US $25-30 Billion investment in modern retail formats over the next 4-5 years.

 I am hearing s parks of optimism spreading across many markets over the past few weeks – from our clients and friends in New York, Paris, Moscow, Shanghai, Dubai, and more.  Many interesting personal connections to India have presented themselves recently, and I am increasingly intrigued by these opportunities. Having spent time in India, I find many compelling aspects to the culture, the people, and the opportunities ahead. 

First, a recent visit from Bangalore – both the Chairman of an enlightened development group as well as the CEO of an architecture firm that we are working with in India. The gift of a deeply thoughtful presentation on architecture, art, beauty, culture, memory and the merging of theory and practice. 

Then, a series of reports on business development and retail sector opportunities landed on my desktop. This was followed bya visit from a newly minted design intern from India, then London, now living in our neighborhood with a passion for retail design and seeking the beginnings of her career.  Then, a conversation with a friend on all the emerging opportunities – an international architect, originally from India whose career has been spent in the US focused on retail design.


 With favorable demographics (two-thirds of India’s 1.1 billion population is under 35), nearing 50 cities with more than one  million residents, strong economic growth figures projected over the next 5 years, a growing middle class and ascendant wealthy households – the emergence of organized retail remains in its infancy.


Last year I attended a global gathering of retail industry leaders in London: imagine the UN of retail leaders.By far the most exciting, and dynamic talk we experienced was delivered by the Chairman of the major retailer in India. I’m looking forward to what happens next, and planning to be a part of it.