The diversity that the Indian Subcontinent is famous for extends to its grocery market as well. Compared to the most developed nations wherein there are fixed terms to define different types of retailers, in India the retail landscape, particularly the grocery market is still in its evolutionary stages and so there is no standard way of categorizing the businesses in the grocery market or more generally the basic essentials market.
At a very high level the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) retail market in India can be categorised as follows:
- Unorganised Sector: This is still the largest sector in the retail market, consisting of many small and medium grocery retailers. They make up almost 85% of the market. They are called as unorganised because they lack standard inventory management and organisation in their stores and mostly sell in lower scales.
- Organised Retail sector: These are the usual big chain of super and hyper markets which have organised inventory management and display grouped by standard categorisation of the products and also are set up in large scales over at least several hundreds of square meters. They make up almost 12 to 13% of the FMCG market.
- Online Commerce: Although organised, the online commerce businesses are categorised separately mainly because of the mode of the sale they adapt in their business model. As one is aware they mostly sell online, via websites or mobile apps. This can be further segmented into the ecommerce businesses and the quick commerce businesses, with the latter being a recent business model invention wherein the business promises deliver FMCG goods or groceries at lightning speed right to the doorstep of the customer. It is also worth noting that many of the huge established businesses in the Organised retail sector are also venturing into selling via online as well.
Now coming to the confusion of the terminology that one uses in the context of grocery stores; they are mainly applicable to the small and medium sized businesses in the unorganized retail sector. As this is the sector that makes up most of the market and usually caters to the small geographical areas close their establishment, different people term them differently and use the terms like Provision Store, General Store, Kirana Store, Convenience Stores, Departmental Stores etc., interchangeably. Besides these there are now many new names like Green Grocery Store and Organic stores. However traditionally these different stores are defined as follows.
- Provision Store: A Provision store is grocery store that basically sells essential products for daily use. This may include more than the food items with very short shelf life to few assortments of personal care and home care products. They were traditionally of very small size, although now one can find large provision stores mainly in the urban areas.
- General Stores: Similar to Provision stores, they sell groceries but doesn’t usually have large variety and inventory of perishables like Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. These stores generally cater to the rice, grains, atta, spices, personal care, home care and few stationary items as well.
- Kirana Stores: Kirana Stores are more of a provision store, but an Indian term which is mostly used in most parts of the country. They were usually the small shops that are around the corner with limited choices of products, but it is not the case anymore especially in the urban areas wherein these Kirana Stores are also growing in size and variety of their offerings.
- Departmental Stores: These are usually medium sized establishments, which sells products that are not just within the groceries segment, but also items like household textiles, small collection of clothes and apparels, accessories for adults and children etc.
- Green Grocer: This is the usual local Fresh Fruits and Vegetables stores and shops which are also expanding their inventor by including milk and dairy products, along with spices and masalas.
- Organic Grocery Stores: Organic Grocery stores are defined as those stores which are almost similar to the departmental stores, but offer mainly the organically produced products. They do offer a wide variety of products, but the prices at these organic stores are usually higher compared to the non-organic products.
Besides the above, there are also few local language terminologies for the local grocery stores, which is very natural given the fact that India is home to more than 200 different languages and more than a 1000 dialect. Whatever could be the terminologies that the people use these grocery stores which fall under the unorganised retail sector are evolving to blur the lines of these definitions and move towards some kind of standardisation like in most of the western countries. In addition, these, there are also several local small to mid-sized supermarkets which are at the cusp of unorganised and organised retail sectors.
In this vast ocean of different forms of grocery stores and retailers, we at Santhe.in are also contributing to the evolution of the market landscape via our unique user interaction model built into the Santhe App and Santhe Merchant App. We bring the local customers and local grocery stores and supermarkets together via our app, wherein the customer can get the best grocery deal and the local shops can get an opportunity to win new customers by participating in online commerce. Register on Santhe Apps today using the below links.