Asian retail sales to explode

24 December 2010

HONG KONG: Retail sales are set for substantial growth in Asia over the next four years, boosting categories from food and beverages to skincare.

PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Economist Intelligence Unit predicted spending in Asia and Australasia will rise by at least 6% annually during this timeframe.

In dollar terms, sales should hit $5.4tr (€4.1tr; £3.5tr) in 2010 and $8.6tr in 2014, twice the total recorded by North America.

China, the region's largest market, will post an expansion surpassing 14% this year, and experience double-digit improvements going forward, as revenues increase from $2.2tr to $4.6tr across the forecast period.

Elsewhere, Japan could remain flat at around $1.2tr, while India tops the $500bn mark as growth accelerates to 5.8% in four years time.

In Vietnam, figures are pegged to soar by more than 10% annually, with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand generating upticks in the 3% to 5% range.

Major multinationals like 7-Eleven, Aeon, Carrefour, Tesco and Wal-Mart are thus understandably all competing hard in Asia.

At present, however, modern retail delivers just 5% of sales in India and 10% in China, measured against 55% in Malaysia.

"The development of organised trade in Asia is a key development for our industry," said Luca Parodi, head of APAC for confectionary group Perfetti Van Melli, which counts China as its leading outlet by volume.

"Small independent chains are consolidating into bigger chains, gaining contractual power. Trade will continue to develop in this direction and will highly influence the way our business will grow."

Food, beverage and tobacco sales in Asia are projected to jump from $2.7tr to $4.6tr between 2010 and 2014, the PwC/EIU study added.

Demand will increase by 5.7% a year in China on average, a figure standing at 3.3% in Hong Kong and 3.2% in India.

Soaps and cleansers - a category containing players like L'Oréal, Shiseido, Procter & Gamble and L'Occitane - should register a surge from $100bn this year to over $150bn in 2014.

China is due for average growth of 12%, an acceleration slowing to 9.5% in India, 5.5% in Taiwan, 4.8% in Hong Kong and 2% in Japan.

The apparel segment is in line to enjoy a 5% lift every 12 months, as returns expand from approximately $160bn to roughly $240bn in 2014.

Chinese revenues are anticipated to double from $44.4bn to $90.6bnn, totals reaching $49.6bn and $47bn in Hong Kong, and $6.3bn and $10.4bn in India.

Durables might witness a median improvement of 6%, with demand for electrical appliances and housewares rising 12% annually in China, 9.1% in India and 7.5% in Hong Kong.

Ecommerce is set to be another vital sector, especially in Japan, where online shopping trends have traditionally lagged behind those in their Western counterparts.

Internet sales have risen by 17% a year since 2005 and could increase by almost 10% annually to 2015.

Adidas, the sportswear giant, has taken a nuanced approach to digital in Asia, prioritising multichannel models in South Korea, looking to m-commerce in Japan and launching an online hub on Taobao Mall in China.

"The process of establishing an online presence in Asia can be quite complex," said Cristophe Bezu, president and managing director, Adidas Greater China.

"Once we have completed restructuring our European and US websites, we will develop our own platform for Asia."

Data sourced from PricewaterhouseCoopers; additional content by Warc staff