Blog: Young consumers, emerging markets and multichannel - WRC

Petah Marian | 27 September 2011

One day through this year's World Retail Congress and some themes are already emerging - the importance of the young consumer, expanding abroad, and the ever ubiquitous issues faced by companies developing a multichannel offer.

Much of the focus has been on what retailers can do to continue growing (or return to growth) in mature markets - usually through expansion into emerging markets. However, Deloitte consumer business director Ira Kalish poured cold water on ideas that a shift into China would solve all of these problems. He said that a slowdown in growth is currently underway in the country, and that too much of China's growth is coming from infrastructure investments.

Kalish's outlook for Europe was particularly grim, saying that in the short term, growth scenarios appear relatively "non-existent", and that he foresees recession. But the question remains on how big it will be.

According to the Deloitte director, India could represent the best hope for many retailers in the next decade, with strong economic growth and consumer spending, particularly if the country relaxes its foreign direct investment laws. "I'm cautiously optimistic about India. It has tightened monetary policy and it has good demographics, so it's possible India could grow more than China in the next decade."

Continuing along the emerging markets theme, Li & Fung US president Rick Darling also made some interesting comments about apparel cost inflation and how China is driving up prices.

It's been a jam-packed schedule, and there's still lots more to come from the conference, so keep checking back in the coming days.



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