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India is shining now for global consumer firms

Nearly a dozen global consumer-facing companies said their India business posted strong growth in the January to March quarter, surpassing even pre-Covid levels with a high double-digit pace for some, despite the Omicron wave.

For several of these companies including Unilever, Visa, Whirlpool and Pernod, India is among the top-performing regions, their global top management executives said in recent earnings calls.

American appliance maker Whirlpool Corp in its earning presentation said the company's focus is on the Americas and India. Chairman Marc Bitzer said it will drive high growth and profitable business in India as penetration rates accelerate the expansion. "In the not-too-distant future, India will be among the three largest global markets and we are well-positioned to win there," he said.

Categories including liquor and lifestyle retail also outpaced their pre-Covid growth during the quarter. "India, a must-win market, was up 19% last year and up 12% versus pre-Covid, with broad-based growth both in terms of our Indian whiskey portfolio, but also in terms of our imported brands, our strategic international brands that are in a very, very strong growth there," Pernod Ricard chairman Alexandre Ricard told analysts.


The country also saw big discounts on some discretionary products such as apparel and shoes across platforms, as companies liquidated inventory amid rising Covid-19 cases and local restrictions.

Payment technology company Visa chief financial officer Vasant M Prabhu said India recovered strongly, up almost 20 points from December. "India has been our fastest-growing market in Asia, up almost 80% since 2019, fuelled by a tripling of ecommerce volumes," he said, while adding that travel into parts of Asia like India, Thailand and Indonesia was picking up fast.

"India is doing very well. We are up almost 30%. And there's lots of infrastructure investment," said George Oliver, chairman of Johnson Controls International that makes Hitachi ACs.

Read more at: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/retail/india-is-shining-now-for-global-consumer-firms/articleshow/91359364.cms

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