Interview with Mr. Arvind K. Singhal

Mr. Arvind K. Singhal
Mr. Arvind K. Singhal
Technopak Advisors Pvt. Ltd.
Technopak Advisors Pvt. Ltd.

Technopak Advisors is a Management Consultancy firm, focussing on the Fashion, FMCG, and Retail sectors. It is an affiliate of Kurt Salmon Associates (USA) -one of the oldest and largest specialist Management Consultancy firms worldwide. It has 28 global offices and has clients such as Walmart, The Gap, Tiffany, Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, Levi Strauss, Arvind Mills, A.V. Birla Group, Raymond, Microsoft, Reliance Industries etc. It offers a range of services including Management Consulting, Brand Management, Marketing, Knowledge Management, and HR / Training. It is also a pioneer in tracking Consumer / Retail trends in India and publishes several well known studies such as Indian Consumer Trends, India Luxury Trends, and India Retail Report etc. Mr. Arvind Singhal, 48, is the Chairman of Technopak since 2002. He joined Technopak as MD in the year 1991. He began his career as a Management Trainee with DCM Group (Shriram Pistons & Rings) in 1979. Prior to joining Technopak, he has also been a Senior Vice President of Modern Suitings. Besides B.E. in Electronics and Communication,IIT-Roorkee, he has also done an MBA (Finance & Marketing) from University of California, Los Angeles, USA. Mr. Singhal is professionally active at various associations and industry fora, and is also a regular contributor to various publications including a bi-weekly column for Business Standard. He is acknowledged as one of the foremost experts on the Indian and International textile, clothing and retail sectors and regularly addresses Indian and International conferences. He has also been guest lecturer at various Institutions in India e.g. IIM-Ahmedabad, IIM- Kozhikode, IIM – Lucknow, Indian School of Business – Hyderabad, MDI (Gurgaon), NITIE (Mumbai), NIFT (Delhi), IIT – Kanpur, IIT- Delhi, NID - Ahmedabad etc. On personal front, Mr. Singhal is born Leo, married to Shalini and is a proud father of a 21 years old son. His hobbies include Photography, Music and Travel.

How is Technopak creating a niche for itself in delivering high quality research?

"Technopak has been carrying out an extensive consumer and retail research for both development of understanding for assisting internal consulting work and also as a part of several consulting assignments that are undertaken. Technopak has been associated with Consumer Outlook (a benchmark study for understanding of Indian consumers covering 10,000 SEC A/B Households on annual basis) for the last six years. In its attempt to further the cutting edge research work that Technopak has been doing a new division by the name of The Knowledge Company (TKC) has been floated. TKC has already developed reports like Indian Luxury Trends (Touted as the bible for understanding luxury sector in India), Indian Consumer Trends, China Resource and Middle East Consumer Outlook. Many more reports covering sectoral & consumer intelligence are envisaged in the near future."

How best could you describe the present Indian Retail Business scenario?

The Retail Business in India is currently at the point of inflection. It is a huge industry in terms of size and is valued at about US $ 300 billion. Currently it is dominated by unorganised retail and the organised retail is just about 3 percent of the market. However, the scenario is going to undergo a rapid change with investments to the tune of US $ 25 billion being planned by several Indian and multinational companies in the next 5 years. Organised retail is expected to garner about 16-18 percent of the total retail market (US $ 65-75 billion) in the next 5 years.

How does the Indian retailing sector differ from the rest of the world?

"Retail market in India is one of the most fragmented market in the world; Indian market has high complexities in terms of wide geographic spread and distinct consumer preferences varying by each region necessitating a need for localization even within the geographic zones Currently the retailing is in the hands of unorganised stand alone ‘Mom & Pop’ stores and 95 percent of over 12 million outlets are less than 500 sq. ft. Organised retail is just about 3 percent of the total retail market India has highest number of outlets per person (7 per thousand) Indian retail space per capita at 2 sq ft/ person is lowest in the world Indian retail density of 6 percent is highest in the world"

Any forecast on B2C retailing in India?

The Retail market in India is valued at US$ 300 billion and is projected to touch 637 billion by 2015. In the next 5 years the organised Retail would touch US $ 65-75 billion (garnering a share of about 16-18 percent of the total Retail market)

Any new areas that Technopak seeks to explore in the coming years in India?

Technopak is undertaking new initiatives to expand the service areas which would be announced in the near future.

With foreign big ticket retailers lining up for the already heated Indian retailing market segment, how do you predict the segments flourish or perish in the times to come?

The Indian Retail is currently a virgin territory and as such can absorb quite a few big sized players (at least 7-8 big players). A large proportion (close to 60 percent) of the planned retail investments in the next 5 years is from Indian corporates, who are taking up retail very seriously and have put in meticulous planning before getting into this space. They also have an added advantage in understanding of the Indian consumers and their local preferences. So while the multinationals would bring along best practices in several departments (sourcing, supply chain and IT amongst others) they would need to come to grips with understanding of the Indian consumer fairly quickly. Thus, it would be a level playing field with what the complexities that the Indian market offer and both Indian as well as the international retailers would co exist.
Published on: 11/12/2006

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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