Staff Reporters
Jun 6, 2016

India: Indian growth remains strong, but sustainability concerns loom

Brand activity is booming across India as burgeoning economy maintains its momentum while reform-minded prime minister’s policies take hold.

India: Indian growth remains strong, but sustainability concerns loom

Brand activity is booming across India as burgeoning economy maintains its momentum while reform-minded prime minister’s policies take hold.

India's economic growth is outpacing that of all other large nations at around 7.5 percent—an impressive feat in light of the slowdown in the other three BRICs nations: Brazil, Russia, and China.

And brand activity is booming, report most agencies across the marcomms spectrum.

This year’s Top 1000 Brand’s survey saw Samsung, Nestlé and Sony take the top three spots.

Perhaps unsurprisingly Maggi dropped four places to come in at 11 in the wake of last year’s food safety scandal.

Facebook also dropped one place to 27 despite CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s high profile—though ultimately unsuccessful—bid to launch the Free Basics internet service app to widen online access.

The big question coming from most brands now, however, is just how sustainable India’s economic growth figures can be.

Critics of PM Narenda Modi say that economic reality has been disguised by low oil prices, which have slashed India's heavy bill for energy imports—a point Modi flatly refutes.

“Many other emerging economies also depend on imported oil,” Modi said in April. “If oil prices were the driver of success, those countries would all be showing similar results. But they are not.

“There are some who remain confused and have said that the growth rate does not ‘feel’ right.”

He said foreign investment had increased, company credit ratings had improved overall and the government was on track to meet its deficit target.

Modi has staked much of his credibility of pushing through economic reforms and touring the globe to urge MNCs to invest in the country.

However, a flagship policy to set a national sales tax to replace multiple state systems is not yet in place.

Current retail sales in India are worth US$925 billion and are tipped to hit $1.3 billion by 2020, according to a report by A T Kearney.

“Consumer and investor sentiment have seen an uptick, as the pro-reform government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi sets out on an ambitious goal of improving its Ease of Doing Business ranking from 142nd to 50th in the next two years,” the report said.

India has risen five positions to rank 15th in the latest edition of the index, the London-based consultancy firm said.

“India represents a good opportunity for international retailers in single-brand retail, cash-and carry, and ecommerce, as the country appears to be on the cusp of a strong growth phase over the next five years,” it said.

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