This, according to data from Bizom, a platform that automates retail execution at 7.5 million kirana stores, underscores rural India seeing real growth for the first time since August 2022. In February 2023, while urban sales grew 5.5% as compared to the year-ago period, rural sales expanded 12.4%.
Bizom’s chief (growth & insights) Akshay D’Souza said, “We’ve seen a double-digit growth in FMCG sales on the back of a strong performance in rural. In five of six categories, we’ve seen rural outperform urban sales in February 2023.” Among these, home care expanded at the fastest rate of over 27% in rural as compared to its growth of 19.5% in urban India (see graphic). The growth of packaged foods was 16.4% in rural compared to 2.2% in urban. Branded commodities grew at 13.3% in rural India, while shrinking 4% in urban areas. According to the data, the one category that witnessed a different trend was chocolates & confectionery, which decreased marginally in rural but grew at a fast pace of 19.5% in urban India.
Dabur India’s COO Adarsh Sharma said, “While rural India has been a key driver of growth for some years now, we have seen rural demand lagging urban in the early part of the current fiscal. We believe this demand slump in rural has bottomed out as we are now seeing some green shoots of revival in the hinterland. Rural demand, for us, has already started showing a recovery.”
Sharma said the urbanisation of the hinterland, following the government’s focus on developing road connectivity, would help drive growth for the consumer products industry. Riding on these initiatives, Sharma said, “We are hopeful of rural demand reporting a smart recovery.”
Looking ahead, Dabur India has already invested to ride the rural demand recovery by expanding its rural footprint and taking its total coverage to over one lakh villages.