There is no denying the fact that Pakistan has been swamped with the concept of supermarket and one could see a deluge of local as well as global chains of supermarkets in almost every nook and corner of the country. The emergence of supermarkets across the country lends credence to the fact that in the wake of technology there are changing consumer needs and market trends. Though the major chunk of population uses cell phones and internet services, yet traditional way of shopping by visiting shops holds sway even today. It might take a decade or so from now to witness the use of technology in shopping as it is happening in tech-savvy countries across the world. The rise of e-commerce has engulfed a certain stratum of the society which could still be called a drop in the ocean.
Being a developing country in Asia with a population of over 208 million, Pakistan presents splendid business opportunities to the world retail community to invest in Pakistan’s retail market. Retail business has been booming in Pakistan over the decades, indeed. Supermarkets sector is gathering momentum, however, it is still a long way to go. The retail sector of Pakistan does offer business prospects owing to the altering consumption patterns and lifestyles both in rural and urban areas of Pakistan.
The global brands seem to be gearing up to make their way to the prospective market of Pakistan. Carrefour, erstwhile Hyperstar, has been quite agile in terms of offering a wide array of products while keeping the local needs to the fore. This seems to have won the attention of the populace of the mega cities in particular. The acquisition of Daraz by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd speaks volumes of the potential of the booming Pakistani retail sector. Even prior to becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alibaba, Daraz with the existence of less than a decade had operations in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal besides Pakistan. Daraz with strong clientele of over five million customers offers business prospects by virtue of growing middle class and young tech-savvy population. At this juncture, Pakistan has become a place where small and medium-sized companies are competing against the multinational conglomerates.
There is burgeoning demand for the consumer products including the products which are for oral health, skin health, nutrition, wellness etc. The consumer healthcare products are more in demand today relative to a decade ago due to the soaring cognizance of health and status, to be precise. Lagging sales of healthcare products a decade ago have transformed into soaring sales of healthcare products today with the likelihood of marvelous turnaround with every passing day.
Since the world has become a global village, Pakistan is rapidly catching up with the rest of the world in terms of the consumption patterns of consumer products. There is soaring demand at present vis-à-vis the past for the products for the living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, recreation rooms, attics etc. of a house. Though the economy of Pakistan is in the doldrums for over a decade, yet there is no deceleration in a wide array of retail products purchased by consumers, right from grocery items and staples such as food and clothing to luxury products ranging from expensive furniture and electronic appliances. There is a simple economic rule that the lower the employment level in the country, the higher the demand for retail products for comfort and convenience.
The incumbent government of Pakistan seems to be working to fix the debt-laden economy inherited by it in 2018. There are issues of twin deficits and dwindling exports, however, there seems a light at the end of the tunnel. Employment generation would turn around the retail sector of Pakistan. The Prime Minister of Pakistan promised the nation prior to the national elections in 2018 regarding 10 million jobs for the youth of Pakistan.
The nation is confident that the economic team of the Prime Minister Imran Khan must be working on these lines and would be able to create 10 million jobs, which would strengthen the economic prospects of the country. The economic managers need to ensure that the wages do rise commensurate with the hike in inflation, which would strengthen the purchasing power of the populace. Steady rise in wages gets consumers more discretionary income to spend. On the contrary, with stagnant or falling wages, demand for consumer goods falls to the detriment of the retail sector.
Retail sales worldwide have been soaring right from $21 trillion in 2013 to over $27 trillion at present. Pakistan has also witness hike in retail sales over the period of last decade despite desperate economic conditions. There is likelihood of splendid results regarding the sale of consumer products in the following decade by virtue of the splendid economic prognosis of Pakistan.