Higher rural demand to spur growth: Usha International

Firm to strengthen portfolio to facilitate higher rural share

With higher consumption in the rural markets expected to drive economic growth in the upcoming quarters in India, consumer durable maker Usha International plans to further strengthen product portfolio and distribution network in these markets to increase their contribution to overall business to up to 25% in the next few years.

“Rural will continue to be a very big story for India this decade,” Ajay Sharma, SVP, Head – Rural Division, Usha International. “Higher demand across rural India is expected to be among the primary drivers for economic growth over the next two-three quarters,” he added. Ajay Sharma, SVP, Head – Rural Division, Usha International, told The Hindu.

Mr. Sharma added that while Usha had a fairly robust presence in rural India already, faster growth in consumption in rural India had spurred accelerated spends on distribution outreach, consumer promotions and new product offerings launches to attract the consumers in this market.

Currently, rural markets contribute 18-20% to the company’s overall business, and Mr. Sharma said he expected this to go up to 25% in the next 2-3 years, even though the company was working to scale up its urban business as well.

“There are a total of 6,50,000 villages and towns, and we are available in 15% of the towns covering 40-50% of the population,” he said. “We are expanding our footprint in the smaller markets. The objective is very clear that we should be available closer to the consumer,” he added.

While Mr. Sharma did not share the number of retail touch-points in the rural markets, he said these increased by 18% even during the pandemic and the company wanted to double the touch-points by next year.

“The demand for branded goods and services has been on the rise in rural India for the last couple of years and this saw a huge spurt in the months following the pandemic… demand from rural markets outshone urban markets over the last several quarters,” Mr Sharma said.

He added that many FMCG/consumer durable firms were making a business case for the year 2021, based on the consumption demand growth in rural areas to boost their sales.

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