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Retailing in Delhi, a shopping paradise

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This article was first published in the Shopping Center News magazine Aug-Sept 2017.

The city of Delhi continues to be enamoured with fashion and glamour. The people of the city are known for their flamboyant taste in food, clothing, colours and weddings. No wonder that the city continues to charm every shopper, be they domestic or international tourists.

Delhi is located between two agricultural states, namely Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Hence, the city is the only metropolitan in the geography with immigrants from all the nearby states. As a result of which, the city is a mixed bag of ethnicities and cultures, which is evident in the varied preferences in terms of product and price, among the consumers. Because of this varied consumer mix, the shopping choices and destinations available in the city are massive, which makes Delhi the perfect shopping destination. The city provides shopping opportunities to all consumer segments irrespective of age, gender, budget, preference of brand, and retail experience.


Delhi demographics and consumer expenditure variations

Source: Euromonitor International


Consumer profile and Comparison of Delhi vs India in terms of income and expenditure

Source: Euromonitor International

Due to the eclectic mix of consumers, cultures, and per capita incomes, Delhi’s popularity as a shopping destination can be boiled down to three key parameters. Namely: the co-existence of traditional and modern; availability of choice for every occasion, and of course, the range of prices across all retail formats. The city has always been a shopper’s paradise and it will continue to be so, considering the city loves to shop, and attracts consumers from across the country.


A city where traditional and modern fight head to head

Traditional and modern retail literally co-exist and flourish side by side. When people think of Delhi, they generally think about shopping opportunities for clothes and fashion. The city is extremely fashion conscious, and looking good is almost mandatory. Shopping locales such as Connaught Place, Sarojini Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Palika Bazaar, Karol Bagh, Janpath, Defence Colony, Khan Market and GK-M Block are amongst the most popular high street areas for clothes and fashion shopping. The per capita income varies strongly in the city, due to which the consumer base for luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and many others, co-exist with those who prefer mass and unbranded products. Preference is not only limited to brands, it varies in terms of traditional and modern retailing as well. Consumers do not have loyalty to one over the other.

Apart from fashion and lifestyle, Delhi has a big retail scape for electronics and appliances, Nehru Place and Gaffar Market, are well-known unorganised high street areas which have been around for decades. Similarly, there are lots of high street locations in the city, which are specific to products, such as Darya Ganj for books, Panchkuian Road for furniture, or Atta Chowk in Noida, where consumers can find products ranging from premium to mass. It is a common sight to see a hawker selling cosmetic jewellery or shoes, or other accessories, right outside a leading international brand outlet.

One of the most distinct qualities of the consumers in Delhi is that they do not discriminate against any channel or brand. For example, in Delhi it is common for a consumer who uses MAC Cosmetics, a premium brand, to also be using Blue Heaven, or VOV Cosmetics, both of which are mass brands and relatively cheaper. This is not limited only to beauty and personal care, it extends to all product categories. Shoppers in Delhi truly believe that as long as the product is value for the money they spend, the channel is immaterial. This also results in low loyalty towards any channel or brand in the city.

Despite high streets being the older channel, malls are equally popular in the city. The majority of the malls in Delhi have a range of brands covering mass to luxury. The coverage in terms of categories were primarily fashion, beauty, electronics, foodservice and other entertainment options, such as movies. Select Citywalk, Amibience, DLF Saket, and DLF Promenade are amongst the most frequented malls in the city. However, what is interesting is not the presence of both the channels, but the fact that these malls are frequented despite the availability of large traditional high streets. Consumers prefer one over the other purely based on the purpose of shopping, which is decided generally by a combination of price, occasion and proximity to the retail location.

One of the key reasons why traditional and high street shopping are popular in the city, is the wide array of options the city offers for occasions such as weddings.


Delhi, the most sought after city, for wedding shopping

Shopping for specific occasions is a common practice. However, Delhi is the shopping destination for the majority of the people in the country for weddings. The city is loud in its taste and colour preference, and celebrates festivals and weddings with enormous gusto! Wedding shopping catering to both men and women, covering price points ranging between mass and luxury, having multiple choices for each price band, make Delhi the ultimate shopping destination for weddings.

Interestingly, consumers are not always equipped to buy or spend lavishly, however, they would like to present themselves as affluent. This kind of need for aspirational living, leads retailers to find unique ways and channels to cater to the Delhi consumer. Retailers are reinventing the shopping experience to cater to the demanding consumers. Delhi has online retailers such as,, and from which consumers can rent bridal wear for both men and women. Designer apparel brands, such as Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Manish Malhotra, Anamika Khanna, Rina Dhaka and many others are available for rent. One of the key reasons for this channel flourishing in the city, is the aspirational consumer behaviour.

Along the same lines, when it comes to weddings, Delhi weddings in short are grand. Indian weddings are always a lavish affair, however, for Delhi, since the city already loves to dress up and be glamorous, weddings are a time, when everybody goes all out. High street shopping areas of the city, namely Chandni Chowk, Karol Bagh, and Lajpat Nagar are known across the country for their wedding shopping offerings. The Indian film industry often uses Chandni Chowk to show wedding preparations. The high street is almost synonymous with weddings in India. Wedding shopping and retail is monumental to the retail scape of the city, to a point, where there are events organised to exhibit the new and upcoming trends for weddings and fashion for weddings in the city. These events also include cosmetics and makeup artists.


Price is never an issue while shopping in Delhi

One of the most interesting factors which makes Delhi a shopper’s delight is the availability of products at various price points; spanning mass, masstige, premium and luxury. Furthermore, this is not limited only to Indian/ethnic wear, which is present across all forms of retail, whether it for lifestyle and fashion, but extends to accessories, electronics, appliances, and jewellery. The city offers both organised and unorganised retailers. Generally, the price points by the unorganised retailers are lower than organised, however, since these fragmented retailers have been around for decades, consumers had complete faith in the quality of their products, and prefer the fact that they are priced lower. The unorganised retail sector of the city, like the majority of the country, forms the larger section of retail channels. These unorganised retail markets are so popular, that Sarojini Nagar, a leading unorganised shopping high street in the city, known for its fashionable yet extremely affordable pricing, was recently used as the brand name for an online store, Online Sarojini Nagar. The idea behind this online store is to provide fashionable and affordable clothing, accessories, and footwear to consumers staying outside of Delhi as well, especially in tier 2 and 3 cities.

Shopping in Delhi has its own charm. One can enjoy the lavishness of premium brands and retail outlets, to the small joys of bargaining and negotiating with an unorganised retailer. With a varied mix of cultures, preference, incomes, and retail channels, Delhi is and will continue to provide the most satisfying shopping experience, irrespective of the occasion, for all.

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