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Retailing in Kochi

July 2018

Retailing in Kochi is driven by price and need. The city is still dominated by traditional retailers across all product categories. One of the key retailers in Kochi is LuLu International Shopping Mall Pvt Ltd, which is synonymous with retailing in the city. Another distinctive retail trend of city is gold retailing, which is widespread across city. Shopping for gold is primarily for wedding and investment purposes, and common across the city irrespective of affluence and socioeconomic status.

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Key findings

Grocery shopping continued to be preferred from traditional retailers

Grocery shopping in Kochi continued to be preferred via traditional retailers. Channels such as food/drink/tobacco specialists which includes butchers, fish mongers, and greengrocers enjoyed primary preference over modern retailing. Independent small grocers are also popular in the city, due to the convenience of having them in every residential area combined with long-standing presence in the retail system.

Consumers in Kochi prefer department stores over other non-grocery channels

For non-grocery retailing such as apparel, footwear, personal accessories and eyewear, jewellery, electronics, appliances etc, consumers in Kochi prefer department stores over exclusive brand outlets. This was observed as department stores were generally considered to have more options, under one roof, and thereby shopping required less time to complete.

Retail outlets, locally called duty-free stores, represent a popular channel and are unique to the city

One of the most distinctive retail practices of Kochi was the existence of “fancy” stores for beauty and personal care requirements. Colloquially, they are called duty-free shops, however, they are found in regular shopping complexes in the city. These stores are preferred due to the availability of imported products, and imported versions of the same brand which are not common across other retail outlets.

Shopping for gold is a common practice across all consumers

Gold is a large part of the culture and lifestyle for everyone in Kerala. Kochi is also the same. Buying gold for an occasion such as a wedding, or otherwise, is a common practice among all consumers. The primary reason for this is that gold is viewed as an investment. As a result, the city is very popular for gold retailing, and consumers frequently visit these retail outlets.


City profile: consumers prefer traditional over modern retailing
Consumer profile: traditional, conscious spender, price sensitive
Retailing practices in Kochi
Key findings
Traditional retailers dominate grocery retailing practices
Non-grocery products and retailer choices are not brand driven
Branded shopping is primarily done via department stores
Department stores are preferred due to a one-stop shop solution
Imported brands stores, a unique channel present only in Kochi
Availability of Gulf products makes channel popular
Gold retail shopping is part of the culture of the city
Gold shopping is part of an investment plan, and not just shopping
LuLu International Shopping Mall Pvt Ltd
Joy Alukkas & Sons
Easy Buy by Landmark Group
Key takeaways


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