UKIBC conference ‘India at 2047: The Consumer Story’ highlights investment opportunities and the link between consumer empowerment and India’s economic prosperity in the run up to 2047

By Kealan Finnegan

UK India Business Council (UKIBC) hosted an ‘India by 2047’ Consumer Conference on Wednesday, October 29 in Mumbai to bring together Indian and UK business, government and academia to examine India’s growth story and how, as we approach India at 100 in 2047, rising prosperity will substantially change consumption and investment patterns in India.

The event, which heard from distinguished speakers: His Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for South Asia, Harjinder Kang; Chairman and Managing Director, Raymond Ltd, Gautam Hari Singhania; CEO – Lifestyle Business, Raymond Ltd, Sunil Kataria; Group CEO, UKIBC, Richard McCallum, and UK and Indian businesses invested in India, underlined the enormous opportunities coming from India’s rising middle class and growing purchasing power. UK businesses highlighted their ongoing commitment to supporting India’s growth going forward and partnering with Indian business to the benefit of both countries.

Experts identified the innovative ways that businesses are supporting the expanding demand across multiple segments of consumer-driven opportunities. The conference further highlighted the imperative for companies to align their strategies with consumer-centric approaches to drive innovation.

Held one week after the Indian economy passed the USD 4 trillion mark – making India the fifth country to pass the mark – experts shared futuristic insights on the exciting, transformative consumer trends happening in the country, including the mass rollout and benefits of new technologies, rising purchase power, and spending habits, to identify the role that business can play to supercharge such trends and spur economic growth. As the Indian economy continues to grow at around 7 percent yoy and forecast to continue at such pace in coming decades, speakers highlighted the impact on incomes per capita, which are expected to top USD 10,000 by 2047, and the rising demand for more and new products as a result.

An impactful industry panel featuring speakers from UKIBC, Mahindra, Pearson, Niva Bupa, HSBC India and PwC India was also held on “Trends and Prospects: Consumers in India” to discuss a range of changing trends and patterns of consumer preferences and purchasing choice in India, the impact of digital penetration and innovative technological tools on consumer interactions, business opportunities and consumer-focused products and solutions.

The development and utilisation of new technologies in India emerged as a clear theme in India’s success in recent years, with Indian and UK businesses committed to expanding on collaborative R&D, innovation, technology, and manufacture and rollout of new technologies to support consumers. Currently, around 700 million people in India are using the internet regularly and expected to rise to 900 million by 2025. The UK and India are both leaders in digital payments and fintech innovations.

Richard McCallum, Group CEO, UKIBC, delivering the welcome address, said: “The revolution in digitisation has played an incredible role in unlocking latent demand across India – enabling consumer purchases at the click of a button. Together, our countries and the businesses within them are collaborating, partnering, and learning from each other to further this transformation. UKIBC convenes business and government to help address this growing demand and foster ever greater, deeper partnerships that support consumers across the country and India’s USD 5 trillion ambition.”

Gautam Hari Singhania, CMD, Raymond, during the conversation stated that; “India as a consumer market is booming with opportunity. The Indian consumer today is well exposed to global trends and the rapid proliferation of brands in smaller markets, be it through traditional retail as well as ecommerce is spurring growth. It is exciting to see the expansion in categories and new segments within the fashion and lifestyle which reflect the soaring aspirations of new age India. As a traditional homegrown brand with 98 year lineage it’s heartening to see this consumer evolution.”

Harjinder Kang, HM Trade Commissioner for South Asia, said: “India’s middle class is expected to reach nearly 250 million in 2050; this group will drive India’s consumer spending in premium products and services, creating enormous opportunities for UK firms selling high quality brands and products. With more than 600 UK businesses already invested in India and many more selling, consumer trade between the UK and India is truly alive with opportunity.”

As well as the rising middle-class population and increasing purchasing power, India’s young demographics will play a key role in driving continuous growth in the next several decades leading to 2047. By 2030, the median age of people living in India is projected to be 31 years, significantly younger than that of USA (40) and China (42). Armed with supportive technologies and access to unprecedented range of products and services, consumption is rising, aided by rising incomes.

Speakers underscored the interconnectedness between consumer empowerment and the nation’s economic prosperity. For example, education is moving increasingly online to widen accessibility and build human capital, digital healthcare is helping to deliver healthcare remotely and in cases more accurately than humans, online banking and financial services have brought millions previously without access into the banking sector. As these areas and further impacts continue to evolve, businesses are right to be excited about the evolving consumer landscape in India.


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