May 20, 2021

Asia Pacific emerging as retail growth hotspot

Kate Birch
3 min
Retailers in APAC are the fastest-growing with China especially fuelled by the growth of domestic online giants, finds Deloitte’s 2021 retailing report

Asia Pacific is emerging as a retail growth hotspot, according to research from Deloitte’s Global Powers of Retailing 2021 report, which outlined the top 250 global retailers in 2019.

Among the world’s top 250 retailers, which generated aggregated revenues of US$4.85 trillion in the fiscal year 2019, the APAC region stood out in terms of its phenomenal growth in the retail sector.

APAC grows 1.5 times higher than Top 250 average

While Europe has the most Top 250 retailers, with 87 companies, and North America retailers contributed the most to the revenue (47.1%), fast-growing Asia Pacific contributed 16.2% with Japan contributing the most (6.7%), China and Hong Kong 4.7% and the rest of Asia Pacific (4.8%).

In fact, Asian countries dominated Deloitte’s top 10 fastest-growing retailers, occupying five of the 10 spots with China taking two, and Vietnam, South Korea and India each taking one.

Underlining just how fast the region is growing, Asia Pacific further occupied nine out of the 12 new entrants to the top 250 list, with three countries based in South Korea, two in China, and Vietnam entering the top 250 for the first time due to rapid organic growth.

But that’s not all. Retailers in Asia Pacific also achieved the highest FY2019 YoY growth, at 7.1%, more than 1.5 times higher than the Top 250’s composite growth.

“Asia Pacific is emerging as a retail growth hotspot,” says Tianbing Zhang, Deloitte APAC Consumer Product and Retail Sector Leader.

What’s contributing to such growth?

So, what’s contributing to such growth among Asia-Pacific retailers? According to Deloitte, it includes a combination of a focus on e-commerce, rapid store expansion, M&A activity, and continued efforts to build a strong consumer base.

In fact, e-commerce and discounters drove high retail revenue growth and five out of the top 10 fastest-growing retailers worldwide were online.

In particular, China is steaming ahead, the only country with two retailers in the top 10 fastest-growing retailers and two in the top new entrants – Lao Feng Xiang and Topsports International Holdings.

"Fuelled by the growth of domestic online retail giants, Chinese retailers' revenue rose 11.7% YoY, the highest among major countries,” says Zhang. “Online retail continues to surge, supported by strong infrastructure for mobile commerce that makes the transition online much easier. With the pandemic further accelerating the shift online, retailers must step up their digital transformation efforts or risk missing out on growth opportunities."

Top 10 fastest-growing retailers is dominated by Asia

The world’s top 10 fastest-growing retailers, five of which are headquartered in Asia Pacific, had a number of things in common including

  • South Korean Coupang Corp. – ranked #1 with retail revenue in 2019 of US$5.7bn with a compound annual growth rate of 102.6% (2014-2019). 
  • India’s Reliance Retail Limited – ranked #2 with retail revenue of US$20.4bn and 55.1% growth.
  • Vietnam’s Mobile World Investment Corp. – ranked #4 with US$4.4bn of retail revenue and 45.3% CAGR. 
  • China’s – ranked #5 with US$73.9bn revenue and 36.3% CAGR. 
  • Vipshop Holdings Limited – ranked #8 with US$12.7bn revenue and 28.1% growth




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Jun 8, 2021

Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days

Kate Birch
2 min
We chart an historic week in India’s startup tech industry, where from April 5-9 the country achieved six unicorns

We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.

April 5: Meesho

India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.

April 6: CRED

Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.

April 7: API Holdings / Groww

The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.

April 8: ShareChat

New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.

April 9: Gupshup

AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels. 


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