As retailers struggle in the U.S., a new report suggests India could be the next bright spot for the industry.
A.T. Kearney's annual look at emerging retail markets puts the country at the top of the list, ahead of China, which has been a longtime index leader. The report gauges the best opportunities for retail investments globally and ranks the top 30 developing countries based on the firm's findings for market attractiveness. Population, GDP per capita, national retail sales and country risk are a few factors taken into consideration.
"The 2017 [global retail development index] is all about the geopolitical scene and how it affects business," said Hana Ben-Shabat, a co-author of A.T. Kearney study. "Retailers are thinking twice about expansion into places where there is uncertainty about future government actions or high political risk."
Further, "mobile shopping is challenging the ways retailers think about global expansion, as well as about their role in the value chain," co-author Mike Moriarty added. "We are expecting more retailers to use mobile as part of their future expansion plans."
In this year's "Age of Focus" report, Asia houses five of the top 10 countries, including India and now second-place China.
India's expanding economy, coupled with booming consumption rates, urbanizing population and growing middle class, are what moved the country to the top spot, A.T. Kearney explained.
Retailers such as Armani Exchange, Kate Spade, Cole Haan and Muji all entered the Indian market in 2016.
Meanwhile, China fell on 2017's list as its market is maturing and GDP growth has lagged, but the country's size and e-commerce opportunity remain strong, the consulting firm went on.