China leads among East-Asian nations in the Global Retail Development Index, ranking second globally. Other Eastern Asian nations in the index include Malaysia (9), Indonesia (15), Sri Lanka (18), India (20), the Philippines (23) and Vietnam (28).
The Global Retail Development Index (GRDI), published by A.T. Kearney, ranks the top 30 most attractive developing countries for retail investment based on macroeconomic and industry-related factors. These factors are:
- Market attractiveness;
- Country risk;
- Market Saturation; and
- Time pressure.
According the GRDI report, there is a “window of opportunity” that retailers must heed when investing in developing markets. Retail markets go through four stages of development as they progress from emerging markets to mature ones: opening, peaking, maturing and closing. This process often takes between five and 10 years.
The window opens when a given population acquires more disposable income, logistics flow improves, ownership regulations become more favorable for international investors, and political, social and economic climates are stable. The window begins to close when markets become saturated and basic retail provisions no longer appeal to refined consumers, logistics are sophisticated and widespread enough that they do not provide a competitive advantage, regulations are steady and therefore not a deterrent to market entry, and risk to investors’ persons and property is minimal.
Many rapidly developing countries in Asia present prime opportunities for retailers. Rising incomes, growing populations and widespread modernization are creating “windows of opportunity” across the continent. With retail sales on the rise, and the utilization of modern distribution methods such as e-commerce, retailers are expanding beyond urban centers into less developed, untapped parts of emerging Asia.