Move over, China?
India may be ready to supplant China as the top growth market for Western quick-service brands, according to a new research note from Sara Senatore, securities analyst for Bernstein Research.
Based on projections that India’s economy could soon outpace China’s, and recent moves by McDonald’s Corp., Yum! Brands Inc., Starbucks Corp. and Dunkin’ Brands Inc., “the focus on the Indian foodservice market has intensified,” Senatore wrote.
India’s economic growth could exceed China’s as soon as 2014, the report said, adding that much of Indian consumers’ discretionary income likely would go toward spending at restaurants. This means the quick-service market in India could double by that year, she wrote.
“At $13 billion, the Indian market for fast food is just less than one-fifth that of China’s, but it is growing fully 4 percentage points faster — 19 percent annually versus 15 percent in China,” Senatore wrote. “Importantly, fast-food growth has consistently outpaced income growth in India by a factor of 50 percent, as Indian consumers disproportionately allocate incremental income to luxury goods like Westernized food.”
McDonald’s and Yum recently told investors they would accelerate growth in India, while Starbucks and Dunkin’ will open their first outlets there this year. Other brands, like Baskin-Robbins and Domino’s Pizza, already have several hundred locations in India.
Quick-service restaurants investing in India also could reap a “demographic dividend” from India’s youthful population, Senatore added.
“Unlike in China, where the population bulge sits in middle age, India’s largest population cohorts are its youngest,” she wrote. “Because eating habits are established at a fairly young age, this bodes well for growth. Young consumers cite taste, variety and limited time as reasons to eat fast food; we anticipate that these factors will only grow with time.”
By 2015, Indian consumers could generate annual sales of $1 billion for Yum, $800 million for McDonald’s and $80 million for Starbucks, Bernstein Research estimated.
In late 2010, McDonald’s said it would grow its system of restaurants in India by about 25 percent annually.
McDonald’s currently is the sales leader for Western quick-service brands in India, Senatore wrote, ringing up sales of $206 million in 2010, compared with $98 million for KFC, $38 million for Subway and $27 million for Baskin-Robbins.