MNC consumer firms bullish on India despite inflation, global headwinds

Kolkata | Mumbai: Chief executives of over ten large consumer-facing global giants including Procter & Gamble, Mondelez, Visa, Levi’s, Diageo, Amazon, Apple, H&M and Skechers said in recent earnings call that their India business was resilient during the December quarter despite global macro-economic headwinds such as inflation, energy crisis, recession concerns in Europe, with several of them growing at a double-digit pace in India.

Most of these companies indicated bullish expansion plans in India which ranked amongst one of their top performing markets playing down any impact on sales due to inflation affecting most other geographies and impact on China due to Covid restrictions for most.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy told analysts while in Europe the inflation is higher than most places, the impact of the Ukraine war is more significant and energy price hikes, the company is satisfied with the business in countries like India, Brazil, Middle East, Africa, Turkey, Mexico and Australia.


Dirk Van de Put, chief executive officer at Mondelez, said the momentum in emerging markets, with particularly China and India showing strong results combined with the resilience of our categories as evidenced by strong volume growth, is helping us to offset the challenges that many companies are facing, such as global cost inflation, the energy crisis, recession concerns in Europe and supply chain volatility.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund projected India to be the fastest-growing major economy in FY24, retaining the forecast at 6.1% citing resilient domestic demand despite external headwinds.

Andre Schulten, chief financial officer at Procter & Gamble, said the India business continues to accelerate. The company grew by 12% in the September quarter and 13% in the December quarter. He said digital infrastructure the company has created in India is contributing to drive disproportionate growth both from sales and media capability standpoint.

Visa reported 8% overall growth in consumer payments with strong double-digit growth in the United States, India and Brazil. Jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co said net revenues in Asia were up 17%, reflecting sustained broad-based growth across most markets led by India, ANZ, and Indonesia.
AO Smith reported a 16% jump in India sales last quarter when net global sales were down by 6% and 13% in rest of the world territories due to lockdowns in China.

Fabrizio Freda, CEO at Estee Lauder Companies, said India, Brazil, Turkey and Malaysia are among the stars of its emerging markets with each posting strong double-digit organic sales growth led by India, rising nearly 50%.

Apple posted quarterly revenue records in India in the December quarter growing at “very strong double digits” when its global sales fell 5% due to foreign exchange, macroeconomic environment and supply constraints on super premium smartphones.

Diageo, the world’s biggest spirits company, said India net sales grew 11%, with volume growth of 7% last quarter, driven by strong consumer demand and continued premiumisation. “You have got 600 million new consumers coming into the market in places like Latin America and India, South-East Asia. We are not seeing a weakening of the premiumisation trend really anywhere,” said Ivan Menezes, CEO at Diageo.

Most of the global companies said they are going to push the pedal for expansion in the country.

Fashion retailer H&M CEO Helena Helmersson said the company is accelerating expansion in India, while shoe-maker Skechers said it will invest in manufacturing as well as warehousing in India, a market where it feels it can get beyond $1 billion, roughly five times compared to its current revenue.