Global Retail Development Index

The Global Retail Development Index™ is an annual study that ranks the top 30 developing countries for retail expansion worldwide. The Index analyzes 25 macroeconomic and retail-specific variables to help retailers devise successful global strategies and to identify emerging market investment opportunities. The GRDI is unique because it identifies today's most successful markets and those that offer the most potential for the future.

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Global Retailers: Cautiously Aggressive or Aggressively Cautious?

2013 Global Retail Development Index™

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A.T. Kearney’s Global Retail Development IndexTM (GRDI) has guided global retailers with their strategic investments for more than a dozen years, and the 2013 Index reflects some important changes to the retail environment. But one thing hasn't changed: As developed markets face flat or anemic growth, developing markets remain important sources of growth. The 12th annual edition of the GRDI finds many opportunities for retailers seeking to grow and expand in fast-growing developing markets big and small.

Of course, there's nothing easy about a global expansion strategy in retail. Every market has unique challenges that require unique strategies for success. And this year’s GRDI finds several examples of countries where global retailers are taking a step back from the aggressive expansion of the not-too-distant past in favor of more cautious strategies. For example, as retailers confront challenges in China, many are scaling back plans for new stores and choosing sites more carefully. In some regions, such as Latin America and Central Asia, more retailers are opening in smaller countries to hone their regional strategies before entering larger markets.

Highlights of the 2013 GRDI include:

  • Brazil takes the top spot for the third straight year, followed by two other Latin American countries, Chile and Uruguay. A strong and growing middle class, controlled inflation, sustained economic growth, and continued economic and political stability have increased consumer and investor confidence and created a favorable environment for retail development.
  • China dips to fourth but it remains a retail powerhouse thanks to double-digit sales growth and rising consumer demand. However, many luxury retailers are rethinking their expansion plans as Chinese consumers purchase more goods abroad. China is first in the Retail Apparel Index.
  • Once again, the Index sees the rise of “little gems”—small-population countries with unique characteristics. This year’s gems include Uruguay (3rd in the rankings), Mongolia (7th), Georgia (8th), and Armenia (10th), among others. For luxury retailers, these are newfound hubs. For general retailers, they can be the beginning of a regional strategy.
  • India has its lowest ranking in the GRDI’s 12 years, amid high operating costs, low bargaining power with vendors, and heavy discounting to improve sales. However, the long-term fundamentals remain strong: a large, young, and increasingly brand- and fashion-conscious population.

About the Index

Published since 2002, the GRDI helps retailers prioritize their global development strategies by ranking the retail expansion attractiveness of emerging countries based on a set of 25 variables including economic and political risk, retail market attractiveness, retail saturation levels, and modern retailing sales area and sales growth. The GRDI focuses on opportunities for mass merchant and food retailers, which are typically the bellwether for modern retailing concepts in a country.

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Media Highlights

News Releases

Past Reports

  • 2012 Global Retail Development Index

    2012 Global Retail Development Index

    While the world's largest developing markets—particularly the BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India, and China—still tempt the largest global retailers and show no signs of slowing down, many smaller, untapped markets are providing new profit frontiers, particularly for regional and specialty players.

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    The 2012 A.T. Kearney Global Retail Development Index, the 11th annual edition, finds a wide array of possibilities for retailers seeking to capture an immediate impact and a growth advantage in developing countries. Global retail expansion today has a different profile than it had a decade ago when we published findings from the first Index. While the world's largest developing markets—particularly the BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India, and China—still tempt the largest global retailers and show no signs of slowing down, many smaller, untapped markets are providing new profit frontiers, particularly for regional and specialty players.

    Highlights of the 2012 GRDI include:

    • Brazil is the top country in the GRDI for the second straight year, leading the way for Latin America, which has 7 countries among the top 30. Chile is second once again, and Uruguay is fourth.
    • China climbs to third place in the GRDI, as double-digit sales growth is expected. However, rents and labor costs are rising, so the market still has many challenges.
    • Some of the smaller countries with attractive retail markets include Georgia, Oman, and Mongolia, all of which were unranked in the 2011 GRDI but are in the top 10 this year.
    • With retail talent a critical differentiator in developing markets, finding and retaining talented workers is a core component to success. The Retail Talent Index, reintroduced this year, is led by Malaysia, whose low-cost labor and favorable regulations, and a well-educated population support the operations of international retailers that enter and expand in the market.

    About the Index

    Published since 2002, the GRDI helps retailers prioritize their global development strategies by ranking the retail expansion attractiveness of emerging countries based on a set of 25 variables including economic and political risk, retail market attractiveness, retail saturation levels, and modern retailing sales area and sales growth. The GRDI focuses on opportunities for mass merchant and food retailers, which are typically the bellwether for modern retailing concepts in a country.

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  • 2011 Global Retail Development Index

    2011 Global Retail Development Index

    As retail giants make big investments to enter new markets, they are learning that retail expansion is a portfolio game.

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  • GRDI: A 10-Year Retrospective

    GRDI: A 10-Year Retrospective

    This GRDI 10th anniversary report looks back at the lessons from a decade of change for global retail development.

    Abstract | More | PDF | iPad | Kindle

    By almost any measure, the retail landscape in developing markets has experienced explosive growth over the past 10 years. As the population in these countries increased by 11 percent, retail space expanded by 225 percent, retail sales per capita increased almost 100 percent, and Internet access grew more than 400 percent. Developing countries now represent 42 percent of global retail sales, a 7 percent rise since 2001. As mature economies stagnate, developing markets are a global retail growth engine.

    However, getting it right in developing countries is difficult, and there have been plenty of costly stumbles along the way. This paper, which accompanies the main report of the 2011 GRDI, looks at the ups and downs of the past decade, the countries and companies that have stood out in an era of globalization, and the most important lessons international retailers have learned as they tapped into developing markets.

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  • 2010 Global Retail Development Index

    2010 Global Retail Development Index

    While the biggest developed economies slowly resume growth, developing economies in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East appear poised for remarkable growth.

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  • 2009 Global Retail Development Index

    2009 Global Retail Development Index

    As consumer spending and retail sales decline in home markets, global expansion to emerging markets is increasing as a strategy for growth.

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  • 2008 Global Retail Development Index

    2008 Global Retail Development Index

    Transformation is the watchword in global retail expansion as economic turbulence continues into 2008.

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  • 2007 Global Retail Development Index

    2007 Global Retail Development Index

    Retailers that identify the most promising markets will be able to saturate the obvious markets and gain first-mover advantage in new ones.

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  • 2006 Global Retail Development Index

    2006 Global Retail Development Index

    The race into new markets continues. Success in this race will go to companies that make the right moves at the right times.

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  • 2005 Global Retail Development Index

    2005 Global Retail Development Index

    The global retail game is changing. While players surged into new markets in 2004, this year they are more focused on rebalancing their positions.

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  • 2004 Global Retail Development Index

    2004 Global Retail Development Index

    Global retail gets back on track for growth, with the most significant growth taking place in emerging markets.

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Contact

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Mike Moriarty
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Althea Peng
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video Global Retailers Next Stop?: Frontier Markets

Global Retailers Next Stop?: Frontier Markets

Bloomberg TV, 28 June 2013

Mike Moriarty, A.T. Kearney partner, discusses global retailing in “The Next Big Trade” on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart.”

video 2013 Global Retail Development Index

2013 Global Retail Development Index

Global Retailers: Cautiously Aggressive or Aggressively Cautious?

Mike Moriarty, A.T. Kearney partner, discusses hot spots in the world for investing in retail, noting the 2013 activity in South America.

In the News

Read insights from A.T. Kearney consultants quoted in the media.

Global Leaders

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