Chennai Rising: The Future Retail Hub of India

December 7, 2023
Market of India

Why is Chennai the Next Big Retail Destination?

The swift development of retail infrastructure, a boom in commercial real estate investments, and a strategic position in the Indian market have all contributed to Chennai’s emergence as a major retail destination. The city’s construction of shopping centres, high-street layouts, and mixed-use complexes has increased significantly, drawing both domestic and foreign shops.

Chennai’s retail industry is also expanding due to the city’s strong economic foundation, which includes businesses such as information technology, manufacturing, and healthcare. This economic diversification has resulted in more job opportunities, more disposable incomes, and a growing consumer base with a growing demand for retail purchases.

1. Strategic Location and Demographics

Chennai’s strategic location in South India makes it a key hub for retail business. It serves as a gateway to the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. The city’s population is diversified and increasing, with a mix of urban and suburban districts. Chennai’s population is also known for its relatively higher disposable income, making it an attractive market for retailers.

2. Top-Notch Retail Infrastructure Development

  • Modern shopping malls: Chennai offers contemporary, air-conditioned shopping malls with plenty of parking, security, and a diverse selection of retail alternatives.
  • High-street retail outlets: High-street retailers, including luxury brands and designer boutiques, can be found in prime commercial zones.
  • Commercial complexes: Multifunctional complexes that house retail and office spaces provide convenience.
  • Improved retail landscape: The development has improved Chennai’s retail environment by providing various shopping experiences.
As per JLL report, Chennai, being the state capital, is vital to the state’s economy, accounting for almost 40% of its total output. The region’s geographic advantage has drawn investments in a variety of industries, including automotive manufacturing, information technology, aerospace, and others. Tamil Nadu intends to expand at a CAGR of about 14% to reach a USD 1 trillion economy by 2030, with significant infrastructure expenditures aimed at positioning Chennai as a top global investment destination.

3. Emerging Retail Sectors and Trends

Various retail industries, such as fashion, electronics, home décor, and others, have emerged in Chennai. Chennai consumers are increasingly looking for customised and specialised shopping experiences. The city has adopted worldwide retail trends such as experiential retail, which involves interactive and immersive shopping experiences and environmentally friendly and sustainable products.

“India’s Retail Sector on an Upward Growth Trajectory” report  by JLL India states that 1.1 million square feet of mall supply was added in India in H1 2023, with Chennai accounting for 19% of the retail stock.   Between H2 2023 and the end of 2027, the top seven cities are forecast to build nearly 40 million square feet of shopping mall stock. Institutional investments in retail real estate are increasing, showing a great potential for growth.

4. Economic Dynamics Driving Retail Growth

With a flourishing IT/ITeS industry, manufacturing businesses, and a rising startup ecosystem, Chennai’s economy is broad and robust. This economic stability encourages increased consumer expenditure. Rising disposable income and a solid middle-class presence have resulted in increased purchasing power, boosting retail expansion even further.

As per sources, India’s discretionary spending power is increasing, with average per capita income above US$2000 and expected to hit US$12,000 by 2047. This rise in disposable income is encouraging consumer expenditure and retail expansion.

5. Enhanced Supply Chain Optimization

Chennai retailers have invested in improving their supply chain processes. Efficient logistics and distribution networks ensure product delivery. Advanced technology solutions, such as inventory management systems and last-mile delivery choices, have increased the supply chain’s overall efficiency

6. Maximising Commercial Reach with E-Commerce Integration

Chennai has embraced e-commerce, with retailers using online and offline platforms to increase their reach. This Omni channel strategy enables customers to shop across digital and physical platforms in unison. Home deliveries have also been made possible via e-commerce platforms, making buying more convenient for residents.

As per sources, India’s online market is expected to jump to US$325 billion in 2030 from US$70 billion in 2022. The organized retail market will grow to US$230 billion in 2030 from US$110 billion in 2022.

 Commercial Lease Negotiation Tips for Retail Spaces

  • Understanding lease types: Commercial leases are classified into gross leases, net leases, and modified gross leases. Each kind specifies how rent, utilities, maintenance, and insurance costs are split between the landlord and tenant. Tenants must grasp the intricacies of the lease type to analyse the financial implications and negotiate properly.
  • Negotiating flexible lease terms: For retail tenants, lease flexibility can be a considerable advantage. This includes negotiating lease terms such as lease length, renewal options, and early termination provisions. Flexible businesses can react to market changes, expansion, or unforeseen occurrences without becoming trapped in unfavourable conditions.
  • Navigating compliance with legal regulations:  Retail establishments must adhere to various legal rules, such as zoning laws, health and safety standards, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Tenants should ensure that the lease agreement clearly states who is responsible for ensuring compliance with these requirements and who is accountable for any associated expenditures.
  • Clarifying operating expense responsibilities: Property taxes, insurance, repairs, and utilities are all examples of operating expenses for a retail business. These fees are sometimes passed on to the tenant in leases. To minimise unanticipated financial obligations, it is critical to properly understand and discuss who bears these fees, how they are determined, and any restrictions or limits to these costs.
Live Mint discusses the leasing of retail real estate space in 2022 across eight major cities in India, including Chennai. Here are the key details regarding Chennai:   Overall Leasing Activity: Leasing of retail real estate space increased by 21% year on year in 2022, totaling 4.7 million square feet across eight major cities. Chennai’s Leasing Activity: In 2022, Chennai, along with Hyderabad and Pune, contributed to 9% of overall leasing activity. Quarterly Breakdown: Retail leasing stood at 1.6 million square feet in the October-December quarter of 2022, representing a 79% increase over the previous quarter (July-September). Chennai contributed 9% to retail space absorption in this quarter.

Market of India – Your Destination for Wholesale and Retail Solutions

Market of India, India’s largest upcoming wholesale and retail marketplace, is designed to elevate your commercial business and operations. Our marketplace within a well-connected integrated township provides a premium location with cutting-edge technology, allowing seamless connectivity and access to modern resources adapted to your commercial needs.

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Wrapping Up

Chennai’s rise as a future retail hub in India reflects the city’s changing economic structure and customer trends. With its mix of ancient marketplaces and sophisticated shopping malls, the city is improving its retail experience and setting new standards in the Indian retail industry. This renovation is a huge step forward in Chennai’s development, guaranteeing a bright future for both businesses and shoppers.


1. How does Chennai’s commercial real estate market respond to the retail boom?

Chennai’s commercial real estate is thriving, with an increase in the development of shopping malls and retail spaces.

2. What is the future growth of the retail sector in India?

The Indian retail industry is projected to reach approximately $1.3 trillion by 2025, reflecting significant growth potential.

3. What impact does Chennai’s retail expansion have on local businesses?

The retail expansion is providing local businesses with new opportunities for growth and collaboration.

Market of India is India's largest upcoming wholesale and retail market in Chennai. We are known for having markets and office spaces with world-class infrastructure and ancillary services. We aim to offer traders a wide range of options for commercial spaces.

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