Presenting the Big 4 of Indian Retail

Going ahead in the future, it's quite easy for an offline giant to get into ecommerce or an online giant to open retail stores if it wants to.

Sunil Rajguru
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There are two things to note in Indian retail. One is that the mom and pop stores will survive. That much is clear. But there is not much space in the middle. Consolidation is happening in a big way at the top and soon we will be left with only the large players. Secondly, going ahead in the future, it's quite easy for an offline giant to get into ecommerce or an online giant to open retail stores if it wants to. In fact, that’s why many mergers in the world happen to be online-offline marriage.


Flipkart was founded way back in 2007 and was one of the first success stories of both the Indian startup and ecommerce worlds. In 2018, Fortune 50 giant Walmart acquired a controlling stake in Flipkart. Sachin Bansal’s exit made him a multi-billionaire. Flipkart’s acquisitions of Myntra and PhonePe made it a force to reckon with.

Amazon is a lone wolf, a FAANG company and in the year that Walmart acquired Flipkart, it crossed a market capitalization of one trillion dollars. It entered the India market in 2013. Amazon India is growing at a rapid pace, opening up fulfilment centres all over India and also has the world’s largest Amazon office outside of America in Hyderabad.

While Flipkart and Amazon were the stories of the 2010s, there appears to be much more consolidation in the 2020s. Big Bazar is one of the oldest players on the block founded way back in 2001 and it has hundreds of stores all across India. On the other hand, Reliance has developed really big global ambitions in the last few years. It is positioning itself as a tech company and has gone for many IT acquisitions. Jio has been a huge success story and with 5G will go on to power smart cities. While there’s already Jio Mart, Reliance acquisition of Big Bazar is creating a retail giant. While Amazon has taken them to court over a technicality, Reliance will probably prevail in the long run.


Bigbasket was formed in 2011, but it really took off after the Covid crisis broke out. The lockdown led to a huge spike in people ordering groceries at home. Overall ecommerce really got a boost in India. Meanwhile, another giant, Tata, has been big in offline retail (Westside, Croma, Landmark) and pushing its ecommerce brand Tata Cliq. They also announced that they were working on a super app. Now the Tatas are taking over Bigbasket and probably the consolidation at the top is complete.

Reliance & Tatas as the desis.

Amazon & Walmart as the videshis.

These are the Big 4 of Indian Retail.
amazon flipkart ecommerce big-bazaar reliance-retail tata-group bigbasket retail