Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Boom in Pakistan's $152 Billion Retail Market

Surging demand for fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) in Pakistan is attracting hundreds of millions of dollars of new investments. Expanding middle class, particularly millennials with rising disposable incomes, is demanding branded and packaged consumer goods ranging from personal and baby care items to food and beverage products.  Rapid growth in sales of consumer products and services is driving other sectors, including retail, e-commerce, paper and packaging, advertising, media, sports and entertainment. Planet Retail estimates Pakistan's current retail market size at $152 billion. It is forecast to expand 8.2% a year through 2016-2021 as average disposable income has doubled since 2010, according to research group Euromonitor International as reported by Bloomberg News.

New FMCG Investments:

Dutch consumer giant Unilever has announced plans to invest $120 million to expand its operations in Pakistan. Turkish multinational Hayat Kimya has said it will invest $150 million to manufacture consumer products in the country. Earlier in 2016, Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina acquired 51 % of Karachi-based Engro Foods Limited for $220 million.

Rapid growth in sales of consumer products and services is driving other sectors, including retail, e-commerce, paper and packaging, advertising, media, sports and entertainment.

Retail Sales:

Rising incomes of Pakistanis are reflected in the retail sales growth which is ranked the fastest in the world.  Planet Retail estimates Pakistan's current retail market size at $152 billion. It is forecast to expand 8.2% a year through 2016-2021 as disposable income has doubled since 2010, according to research group Euromonitor International as reported by Bloomberg News. The size of the middle class is expected to surpass that of the U.K. and Italy in the forecast period, it said.

Retail Sales Growth. Source: Bloomberg


Online sales are growing much faster than the brick-and-mortar retail sales. Adam Dawood of Yayvo online portal estimates that e-tail sales are doubling every year. He expects them to pass $1 billion in the current fiscal year (2017-18), two years earlier than the previous forecast. This is being enabled by increasing broadband penetration and new online payment options. Ant Financial, an Alibaba subsidiary, has just announced the purchase of 45% stake in Pakistan-based Telenor Microfinance Bank. Bloomberg is reporting that Alibaba is in serious talks to buy, an online retailer in Pakistan.

Advertising Revenue:

Growing buying power of rapidly expanding middle class in Pakistan drove the nation's media advertising revenue up 14% to a record Rs. 76.2 billion ($727 million), making the country's media market among the world's fastest growing for FY 2015-16, according to Magna Research.  Half of this ad spending (Rs. 38 billion or $362 million) went to television channels while the rest was divided among print, outdoor, radio and digital media. `

Global Advertising Growth 2016. Source: Magna

Digital media spending rose 27% in 2015-16 over prior year, the fastest of all the media platforms. It was followed by 20% increase in radio, 13% in television, 12% in print and 6% in outdoor advertising, according to data published by Aurora media market research

Mass Media Growth:

Advertising revenue has fueled media boom in Pakistan since early 2000s when Pakistan had just one television channel, according to the UK's Prospect Magazine. Today it has over 100. This boom has transformed the nation. The birth of privately owned commercial media has been enabled by the Musharraf-era deregulation, and funded by the tremendous growth in revenue from advertising targeted at the burgeoning urban middle class consumers.

Sports and Entertainment:

Sports and entertainment sectors are major beneficiaries of increasing advertising budgets. Commercial television channels' shows and serials are supported by advertisers. A quick look at Pakistan Super League 2018 matches reveals that all major consumer brand names are either directly sponsoring or buying advertising from broadcasters.  These ads and sponsorship have turned PSL into a major business producing tens of millions of dollars in revenue to support cricket in Pakistan.  Last year, Pakistan Cricket Board's budget was over $40 million and a big chunk of it came from PSL. This year, the PSL chairman Najam Sethi estimates the PSL franchise valuation is approaching half a billion US dollars with potentially significant revenue upside.

Downsides of Consumer Boom:

There are a couple of downsides of the consumer boom. First,  a dramatic increase in solid waste. Second, rising consumption could further depress Pakistan's already low private savings rate.

FMCG products come with a significant amount of plastic and paper packaging that contribute to larger volume of trash. This will necessitate a more modern approach to solid waste disposal and recycling in Pakistani towns and cities. An absence of these systems will make the garbage situation much worse. It will pose increased environmental hazards.

Pakistan's savings rate is already in teens, making it among the lowest in the world. Further decline could hurt investments necessary for faster economic growth.


Pakistan's $152 billion retail market is the fastest growing in the world, according to Euromonitor.  Expanding middle class, particularly millennials with rising disposable incomes, is demanding branded and packaged consumer goods ranging from personal and baby care items to food and beverage products. Strong demand for fast moving consumer goods is drawing large new investments of hundreds of millions of dollars.  Rapid growth in sales of consumer products and services is driving other sectors, including retail, e-commerce, paper and packaging, advertising, media, sports and entertainment. Potential downsides of soaring consumption include increased amount of  solid waste and decline in domestic savings and investment rates.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Retail Sales Growth

Advertising Revenue in Pakistan

Pakistan FMCG Market

The Other 99% of Pakistan Story

PSL Cricket League Revenue

E-Commerce in Pakistan

Fintech Revolution in Pakistan

Mobile Broadband Speed in Pakistan


Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s booming e-commerce market is just getting started
Sarfaraz A. KhanUpdated March 26, 2018

Pakistan’s e-commerce market has witnessed phenomenal growth recently.

The number of registered e-commerce merchants has risen by 2.6-times and e-commerce payments have surged 2.3-times in a span of just twelve months, as per a State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) report. But this is still a young market with significant room for growth.

Pakistani businesses have embraced e-commerce. Hundreds of retailers, ranging from clothing outlets to electronic equipment stores, are now using websites to sell goods to customers.

The emergence of several online marketplaces, such as and OLX Pakistan, has made it easier for retailers to sell goods on the web. At the same time, a number of new online businesses have also propped up.

As per the SBP’s Payment Systems Review (Q2FY18), there were a total of 344 e-commerce merchants in the country registered with banks at the end of 2016. By the end of 2017, that number had climbed to 905.

This growth was accompanied by a surge in e-commerce transactions from these merchants from Rs3.9 billion in the last three months of 2016 to Rs9.1bn in the last three months of the previous year. The central bank’s report also indicates that around 800 million payment transactions totalling Rs4.5bn were booked in the last three months of 2017. That’s also considerably greater than the Rs2bn e-commerce payments that happened in the same period of 2016.

The actual value of e-commerce sales, however, is likely several times larger than the above-mentioned numbers. That is because the central bank’s report only shows those transactions that occurred through debit or credit cards.

But Pakistani consumers mainly use the cash-on-delivery (COD) system to buy goods online. As per one estimate, almost 85 per cent of online sales occur through COD. Using this, we can speculate that roughly Rs25.5bn e-commerce payments may have occurred in the Oct-Dec period through the COD system.

It wasn’t long ago when the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority noted in its annual report for the previous fiscal year that the size of Pakistan’s e-commerce market could grow from $60m-$100m in 2015 to $1bn by 2020.However, industry experts now believe that the country could hit the key milestone by as soon as this year.

If the country continues to witness e-commerce sales of Rs30bn in every quarter from electronic card and COD system, just as it likely did in the last three months of 2017, then the total sales for the ongoing fiscal may clock in at Rs102bn, or $1.1bn at the current exchange rate. If however, Pakistan witnesses an increase in online sales, which could be driven by the Eid shopping season, then the market could go way past the $1 billion threshold in 2018.

At $1 billion, however, the size of Pakistan’s e-commerce market will still be tiny. Global e-commerce retail sales are expected to be around $2.8 trillion in 2018, as per data from Statista, a provider of market and consumer data.

China is the world’s largest e-commerce market where the online retail sales are forecasted to be around $600bn for 2018, followed by the US with $461.5bn of expected sales. India could report $25bn of retail e-commerce sales in the current year.

That being said, Pakistan is still a young e-commerce market where less than one-fifth of the total population uses the internet.

As per latest data from Internet Live Stats, the global internet penetration rate is around 46pc. In developed markets like the US, the metric is over 80pc. In Pakistan, however, a little less than 18pc of the population has access to the internet. That’s less than half of the global average, which means that there’s significant room for growth although internet penetration in the country has already grown significantly from just 8pc in 2010.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan '#GDP rate rose to 5.8% in FY17-18': Pakistan's #economy grows at fastest rate in 13 years. Large Scale #Manufacturing up 6.13%. #Agriculture grew at a rate of 3.81%, while #industries and #services grew 5.8% and 6.43% respectively.

"Energy, economy, elimination of extremism and education were the 'four Es' that we had discussed in our manifesto," Ahsan Iqbal said.

"We created two plans ─ one was an immediate plan, the other was our Vision 2025," he explained.

The PML-N government faced "major constraints and bottlenecks as a development framework was not present," he said.

Despite this, the government had, over the last five years, allocated Rs47 billion to higher education, built 1,750 kilometres in motorways, and added 11,000 MegaWatts to the power grid.

"We provided energy to industries so that the economy could grow. Record demand has been generated from [an increase in] energy in Pakistan."

"The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a reality today. Of a total investment of $46bn, $39bn is being used to build roads and infrastructure."

"We have used our own budget to curb terrorism, financing Operations Zarb-i-Azb and Raddul Fasaad," he said.

Miftah Ismail said the government couldn't "possibly have given a budget for just three months."

"What were we supposed to do? Raise salaries for three months, tell India to stop LoC firing for three months, and reduce taxes for three months? That is not how economics works. If we were to do this, it would have been a disservice to our country and we would not have been doing our jobs," he said.

"The day the next government comes, it it has the right to change whatever it wants in the budget. Also, Ahsan Iqbal has left a Rs100bn block for the next government to spend on development as they please. 95pc of the same expenditures are faced by every government. Each government has to pay salaries and so on," he said.

"You will see that all provinces will give their budget too, even though they are busy playing politics on the matter at the moment," Ismail added.

Iqbal said: "The provinces have to give a budget that is based on expenditures. They are given revenues which mostly come from the federal government. The federal government has to define the country's economic policy for the next year. Through this, the industrialist decides the cost of production. How can we leave them without a budget?"

The gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a rate of 5.8 per cent over the past year, Iqbal revealed, narrowly missing the PML-N's manifesto target of at least 6pc.

"We would have achieved 6.1pc without political turmoil," he explained. "This is compared to an average of 3pc GDP growth" before the PML-N came to power in 2013.

The momentum of growth remained above 5pc for the last two years running, reaching a 13-year high of 5.8pc in FY17-18 on the back of "strong performance in the agriculture, industrial and service sectors", Iqbal said.

Agriculture grew at a rate of 3.81pc, while industries and services grew 5.8pc and 6.43pc respectively, he announced.

The agri sector, saw the highest growth over the last 13 years, Iqbal said, explaining that the growth was achieved "on the back of initiatives such as expansion in credit to the sector, along with the Kissan Package, provision of better quality seeds including hybrid and high-yield varieties, and timely availability of agriculture inputs such as fertiliser, pesticides, etc."
Riaz Haq said…
Hair Removal Ad Makes Pakistani Women Go 'Wow' — But Not In A Good Way

On the face of it, it was just another hair removal ad aimed at women in both Pakistan and India But this ad, like the others, would have slipped by unnoticed were it not for a social media uproar led by none other than Sana Mir, the former captain of the Pakistan women's cricket team.

First uploaded on the product's YouTube channel on April 5, the ad for Veet Perfect Silk hair removal cream shows Pakistani actress Mahira Khan slinking onto a basketball court on a college campus. Even though she's wearing a tight pink dress and high heels, she handles the ball with ease and sinks it into the basket. As she accomplishes this feat, her arm brushes up against one of the other players, in athletic garb, who declares "wow" and then exclaims breathlessly, "So smooth!"

"Not smooth," replies Khan. "Perfect!"

Skin lightening and hair removal creams are some of the subcontinent's best-selling products, playing on the familiar insecurities South Asian women share on both sides of the border about body hair and the color of their skin. But when Sana Mir commented on the ad in a Facebook post on April 22, her post went viral — shared over 700 times from her official page and liked 28,000 times at last count.

Mir opened her statement with a strong salvo: "To all young girls out there who aspire to take up sports. Make no mistake: you need strong arms, not smooth arms, on a sports field." She related how she'd refused to endorse similar beauty products because they objectify women "in different professional settings." Because this one involved sports and was clearly aimed at a younger crowd, Mir decided to speak up.

"The worst thing is that instead of sending a message to young girls that the colour or texture of their skin does not matter, we are promoting body shaming and objectification," Mir wrote. She ended her post by requesting companies and the celebrities who endorse products to try and give girls the confidence to fulfill their dreams rather than making them feel self-conscious about their bodies.

Both Indian and Pakistani women reacted enthusiastically to Mir's post, which she paired with jubilant images of the Pakistani women cricket's team performing on the field. Women called her a strong role model and bemoaned the pressure that women feel to look "perfect", thanks to advertisements for beauty products like these. Others lauded her for refusing sponsorship deals in the name of resisting body-shaming. "You're a real hero for refusing to compromise on values for sponsorship money," said Shahbano Aliani, from Karachi.

Mir's protest comes at a time when Pakistani women are becoming increasingly aware of the sexism that keeps them in a position of lesser status. But there has been backlash. Some media painted Mir's statement as "slamming" Mahira Khan, predictably pitting two of Pakistan's most recognizable celebrities against each other.
Riaz Haq said…
ADB says ‘no need to panic’ over Pakistan’s economy
By Maidah Haris Published: May 4, 2018

MANILA: Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) former country director Werner Liepach said Pakistan will not need a bailout package as its economy was doing well, adding that there was no need to panic even as the current account deficit widens and foreign exchange reserves continue to fall.

Addressing a media briefing at the 51st Annual Meeting of the ADB Board of Governors in Manila, Liepach said remittances continue to remain strong and would help meet external sector challenges.

“Things are pretty much okay,” said Liepach. Overseas workers’ remittances touched a seven-month high at $1.77 billion in March 2018, which came on back of the second round of rupee devaluation, he added.

In its latest quarterly report, the State Bank of Pakistan also anticipated that the country would attract a maximum of $20.5 billion in remittances in fiscal year 2018.

Liepach, who is the director general ADB for Central and West Asia Regional Department, also maintained a positive outlook of Pakistan’s growth. He acknowledged that the budget deficit has gone up a little but it is “quite normal in election year”.

Currently, the country’s budget deficit is projected to stand at 5.5% of GDP at the end of fiscal year 2018, while SBP-held foreign exchange reserves currently amount to $11.51 billion.

Additionally, Pakistan’s current account deficit has continued to expand and the nine-month gap has increased to $12.03 billion. However, the ADB official remained optimistic.

“What’s happened is that imports have gone up quite a lot due to increased economic activity related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is not a bad thing.

“What is missing is that export growth hasn’t really gone as expected.”

He highlighted various factors that impact the growth of exports, including the overvalued exchange rate, which has been taken care of. “The latest information that I received is that exports are starting to pick up again,” he informed.

Now, due to the early rise in imports followed by late pick-up of exports, there has to be a reaction in the foreign exchange reserves, which is of concern, but Pakistan has a way of financing its reserves and “there is no need to panic”.

He added that ADB and the World Bank are not the only ones in town as Pakistan has managed to secure a loan from China. “The country is also contemplating tapping the capital markets, because the market has been responsive lately.”

Stressing on ADB’s role, Liepach said the agency always gave policy-based loans to finance structural reforms, which in no way is a bailout.
Riaz Haq said…
The dawn of advertising in Pakistan (1947-2017)

A new dynamic
According to a study conducted by Standard Chartered Bank last year, between 2011 and 2015, the size of the retail pie in Pakistan jumped from $96 to $133 billion, a 38.5% increase.

The current value of Pakistan’s retail sector is estimated at $152 billion, as per Planet Retail (a global retail consultancy). It is the third largest contributor to the economy (after agriculture and industry), accounts for 18% of the total GDP and is the second largest employer (after agriculture) providing jobs to more than 16% of the total labour force. (NB: As most of retail in Pakistan is unorganised, therefore undocumented, industry analysts agree that the on-ground figures are much higher).

With an annual growth of eight percent, retail sales are expected to cross the $200 million mark by the end of 2018. The main factor fuelling this, apart from increasing urbanisation, is an improving employment-to-population ratio which has led to higher disposable incomes, thereby expanding the middle class and increasing consumer spending manifold (estimated at $293 million in 2017 and projected to cross $333 million by 2018).

The other trend disrupting traditional retail is e-commerce. Although still at a nascent stage, internet retail is expected to become a significant complement to brick-and-mortar grocery and non-grocery retailing in the coming years.

The morphing of ‘mall’ culture
Dolmen Centre in Tariq Road (established in the nineties), was the first vertical shopping complex in Pakistan built on a multiple floor layout. Before that the concept of indoor air-conditioned shopping areas was alien in Pakistan. If people wanted branded products, Zainab Market or Panorama and Rex Centres were the go-to places.

However, the mall did not turn out the way it had been envisioned. There were not enough local brands because many did not want to assume the high rents Dolmen Centre demanded. It was almost a decade later that Pakistan had its first shopping mall, when Park Towers opened in Karachi.

The mall morphed into a social venue, where people went to enjoy the amenities rather than to buy. The opening of Dolmen Mall Tariq Road in 2002 proved to be a game changer. Dolmen Group’s prior experience had taught them that the only way to convince the big names to come onboard as tenants was to ensure customer traffic.

The two strategic decisions that paid off were the establishment of Sindbad’s Wonderland and a food court. Positioned as a family recreational spot, the mall began to bustle with activity convincing retailers to invest in space. Over the next 15 years, a number of malls were established (mostly in Karachi), redefining the shopping experience. The entry of Hyperstar in 2012 (operated by the Carrefour retail chain) as an anchor tenant at Dolmen Mall Clifton was another game changer.

Hyperstar became a retail success, prompting other mall operators to adopt the idea of having anchor tenants. North Pakistan is now at the forefront of the retail race and several multipurpose malls are under construction in Bahawalpur, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Islamabad, Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi.

Riaz Haq said…
The dawn of advertising in Pakistan (1947-2017)

Throughout Pakistan’s tumultuous 70-year history, the advertising sector has undergone significant changes, reflecting changing global consumer patterns as well as the development and evolution of local trends. Indeed, as a developing economy poised at the intersection of South and Central Asia and the Middle East, Pakistan’s changing advertising landscape is a witness and an archive of changing mindsets and practices, as well as of wider socio-economic trends.

Throughout these changes, Pakistan’s oldest advertising medium – Pakistan’s print industry – has continued to maintain its position not only as the source of record for news and analysis, but as a medium of choice for advertisers seeking high-impact and high-visibility solutions.

In addition to changing consumers, Pakistan’s advertising landscape has been transformed by the introduction of new media. From 1947 to date, Pakistan has witnessed the growth of radio stations and outdoor advertising options, in addition to the mushrooming of private TV stations in the last 20 years, as well as the more recent explosion of digital advertising. Indeed, as internet penetration continues to grow, particularly on mobile devices, Pakistani consumers are now irrevocably linked to the wider world.

Throughout these tectonic shifts in the media industry, the ability among audiences to access content relevant to their interests (and increasingly on the go) continues to expand further, facilitating the flow of information and ideas.

Despite the introduction of new media for content delivery, Pakistan’s print media has continued to flourish, with advertisers placing their faith in a medium that will gain them visibility and deliver results. The resilience of print advertising can be attributed to three main factors. The lack of advertisement clutter versus other media, the higher attention and engagement rate of readers and the prestige and permanence attached to advertising in print versus other media.

As print publications focus on providing easy-to-read designs centred on providing readers an engaging reading experience, newspapers and magazines are increasingly limiting the quantum of advertising per page, focusing their efforts on delivering high-quality content and maximising the visibility of insertions.

Indeed, the clutter in advertising in other media further enhances the effectiveness of print advertising – while TV commercials or radio spots may be aired a few times, their impact is limited to those moments during which they are aired. As a result, print emerges as the place of record for advertisers to announce new products or lines, driven by the permanence of a print insertion.

A large part of the resilience of print advertising can also be attributed to the dynamics of print readers compared to radio or TV audiences, because print remains (in a world increasingly focused on multi-tasking) a high-engagement medium, requiring the full attention of readers compared to more passive media. For advertisers, print advertising thus provides an opportunity to reach consumers while they give their undivided attention and focus.

As Pakistani consumers have evolved over the last 70 years, the advertising industry has kept pace, providing brands with new and innovative opportunities to target consumers. Throughout all this, with the introduction and mass availability of TV (initially restricted to a few terrestrial channels but now expanding to a multitude of cable channels) as well as the growth of digital advertising options, Pakistan’s oldest advertising medium continues to flourish.

Leveraging the hallowed relationship between readers and their morning newspaper, print continues to provide advertisers across Pakistan the opportunity to reach out and leave an impact on an engaged and loyal readership. 
Riaz Haq said…
#HongKong’s #retail chain Cheong Hing plans to enter #Pakistan. Founded in 1960, the company's line of businesses include retail sale of home-furnishings such as china, glassware, and metal-ware for kitchen and table use.

Hong Kong-based companies including a retail chain store planned to enter Pakistan following a bilateral treaty signed between the two countries last year to avoid double taxation that may boost annual foreign direct investment inflows from approximately $35 million, officials said on Tuesday.

Officials at Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) said Cheong Hing Limited intends to set up retail chain stores in Pakistan and currently in talks with different stakeholders. Founded in 1960, the company's line of businesses include retail sale of home-furnishings such as china, glassware, and metal-ware for kitchen and table use.

Pakistan has witnessed arrival of some global retailers in the past few years, but local businesses still dominate the retail sector. Wholesale and retail trade accounts for around 20 percent of the country’s economy of $300 billion, according to the State Bank of Pakistan.

Analysts said liberal FDI policy for retailing along with changing buying habits would continue to provide enough opportunities to global retailers to explore Pakistan’s market for any investment and expansion plan. New chains of grocery and lifestyle stores are likely to enter primarily in urban centres, while chains of retail outlets irrespective of channel are likely to continue expand their network.

Late last year, Pakistan and Hong Kong ratified a treaty to stave off double taxation on incomes of their individuals and companies. TDAP officials said Hong Kong’s Aalpes Global Group, which is in the business of creative planning, intends to set up company in Pakistan to expand business technology.

An official said Pakistan’s mission in Hong Kong is building its connection with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. Besides, Sino-German Safety Science and Technology Industrial Park Company intends to study information technology market, and is already in talks with the local stakeholders.

Pakistan is one of the most liberal foreign investment regimes in South Asia with 100 percent foreign equity permitted in the manufacturing and infrastructure development sectors. The country offers a number of tax incentives to FDI projects in several sectors, spanning infrastructure, electronics and information technology and telecommunication services. Hong Kong’s FDI flow to Pakistan was recorded at $34.5 million during the July 2017 to February 2018 period.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pepsi to invest $1 billion in #Pakistan. #Pepsico works with 160 #Pakistani #farmers to purchase only locally-grown #potatoes and #corn and supports 4,000 jobs while providing critical support for #rural economies .

PepsiCo plans to invest US$1 billion in Pakistan over the next five years, the PepsiCo Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Asia, Middle East and North Africa (AMENA) Mike Spanos told Prime Minister Imran Khan in a meeting held in Islamabad late last month.

Mr. Spanos led a delegation of senior executives, which included Aamer Sheikh, chief financial officer, PepsiCo AMENA and Furqan Ahmed Syed, vice president and general manager, PepsiCo Pakistan. Demonstrating PepsiCo’s ongoing commitment to Pakistan, Mr Spanos discussed plans for the PepsiCo system to invest US$1 billion over the next five years.

The Prime Minister welcomed PepsiCo’s continued investment, and Mr. Spanos extended the company’s full support to the government on its socio-economic and reform agenda. The PepsiCo delegation noted the company’s appreciation for the government’s focused efforts towards providing a positive business climate for all companies operating in Pakistan.

PepsiCo has been part of the business community in Pakistan for more than fifty years. The PepsiCo system (including company-owned snacks business and franchised bottling partners and distributors) brings more than 60,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities to the citizens of Pakistan. Together, the system has invested more than US$800 million in the last five years.

As one of the nation’s leading food and beverage companies, the company works with 160 Pakistani growers to purchase only locally-grown potatoes and corn for its products such as Lay’s and Kurkure. This supports an estimated 4,000 jobs while providing critical support for rural economies and empowering farmers with critical training on sustainable farming practices.

Mr. Spanos extended an invitation to Prime Minister Imran Khan to inaugurate PepsiCo’s new snacks manufacturing facility in Multan early next year. The state-of-the-art facility represents an investment of US$66 million and is expected to create more than 1,500 direct and indirect employment opportunities for Pakistani citizens.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan #digital #media a threat to broadcast industry. Digital media will soon be replacing broadcast media in #Pakistan. Pak digital media credited for taking up issues that are not covered by #broadcast or #print media which adhere to different rules.

Last year, one of Pakistan’s most watched television news channels, Waqt News, shut down, citing financial reasons. Tribune 24/7, an English-language news channel owned by Express Media Group, one of Pakistan’s largest media conglomerates, fired more than 100 employees and shut down in a similar fashion. The fact that two news channels owned by two of Pakistan’s most well-established media groups shut down abruptly was a warning sign that more channels might shut down in the future and that digital media are set to replace Pakistan’s broadcast-media landscape.

However, what really frustrated Pakistan’s broadcast industry was when emerging digital-media outlets got the opportunity for an exclusive press conference with Finance Minister Asad Umer. This did not sit well with broadcast journalists, and they criticized the press conference and referred to digital-media journalists as “social-media activists” and “Asad Umer’s social-media team” among other things.

But their frustration was not actually regarding being unable to score an important press conference, but the fact that digital media are the future and will soon be replacing broadcast media in Pakistan. The broadcast media are engaging in an “us vs them” debate as described by the website Bolo Jawan, which commented that they are being threatened by the rising trend in digital media and, because of the financial crunch in the country, when it comes to the broadcast-media landscape, things do not look promising.

Pakistan’s digital media are credited for taking up issues that would not be otherwise covered by broadcast or print media as they adhere to different rules. This does not necessarily mean that the digital media are entirely free from restrictions, as attacks on journalists and those associated with the media are common and digital media do not get any special privileges either. Despite that, Pakistan’s digital media have touched upon topics that have often been considered taboo, such as the debate regarding the blasphemy law, normalizing relations with Israel and LGBTQIA rights. This has not saved digital media from any criticism, since Pakistan is a highly conservative country religiously and culturally, but debates regarding such topics are something the digital media need to be credited for.

There were about 44.6 million Internet users in Pakistan in 2017, with an Internet penetration rate of 21.8%. Those numbers are expected to rise in coming years. It might look like a dark future for the state of the broadcast industry, but in order to keep up with the rising trend of digital media, broadcasters must quickly immerse themselves in the country’s digital-media landscape, as print did when broadcast media were a new phenomenon. The broadcast industry does possess the resources to do so, but if it fails to take steps, people serving in that industry will suffer, and no amount of criticism of digital media will be able to save them.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan electronic media regulator auctions 70 licenses for #satellite TV: 8 new channels in #news category, 27 in #entertainment, 12 channels of #regional languages, 12 in #education, 5 in #sports, four in #health and 2 in the #agriculture category.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on Wednesday initiated an auction at its headquarters in Islamabad for the issuance of 70 more licences for satellite TV broadcast stations.

The auction will continue until tomorrow during which licences will be auctioned in seven categories — news, current affairs, education, sports, health, entertainment and agriculture.

Representatives from 187 companies have been participating in the auction.

According to the details, licences for eight new channels will be offered in news category, 27 in entertainment, 12 channels of regional languages, 12 in education, five in sports, four in health and two in the agriculture category.

As many as 21 companies participated in the open-bid round for auction of eight licences for news and current affairs. Out of the 35 companies pre-qualified for the auction, 14 didn't take part. Al Kamal Media Private Company placed the highest bid in the sector at Rs283.5 million.

Pemra Chairman Saleem Baig inaugurated the auction. In his speech, he said that 70 licences will be issued today. He hoped that each TV channel would provide livelihood to a large number of people.

He said that the authority works in consultation with all stakeholders. Currently 88 local TV channels and 227 radio channels are being operated in the country. He said that eight Internet Protocol TV licences have been issued, besides one DTH which is expected to be operational soon.

The Pemra chairman expressed his hope that today's auction would be held in a transparent manner.

Out of the total 70, 47 licences in three categories — news and current affairs, entertainment and regional satellite TVs — will be auctioned today.

The base price for news and current affairs TV licence has been fixed at Rs63.5m, entertainment TV licence at Rs48.5m, and regional at Rs10m. The successful bidder will have to submit 15 per cent of the bidding price today.

Pakistan Broadcasters Association's objection
A day earlier, the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) had criticised Pemra's decision to conduct an auction without taking up a petition filed by PBA against the proposal.

The association has now appealed to the prime minister to intervene and stop the process. According to a press release, the PBA had filed the petition in compliance with an order of the Sindh High Court.

“The present cable network in Pakistan is based on the analogue system, which has a capacity to carry a maximum of 80 channels at a given time. But since Pemra has already issued 121 licences for satellite TV broadcast stations, at least 40 channels cannot be aired," it read.

“Therefore, issuance of more licences will put a large number of channels off the air, resulting in irrecoverable losses to the media industry at a time when it is already suffering due to the economic slowdown,” the press release said.
Riaz Haq said…
#Carrefour’s #ecommerce service to be launched in #Pakistan in 2020. Carrefour is already running e-commerce platforms in 10 of 14 countries it operates in. It's 7 #supermarkets in #Karachi, #Lahore, #Islamabad, #Faisalabad

BR Research: It has been ten years since Carrefour came to Pakistan. Please walk us through the journey so far.

Gyu Taeg Kim: I’d like to start off with an introduction of our group Majid Al Futtaim which is the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Majid Al Futtaim holds the exclusive franchise rights to operate Carrefour in 37 countries and currently operates over 270 Carrefour stores in 15 countries. The recently announced Uganda market will be its 16th country.

Majid Al Futtaim opened its doors in Pakistan in 2009 by starting the first of its kind hypermarkets in the country called Hyperstar. Pakistan has immense potential and has a young dynamic population with an average age that is amongst the lowest in the world. The adaptation of the younger generation is much faster when it comes to embracing new retail channels. When I started off as Country Manager in January 2016, we were operating only two stores with one in Lahore and the other in Karachi. Since then it has grown to 7 hypermarkets and one supermarket with presence in Islamabad and Faisalabad as well.

In December 2018, Hyperstar was re-branded to Carrefour by Majid Al Futtaim across Pakistan. This year marks our tenth anniversary in Pakistan and since then, Majid Al Futtaim has invested Rs8 billion in Pakistan and has created 7000 jobs both directly and indirectly. We plan on providing employment to an additional 2000 people every year on the back of our expansion plans.

BRR: What about future expansion plans?

GTK: Generally, we remain open to opportunities that will enable us to grow our footprint. We will focus on tier-2 cities in the next phase and plan to open stores in Gujranwala, Hyderabad and Multan within the next two years.

BRR: The footprint of Imtiaz Supermarket and the Al-Fatah group is growing rapidly in the supermarket segment. How do you view this competition?

GTK: The retail space in Pakistan enjoys healthy competition, which we embrace. While other retailers focus on very specific customer segments, i.e. mainly high-end customers or customers with lower spending power, categorized as C&D customers, Carrefour is able to cater to a wide variety of customer segments by offering an unbeatable choice, quality and value at the best price. At our hypermarkets we deliver a best in class shopping experience to our customers and create great moments for them every day. Our main business is consumer goods and fresh produce and in fact more than 70 percent of our total turnover is generated by these two categories.

BRR: How much is Carrefour’s market share in the modern trade space in Pakistan compared to its competitors?

GTK: In Pakistan, 20 percent of the total retail sector is modern trade, which was roughly 12 percent back in 2013. In the modern trade space, we have one of the top market shares. But if I consider it from the end consumer perspective, then we are number one followed by our local competition. We are occupying 30 percent and the remaining percentage is divided amongst our local competitors and other medium sized players.



BRR: You mentioned that the majority of Carrefour’s revenue comes from consumer goods and fresh produce. Are you investing in the local value chain for these items?

GTK: We have increased direct purchasing from farmers and are ensuring guaranteed procurement in order to sustain prices for basic items throughout the year. The impact of Carrefour extends beyond millions of customers, to more than 700 suppliers and partners across Pakistan. This includes local farmers, manufacturers and producers.

Riaz Haq said…
Shan Foods considering sale of majority stake valued at about $250 million. Possible buyer Unilever Foods Pakistan's net sales rose 7% to 9.6 billion rupees ($62 million) for the first nine months this fiscal year. #Pakistan #FMCG #food via @business

Shan Foods Pvt. is considering the sale of a majority stake that could value the Pakistani spice maker at about $250 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company is working with a financial adviser on the sale and has approached potential buyers including Unilever Plc., said the people said, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private.

A deal would give potential acquirers exposure to the world’s sixth most populous nation that was the fastest retail market globally until an economic crisis recently. The nation is looking to stabilize its economy after securing a $6 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

Deliberations are ongoing and Shan Foods can still decide to sell a non-majority stake or keep the business, the people said. Representatives for Shan Foods and Unilever declined to comment.

Shan Foods, founded in 1981, is known for its small boxes with spices and recipe mixes that are used in South Asian cooking, according to its website. Its products are available in 65 countries, the website shows.

Among measures to revive the economy, Pakistan discourages consumer good imports that makes it a boon for local manufacturers including Unilever’s operations there. Unilever Pakistan Foods Ltd.’s net sales rose 7% to 9.6 billion rupees ($62 million) for the first nine months this year, according to the company’s website.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistani fresh produce company announces a move into #retail with its new Go 4 Fresh stores that will stock local and imported #fruits and #vegetables, #smoothies, fresh #milk, synthetic ingredient-free ice cream, fresh fruit juices and dried fruits.

Leading Pakistani grower-packer-exporter Ahmed & Company (IAC) has announced it will enter the retail market with a new fresh produce retail chain called Go 4 Fresh.

The stores will stock local and imported fruits and vegetables, smoothies, fresh milk, synthetic ingredient-free ice cream, fresh fruit juices and dried fruits.

This announcement was accompanied by the launch of a new brand also called “Go 4 Fresh” which will be available in both domestic and foreign markets. IAC plans to launch a range of fresh and value-added products under this brand, which will be exported to IAC’s established foreign markets spread over 30 countries.

The first Go 4 Fresh store is located in Karachi and will be formally opened on 21 December. IAC plans to open between eight and ten more stores across the city and then expand across the rest of the country.

Following this, the company will look at opening stores in the Middle East and the UK.

Waheed Ahmed, director, marketing of IAC, said these stores will benefit both consumers and growers in Pakistan by helping the local market meet the changing lifestyle requirements of the people of Pakistan.

“The company believes in giving back and in re-investing its earnings in the society to create greater employment,” Ahmed said.

“This is the right time to invest in Pakistan as the country needs revenue and employment to get out of its economic downward spiral.”
Riaz Haq said…

Google's “Insights for Brands” in #Pakistan. Searches are surging for #COVID19, "healthy diets", "fast delivery", "gym at home", "Intermittent fasting", "climate change", "electric cars", "clean air", 7 in 10 Pakistanis using YouTube every month. #Lockdown

“Pakistanis and their smartphones are inseparable -- always on the lookout for the best experiences and deals within their vicinity and at the same time seeking authoritative information during these trying times,” said Faraz Azhar, Industry Head for South Asia, Google Asia Pacific. “Our research found rising levels of consumer sophistication, interest in more sustainable products and services, and a move towards a healthier lifestyle as some of the biggest drivers of behavior in the last 12 months. Also, digital video continues to boom with local content on YouTube representing Pakistan’s favorite online destination.”

In the newly released report, Google outlined five key trends that are shaping how Pakistanis search as well as their curiosity on the impact of reduced human mobility on the environment:

1. Increasingly sophisticated consumers

Consumers expect Search to understand the intent behind what they need and deliver the best, most helpful answers. They want high-quality products that are available with a convenient digital experience. 4 in 5 Pakistani consumers research products online before a purchase, and they switch between online search and video. They also want quick access to products and services: 138% growth in “near me” searches and 1.5X increase in “same day delivery” queries between 2018 to 2019. ‘Fast delivery’ searches increased by 1300% and online grocery delivery searches increased by 300% when the pandemic began.

Pakistani student spends 'golden, happy' days in China amid pandemic

2. Towards sustainability and conscious consumption

A combination of the state of the world and an overall rise in awareness has seen the rise of the environmentally conscious consumer. Over a one year period these searches have risen sharply across Pakistan: “climate change” by 1.5X, “electric cars” by 1.5X, “reusable” by 1.3X, and “cimate change” by 1.5X. Users were also curious about the visible impact on air quality and pollution levels, with searches for ‘clear skies’ increasing by 300%; ‘clean air’ by 225%; and ‘clear water’ by 217%.

3. Digital video continues to boom

Video streaming and sharing platforms are where Pakistanis get their fix of information, entertainment, news, and sports. The primary drivers are a combination of affordable data combined with the proliferation of devices and now platforms. 7 in 10 Pakistanis use YouTube every month, with searches related to “with me” increasing 150%, “teeli” by 108% and “vilage food secrets” by 168%.

4. The healthy lifestyle choice

While Pakistan has a rich and diverse culinary tradition, there has been a rise in searches for alternate diets and meal plans predicated around well-being. Searches for “daily exercise” are up 1.6X. Searches for “vegetarian cuisine”, “healthy supplements” and “intermittent fasting” have risen 1.5X. Meanwhile searches for “super food” are up by a whopping 767% and “HIIT” by 600%.

5. COVID-19 implications

With COVID-19 restricting the movement of people outdoors, Pakistanis have started looking for ways to start (or continue) their usual physical routines indoors with ‘HIIT workout’ YouTube searches growing by 600%, ‘gym at home’ by 125%, and ‘home workouts’ by 80%. With more people confined indoors, interest in mental health and well-being has also become an important factor for Pakistanis, with a surge in searches for ‘meditation’ (+56%) in March this year.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan #ecommerce: 10.6% shopped online for the first time during #lockdown; 18.7% said they're ordering more online now; 16.8% said they regularly used e-commerce channels even before the #lockdown. 53.4% still buy groceries offline at physical stores.

Covid-19 has changed most aspects of our lives and caused upheaval in every business imaginable – and consumer spending, one of the most important driving forces for economic growth, has been no exception. The pandemic has not only impacted some important factors that determine consumer spending, such as employment, cost of living and consumer confidence, it has also changed how consumers are spending their incomes.


Surprisingly, while the rest of the world saw a spike in online shopping during the lockdown (groceries mainly), in Pakistan 53.4% still purchased groceries from physical stores. Only 10.6% used an online channel to buy an item for the first time although 18.7% said they are ordering more online now; 16.8% said they regularly used e-commerce channels for their purchases even before the lockdown. Nearly 12% said they were willing to try online shopping for the first time but had not done it yet. (7.5% said they did not have the option to shop online in their respective cities or areas). The most common items purchased online include clothes (9.8%), hand sanitizers (9.3%), masks (7.9%), electronic appliances (6.2%), meat/poultry (6%) and gloves (5%).

While the lockdown has seen a surge in internet banking globally, in Pakistan only 5.9% downloaded banking apps or used online banking services for the first time during the lockdown; 22.5% said they are not using online banking channels while 4.7% said they would like to try in the near future. Nearly 66% respondents who said they use online banking channels stated that they had been doing so even before the lockdown.
Riaz Haq said…
The changing world means changing spending patterns and living habits at home as well as abroad. Pakistan is now the world’s fastest-growing retail market, partly thanks to the fact that disposable income has doubled since 2010. The number of retail stores, which is forecast to rise by 50 per cent between 2017 and 2021, is also being driven by the two-thirds of the populace under the age of thirty—and by the changing attitude to money among the young, who want to enjoy a good lifestyle now rather than save to enjoy one later.

Frankopan, Peter. The New Silk Roads (pp. 14-15). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Water is also a problem in South Asia, where India’s construction of the Kishanganga dam and hydroelectric plant has been a source of great concern for the government of Pakistan, who argue that these projects violate the treaty of 1960 that split the water resources of the Indus River between Pakistan and India. Anxieties about the dam, which was formally opened in May 2018, have been heightened by proposals to build as many as twelve hydroelectric plants on the River Kabul in Afghanistan—which would put further pressure on the resources of cities like Karachi, whose population is growing at more than 5 per cent per year and whose water board is only able to supply 50 per cent of its needs as it is.43 Not surprisingly, the Kishanganga

Frankopan, Peter. The New Silk Roads (p. 37). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

dam has been referred to the International Court for Arbitration, and, perhaps equally unsurprisingly, the dispute has resulted in recriminations, soul-searching and suspicions of sabotage and conspiracy in the press in both India and Pakistan.44 Then there is the impact of climate change, which according to recent research will cause the Urumqi Glacier No. 1 to lose some 80 per cent of its ice volume in the next three decades—which will have obvious implications for Central Asia as well as for western China, where this and other glaciers play an important role in providing water for rivers but also as standby resources in times of drought.45

Frankopan, Peter. The New Silk Roads (p. 37). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Riaz Haq said…
Like in other countries, culinary cultures fall along economic and social class lines in Pakistan. While the lower classes go to the cheap Pakistani restaurants and khokhas—roadside eateries, serving oily, spicy dishes, the middle and upper classes dine at more fashionable, pricey and exclusive places. The elite prefers a variety of Chinese, Thai, Italian, Mediterranean and American type high quality grill and steak houses. Major cities in Pakistan have very rapidly embraced a globalized, cosmopolitan food culture, offering a rich variety of cuisines.

We never thought the world would change so quickly with the globalization of markets, technologies, communications and intermixing of world cultures. Theoretically, the whole world is open for competition but what is actually sold and bought in the food industry has followed the familiar patterns of global domination. The power and influence of American popular culture, which besides music, film and sports, is reflected in fast-food chains, symbolizes hegemony. It means consumers have accepted everything of their own free will. There is a very broad body of people from every class and walk of life all over the world that wear jeans, t-shirts, and stand in queues to get a slice of pizza or a burger at outlets replicating American design, American colors and uniforms behind the counters.
Pakistan’s national cuisine is as varied as in any country, representing many regional, local and traditional dishes. However, the effects of commercialization and food chain culture can also be seen in the opening of specific food outlets in different cities. I believe it is one of the positive gains of global food chains opening up here. The other is the employment of young women as waiters and cash-register workers in at least three major cities—Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

Interestingly, local food businesses have very quickly adapted to the changing tastes of Pakistanis by offering their own brands of pizza, burgers and fried chicken. In small and major cities, there are hundreds of local fast-food outlets that offer cheaper, affordable alternatives to expensive foreign brands. In every market of Pakistan, a one man burger cart will hit you in the face displaying the colorful photograph of an American style burger.
Like in other countries, culinary cultures fall along economic and social class lines in Pakistan. While the lower classes go to the cheap Pakistani restaurants and khokhas—roadside eateries, serving oily, spicy dishes, the middle and upper classes dine at more fashionable, pricey and exclusive places. The elite prefers a variety of Chinese, Thai, Italian, Mediterranean and American type high quality grill and steak houses. Major cities in Pakistan have very rapidly embraced a globalized, cosmopolitan food culture, offering a rich variety of cuisines.
Another remarkable shift is reflected in the opening up of coffee houses in major cities. Pakistan is still largely a tea-drinking country with a special taste for doodh-patti—tea brewed in milk and sugar. Many decades back, only the elite would have coffee on their breakfast tables or academics in the offices. It is now becoming a popular hot drink, thanks to motorways and the common belief that high doses of caffeine keep you awake behind the wheel.
Present day urban elite food culture is transforming itself to exclusive clubs on the front yards of shopping centers, on rooftops, and in the special dining rooms of five-star hotels. It is the prohibitive cost of having a cup of coffee or a piece of pastry on a porcelain plate that keeps the common man away--not unusual in elite cultures and elite-driven economies like that of Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
Mondelez becomes 'first company in Pakistan' to run campaign using Google DV 360 and Oracle Bluekai

Mondelez — a snacks company whose products include Cadbury Dairy Milk — has become the "first company in Pakistan" to run a campaign using a mixture of Google's Display & Video 360 (DV 360) and Oracle Bluekai. The campaign was executed by communications agency Brainchild.

In a statement, Brainchild shared that the tools were used for Mondelez's "Teachers Ko Salaam" campaign which, while paying tribute to them for "ensuring that life goes on" during the Covid-19 pandemic, also encouraged students to leave heartfelt messages for their teachers at the Cadbury Generosity website and order a personalised Cadbury Dairy Milk gift box for them.

The data-backed targeting methodology used by BrainChild for the campaign resulted in 15 per cent of the engaged audience clicking through to the landing page, the statement said.

"In order to reach high-affinity data sets of students, the team at Brainchild leveraged a second party database — a first for any advertiser or agency in Pakistan — to provide an audience with high-affinity student data sets, delivering highly relevant audiences. Using DV 360 for all the programmatic display buying, the team at Brainchild was able to analyse, adjust, and pivot the overall process," the agency shared.

Ghouse, said the agency used first-party data from the Cadbury Generosity website and complemented it with second-party data taken from Hamariweb and Urdupoint along with DV 360 and Facebook pixels captured.

"The data was then sent to Oracle Bluekai for integration and then back to both DV 360 and Facebook as media channels," he added.

"Tapping the programmatic team at Brainchild, Mondelez becomes the first company in Pakistan to dabble with a blend of DV 360 and Oracle Bluekai in order to activate the power of programmatic media buying coupled with the precision of a data management platform," the statement said.

Google's Country Director, South Asian Frontier, Farhan Qureshi, while reacting to the development said: "It is exciting to see Mondelez Pakistan leverage a mix of first-party and second-party data to create a campaign that is relevant and impactful in the current times.

"As we move towards a more privacy-first advertising ecosystem, first-party data coupled with automation and ML will play a critical role in ensuring that advertisers can focus on privacy while continuing to deliver on business results," he added.

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