Dick Smith Expands to India

Dick Smith India ( Dicksmith.in ), is coming. Australia’s biggest electronic retailer, is expanding its online retail arm to India. The company has been around since its founding in 1968. It sells electronics online, at stores and through partners such as Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi.

The Dick Smith brand has a broad offering of products, including computers, digital cameras, printers, mobile phones and more than 400 electronic items. One division is focused on selling the latest smartphones.It is the second biggest online retailer in Australia, behind Amazon.com Inc., and was recently named one of the world’s top 500 brands by Interbrand.

Dick Smith Australia is also the nation’s own biggest retailer of consumer electronics. It has 4,500 stores in Australia and plans to open as many as 70 branches over the next three to five years.

Australia’s largest retailer has had its eye on India since it started carrying smartphones in 2007. In 2009, the company launched a 3G iPhone that was among some of the first to be sold in India. It later expanded its offerings to include Android phones, tablets and other electronic devices.

The retailer now offers more than 10 million products in 10 countries under the Dick Smith brand. In India it is starting online retail www.dicksmith.in over the next three to five years.

The Dick Smith brand has a broad offering of products, including computers, digital cameras, printers, mobile phones and more than 400 electronic items. One division is focused on selling the latest smartphones.It is the second biggest online retailer in Australia, behind Amazon.com Inc., and was recently named one of the world’s top 500 brands by Interbrand.

Dick Smith has been in business for more than 45 years and began with a single store in Sydney. The company was acquired by Woolworths Limited, a supermarket chain, in 1982. It is now owned by private equity firms Anchorage Capital Partners and DW Partners since the sale of the retailer to Woolworths fell through after it struggled financially under its previous ownership.

Dick Smith reviews more than 1.7 million registered customers and its website generates sales of $500 million a year. Last year, it made $1 billion in revenue and expects to make as much this year or possibly even more. It is also the biggest seller of smartphones in Australia with the most recent quarter having brought in $83 million for mobile devices alone.

Indian consumers are just beginning to receive inexpensive smartphones, but they already buy electronics in large numbers online, according to the company. In Australia, Dick Smith sells more than $500 million worth of products annually.

India’s economy is expected to grow by 7.5 percent this year, according to the country’s central bank.

The Dick Smith move comes as companies such as Samsung Electronics and Apple are expanding into India. The country is expected to become one of the world’s largest smartphone markets by 2022, according to a report from research firm International Data Corp.

In addition to smartphones, the market is expected to grow as more Indians get access to affordable broadband. The country’s mobile phone companies are offering plans that cost less than $2 a month so people can connect their phones at home or when they’re out and about.

Dick Smith offers and discounts gives it several advantages in India, one of which is its large factory network that manufactures electronics products for other retailers. Since Dick Smith started selling electronics online it has built up a substantial amount of inventory on hand as part of its supply chain network.

India has become one of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone markets, with sales expected to rise by 17 percent this year. Growth is predicted to continue at an annual rate of 30 percent over the next six years as more people get access to affordable and reliable mobile broadband connections, according to a report from research firm IDC.

India has enormous potential as an e-commerce destination, which means there are opportunities for companies such as Dick Smith — just so long as they can figure out how best to reach consumers in this country.

Dick Smith’s strategy of entering the Indian market by partnering with a local company could be successful in other countries. However, it is still not clear how Dick Smith will overcome India’s poor infrastructure and reach consumers who don’t have smartphones or credit cards to use online shopping sites like Amazon.

A recent report from Morgan Stanley found that Amazon is expected to be India’s third-biggest ecommerce player by 2022. Walmart’s Flipkart will remain the market leader in online sales, but it is predicted that Amazon will leapfrog Snapdeal into second place. The Morgan Stanley study estimated that the total Indian ecommerce business could hit $200 billion within five years, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 50%. This would put India ahead of China for total retail sales on the internet (although Alibaba still dominates Chinese online retail).