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The Indian economy boasts a diverse range of sectors, with the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry holding a significant position as the fourth largest. 

FMCG Industry in India

Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector is India’s fourth-largest sector. Consumer-oriented growth and increased prices, particularly for essential products, fueled the growth of the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry in India. 

  • The FMCG sector achieved a milestone of US$ 56.8 billion by December 2022. 
  • Forecasts indicate that the total revenue of the FMCG market is expected to experience a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 27.9% from 2021 to 2027, eventually reaching a value of approximately US$ 615.87 billion. 
  • In 2022, the urban sector accounted for 65% of the overall annual FMCG sales, while rural India contributed over 35%.

fmcg industry in india

Household and personal care products make up 50% of the industry’s sales, healthcare claims 31-32%, and food and beverage products account for the remaining 18-19%, which makes it evident that these sectors play a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s economic landscape. 

three main segments of fmcg sector in india

Within this ever-expanding and dynamic industry, the warehouse serves as the beating heart that connects manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and, ultimately, the end consumers, ensuring seamless e-commerce operations. 

So let’s uncover the true significance of warehouse management in propelling the FMCG sector toward success!

FMCG Industry in India – Major Challenges

  • Limited Storage Space
  • Seasonality and Demand Variability
  • Product Shelf Life and Fragility
  • Regulatory Compliance and Quality Control

major warehouse challenges faced by fmcg brands

Operating a warehouse for fast-moving consumer goods brands or FMCG products comes with its fair share of challenges. Let’s explore some of the significant warehouse challenges faced by FMCG brands :

1. Limited Storage Space

One of the primary challenges faced by these brands is the constraint of limited storage space in warehouses. With an ever-expanding product range and increasing consumer demands, finding sufficient space to store inventory becomes a critical concern. Inadequate storage capacity can lead to overcrowding, disorganized stock, and inefficient picking and packing processes. Also, it restricts the ability to maintain optimum stock levels, resulting in stock outs or overstock situations.

2. Seasonality and Demand Variability

FMCG brands often face fluctuating demand due to seasonal variations and ever-changing consumer preferences. This poses a significant challenge when it comes to forecasting and managing inventory levels. During peak seasons, brands must ensure they have enough stock to meet the heightened demand while avoiding excessive inventory that may lead to waste and additional storage costs. 

3. Product Shelf Life and Fragility

Many FMCG products, particularly perishable goods, and fragile items, have limited shelf life or are sensitive to handling and storage conditions. Maintaining product quality and reducing waste are essential for businesses. Inadequate temperature control, improper handling, and suboptimal packaging can result in spoilage, damage, or expiration of goods. 

4. Regulatory Compliance and Quality Control

FMCG brands operate in a highly regulated environment, subject to various industry standards, safety regulations, and quality control measures. Compliance with these regulations is crucial for maintaining consumer trust and avoiding legal consequences. For example, brands selling food products must effectively manage product expiry dates to ensure consumer safety and satisfaction.

Evolving Practices as a Solution to Challenges in the FMCG Industry

  • Efficient Stock Control and Optimization
  • Space Utilization and Layout Planning
  • Quality Control Measures for Ensured Excellence
  • Order Fulfillment with Precision and Speed
  • Data-Driven Demand Forecasting for Success
  • Efficient Handling of Returns and Refunds

role of warehouse management in the fmcg industry in india

Warehouse management plays a crucial role in the fast-moving consumer goods industry. Let’s explore the key aspects and significance of warehouse management in these industries:

1. Efficient Stock Control and Optimization

Maintaining accurate inventory levels is important for FMCG companies. A robust warehouse management system (WMS) uses advanced technologies such as barcode scanning at batch, SKU (Stock Keeping Unit), and item levels to monitor inventory levels accurately. 

These technologies enable real-time visibility into stock levels, helping companies identify and address any discrepancies or shortages promptly. By maintaining accurate inventory records, your business can avoid stockouts, reduce excess inventory, and minimize the risk of product expiration.

Suggested reading: What is a Warehouse Management System and How Does It Work?

2. Space Utilization and Layout Planning

Efficient space utilization within the warehouse is very important for FMCG brands, as they often deal with a large volume of products. Warehouse management systems help optimize the allocation of space by providing features like shelf management. 

This feature enables brands to strategically organize products and implement efficient storage techniques. By doing so, e-commerce businesses can maximize their storage capacity, minimize waste, and streamline their picking and packing processes.

3. Quality Control Measures for Ensured Excellence

The satisfaction of customers is closely tied to the quality of a product. To achieve excellence, a robust WMS incorporates several quality control measures such as cycle counting, expiry management, batch management, and more. Cycle counting involves periodic inventory level checks to identify discrepancies. Expiry management is another critical aspect of warehouse management that prevents selling expired goods, monitoring dates, and following the FIFO or FEFO approach.

With sophisticated WMS using batch management, brands can identify which goods are suitable for sending to B2B (retail stores) and which are more suitable for marketplaces or direct-to-consumer (D2C) channels. For example, B2B retailers need products with 70%+ shelf life, while D2C customers accept shorter shelf life (30-40%) for quick consumption. By sorting products into batches, brands send appropriate batches to each channel. 

4. Order Fulfillment with Precision and Speed

FMCG products are typically everyday items consumers rely on for daily needs. Timely and accurate order fulfillment ensures that customers receive their desired products. With the help of optimized picking strategies and strategic product bundling, companies can minimize the time and effort required to locate and retrieve products. 

Warehouse management systems integrated with logistic providers allow seamless order processing and accurate picking. These integrations facilitate precise and speedy order fulfillment, ensuring that customers receive their products timely.

An excellent illustration of the effectiveness of product assortments and picking can be seen in the success of The Man Company, which achieved a remarkable order fulfillment rate of 99.99%+ using the bundling feature of Unicommerce. 

5. Data-Driven Demand Forecasting for Success

FMCG businesses operate in a fast-paced environment where consumer demand fluctuates rapidly. Accurate forecasting helps companies understand consumer preferences, anticipate future demand, and plan production and inventory levels accordingly. 

A WMS with strong and dynamic reporting capabilities allows businesses to generate comprehensive reports highlighting key performance indicators (KPIs) and trends. These reports can include data on sales orders, stock levels, top-performing channels, categories, products, etc. By leveraging these reports, companies can make informed decisions about inventory replenishment and production planning. 

A notable example of the power of accurate reporting and analysis is exemplified by Marico Limited’s partnership with Unicommerce. Leveraging Unicommerce’s error-proof reports and analysis, Marico Limited achieved an astounding 100X growth in sales.

6. Efficient Handling of Returns and Refunds

Efficient handling of returns and refunds is a critical aspect for e-commerce businesses, especially when it comes to FMCGs brands. These businesses understand the importance of prioritizing product quality and safety, which should be reflected in their return policies.

A well-organized warehouse management system can streamline the return process and ensure quick resolution. It enables efficient tracking of returned products, accurate inventory management, and timely inspection of returned items for quality control. 

Let’s Make Warehousing Easier for Your FMCG Business!

The fast-moving consumer goods industry relies heavily on efficient warehousing to ensure seamless supply chain management and meet the demands of consumers. This industry encompasses a wide range of sectors, including food and beverages, personal care products, household goods, and pharmaceuticals, among others. 

By addressing the challenges, implementing effective strategies, and leveraging an all-in-one warehouse management system, you can streamline your e-commerce operations and propel your FMCG business toward growth and profitability!

Some FAQs related to FMCG Industry & Role of Warehouse Mangement –

Q: What is the FMCG industry in India?
A: The FMCG (Fast-moving consumer goods) industry in India comprises companies that produce and distribute consumer goods with a relatively short shelf life. These goods are typically consumed on a frequent basis and include products such as food and beverages, personal care items, household cleaning products, and toiletries.

Q: What are the roles of warehousing in the FMCG industry?
A: Warehousing plays crucial roles in the FMCG industry, including: Storage and inventory management, Order processing, Distribution support, Supply chain efficiency, etc.

Q: What is an FMCG warehouse?
A: An FMCG warehouse is a specialized storage facility designed to accommodate fast-moving consumer goods. It is equipped with features and infrastructure tailored to meet the specific requirements of the FMCG industry, such as temperature-controlled areas, racking systems, and efficient handling equipment.

Q: What is the role of logistics management in the FMCG industry?
A: Logistics management in the FMCG industry involves planning, coordinating, and controlling the flow of goods from their point of origin to the final destination. It encompasses activities such as transportation, inventory management, order processing, and warehousing. The role of logistics management is to ensure the timely and cost-effective delivery of FMCG products while optimizing the overall supply chain.

Q: What are the four categories of FMCG?
A: The four categories of FMCG products are: Food and beverages, Personal care products, Household cleaning products,Tobacco and cigarettes.

Q: Which is India’s No. 1 FMCG?
A: As of September 2021, Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is considered one of India’s leading FMCG companies and has been consistently recognized as a significant player in the FMCG industry.

Q: Which FMCG product is most profitable?
A: The profitability of FMCG products can vary based on various factors such as brand positioning, market demand, pricing strategies, and production costs. It is difficult to pinpoint a specific FMCG product as the most profitable as it can change over time. Some examples of FMCG products that have traditionally shown good profitability include personal care items like cosmetics, skincare products, and certain food and beverage items with high consumer demand.

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