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Knight Frank India Report on Transit Retail

Published: February 25, 2020

Increasing passenger traffic to propel metro station retail opportunity growth to USD 5.60 billion by 2030 in India: Knight Frank India

Lease rental revenue opportunity for metro station retail to grow to USD 800 million by 2030

Mega transformation of Indian railways present retail opportunity of USD 1.9 billion by 2030 in India: Knight Frank India

Lease rental revenue opportunity for railway retail expected to reach USD 300 Million by 2030

Mumbai, February 25, 2020: Knight Frank India, a leading international property consultancy, in its latest study ‘CATCH THEM MOVING’  –  report on Transit Retail cited that the total retail opportunity (overall retail spending) in Metro and Railways are estimated to grow to USD 5.6 billion and USD 1.9 billion respectively by 2030. While the total lease rent opportunity for operators of Metros and Railways retail space is projected to be USD 0.8 billion and USD 0.3 billion respectively by 2030. In 2019, the retail market size for Metro in India was estimated at USD 0.6 billion (600 million) whereas, Railways retail market size was estimated to be USD 0.1 billion (100 million).

India Metro & Railway Retail Snapshot:

Retail market Period Metro Railways
Existing passenger traffic (Million, annual) 2019 2,623 16,134
Estimated market size (USD billion, annual) 2019 0.6 0.1
Projected retail opportunity (USD billion, annual) 2030 5.6 1.9
Private operator market opportunity Period Metro Railways
Projected operator (lease rent) opportunity (USD billion, annual) 2030 0.8 0.3

Source: Knight Frank Research

According to Shishir Baijal, Chairman & Managing Director, Knight Frank India “The metro rail network expansion is set to alter the lifestyle of an urban agglomerate and influence exponential growth for the retail business in the country. The lease income from the retail business is expected to form a big proposition of the non-fare box revenues in the next decade. Unlike airports where the product categories such as liquor, accessories, apparel, footwear and electronics already dominate the retail footprint, Indian Railways retail trade has so far been largely a local and regional F&B play.”


India is expected to see a total development of 1,000 KM length of metro development that opens opportunity for retailing to the tune of USD 5.6 billion by 2030. There are currently about 500 operations metro stations across India with an estimated retail market size of USD 0.6 Billion as of 2019.  Metro stations are rapid movement and high traffic zones. Individual station typology and land available for retail development impact retail revenues, hence, design and placement of the retail component inside the metro station is crucial to direct footfalls to the stores.

New Delhi – which has India’s most developed metro network, is the only Indian city to feature in the world’s top 10 busiest metro rails with an annual ridership of 1,789 million. However, compared to London and Hong Kong, Delhi Metro has the lowest percentage share of non-fare box revenue at mere 12%. There is a large scope for increasing its contribution to total revenues. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has been trying to grow retail and other related businesses to stabilize earnings and its non-fare box revenue target is 30% of its total earnings.


Based on the commercial potential of the 400 redeveloped Railway Stations across India, Knight Frank estimates that the total retail opportunity at these redeveloped railway stations and forecasted passenger flow will present a huge retail opportunity. It is estimated that the annual passenger traffic will increase to 18.2 billion by 2030. This translates into retail opportunity of USD 1.9 billion by 2030 from USD 0.1 billion in 2019. And this is further expected to translate into lease rent opportunity of USD 0.3 billion by 2030 for the operator. 

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