India’s technology brands are not just huge employers and contributors to the national economy, they are standard-bearers for India itself, raising the global visibility of the country’s technological expertise, spirit of innovation and the skills of its workforce.
India’s technology industry in FY2022 crossed the $200 billion* revenue mark (*Source: NASSCOM). All parts of the industry posted double-digit growth for the year, with exports up 17.2%, generating $178 billion in revenue.
The giants of the industry have been reporting strong growth in recent months, with TCS posting a 5.2% year-on-year rise in net profit for the June quarter, and a 16% jump in revenue. Infosys saw similar figures – double-digit rises in revenue but a much smaller (though still positive) profit rise of 3.2% in the June quarter. HCL Technologies also posted growth in profits (2.4% year on year), while Wipro saw a decline in profits as higher staffing costs added to operating expenses.
But it is not just the big guns generating big waves. India has the world’s third-largest start-up ecosystem, and tech start-ups are growing fast and making a big impression globally. As brands such as cab-hailing app Ola expand around the region and into Europe, and hotel and hospitality chain Oyo Rooms goes global, they are taking with them a flavour of what modern India is and can be.
This growth is validated by Kantar’s BrandZ India 2022 findings where technology brands account for over one-third of the total value. Six B2B tech brands and eleven consumer tech brands contribute 35% to the total value of the ranking. The number of unicorns has also gone up from four in 2018 (adding up to $12 billion) to 11 in 2022, adding up to $44 billion.
The eleven consumer tech brands in the BrandZ India Top 75 Valuable Brands also reflect the increasingly digital way Indian consumers live. Their combined value has risen 34% CAGR since 2020. The four most valuable brands in this category are Swiggy, Zomato, Naukri.com and Oyo.
Six B2B brands make it to Top 75 with Tata Consultancy Services ($ 45.5 billion) being the new #1 Most Valuable Indian brand, claiming the top spot from HDFC Bank (#2, $32.7 bn) which had held the position since the first ranking was unveiled in 2014. TCS’s brand value has been accelerated by global demand for automation and digital transformation following the pandemic. Besides TCS, Infosys ($ 29.2 bn) has also rocketed up to #3 from 12th position in 2020.
This growth in tech brands is pivoted around two pillars:
a) Consumer behavior shift during pandemic that led to consumers spending more time both online and at home. As they spent more time online, they discovered newer experiences and experimented more across multiple services. The diversity of consumer tech brands in BrandZ Top 75 shows how technology now touches every part of life – be it Byju’s, Dream 11, Flipkart, Nykaa, Swiggy, Zomato or Paytm.
b) Digitization and automation of all businesses and therefore the growth of B2B tech both in India and outside.
The prevalence and influence of the tech services brands in the Indian ranking now makes it only the third country, the other two being China and the US, where tech brands have highest share of valuation.
Are the building blocks of brands different for tech brands?
Building blocks of brands remain the same; they need to be true to category needs and relevant to consumers. In addition, consumers expect them to have a strong brand purpose and a relevant sustainability agenda. Both TCS and Infosys score high on trust and corporate reputation. Zomato is getting recognized as a socially responsible brand, besides providing a perceived seamless experience. It also won the Most Loved Technology Brand award for 2022.
Will these behaviours continue with return to normalcy?
Consumer-viewer-shopper today is one continuum living their life in a seamless way online/offline. This allows for multiple tech-enabled choices to co-exist with the traditional offline choices. As consumers live their lives and work digitally, companies will also need to automate to transform their business and workforce in a digital environment. This will sustain the demand for cloud services, AI, IT consulting and business solutions. Increasingly, all brands will be tech-enabled and all tech brands will focus more on brand-building.
The experience that international consumers have of brands like this help build impressions of India as a world-leading hub of technology and service excellence. In turn, this helps pave the way for yet more brands to go global; consumers’ openness to Indian brands improves as impressions of ‘Brand India’ gain momentum.
(Soumya Mohanty is Managing Director & Chief Client Officer-Insights Division, Kantar)