Consumer behaviour in India for the past few years is witnessing a major shift, especially amongst the youth. With the Digital India campaign and online shops/ portals luring the youth with exciting offers and year-round sales, the current population doesn’t always believe in buying major commodities only during the festive season. This disruption has affected many local and traditional markets and trends…
Spring Summer 2020 for India will be a confluence of mixed feelings amongst the buyers and makers, designers and brands. With the millennials riding the wave of increasing awareness and conscious buying trends, designers and brands have been trying to incorporate their concerns and relook at it from a design point of view in choosing materials, silhouettes, colours and aesthetics.
Wake Up Call
The coming spring in India may not be as rosy a picture as the season usually is. As per the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), owing to the increase in crude oil bill, the Current Account De cit (CAD) is widening. The situation is further aggravated by the Indian currency hitting an all-time low. The economic crisis in various industries, one of them being textiles, will dampen the spirits of consumers and makers alike. However, when nothing looks good, humans tend to unite in spite of adversaries and believe for a better fate. Through luck or perseverance, there is always hope.
Consumer behaviour in India for the past few years is witnessing a major shift, especially amongst the youth. With the Digital India campaign and online shops/ portals luring the youth with exciting offers and year-round sales, the current population doesn’t always believe in buying major commodities only during the festive season. This disruption has affected many local and traditional markets. But with the same effect, a lot of these vendors have multiplied their opportunities by opting for numerous platforms online and shipping products to customers across the globe.
Dominating Mood of the Season
With Gen Z emerging as one of the major segments in terms of both population and impact, a generational shift in ideologies, and preferences in colours, silhouettes are quite evident. More nonconformists of historical prejudices like Brahmanical patriarchy, gender roles and sexuality are coming out. This, in turn, has created a myriad scope for creatives to break boundaries in fashion and clothing. A lot is owed to the exposure to western culture through online streaming platforms, social media and the internet. The youth in the country today resonates with the same concerns and passions of their counterparts in various parts of the world — right from American Sitcoms, European fashion brands to Korean dramas and music.
A gradual change in lifestyle pattern amongst the youth in the urban areas juggling between jobs and places, trapped in the corporate systems and struggling with personal goals and societal parameters is being witnessed., There is a heightened consciousness that encourages many to take a break however impermanent but substantial ones where they could figure out their ‘stuff’ and attain a sense of balance between material and spiritual meaning of life. The idea of a good life today includes travelling, reading books, indulging in spiritual treks in the Himalayas, yoga and retreat courses, remote working in co-works, diet and wellness, JOMO (Joy of Missing Out), self-love and self-care, etc. These ideals have permeated into the minds of the young, spirited and passionate individuals who believe in having experiences than possessing items. Brands are vying for profiting from these trends and this has probably given birth to a new term, ‘Spiritual Capitalism’. Paro, Pahadi Local, Patanjali are a few such brands.
1. Demographic Dividend
India is home to the world’s largest population of millennials. As per UN population stats, millennials form 34 percent of India’s total population which is highest among the major economies of the world, thus offering tremendous growth potential for the consumer market.
The joint report by Deloitte & RAI (Retailers Association of India) titled, ‘Unravelling the Indian Consumer’ reports that 28 percent millennials purchase products due to social media recommendations and 63 percent millennials stay updated on brands through social media As consumers are increasingly using social media platforms to share their purchases and experiences, companies are using social media to engage with consumers by leveraging various analytical tools and advanced analytics to decode the shift in consumer behaviour and shape their strategies accordingly. S-commerce or social commerce is the umbrella term used to describe the trend.
3. Access over Ownership
“25 years from now, car sharing will be the norm, and car ownership an anomaly,” says Jeremy Rifkin, Author and Economist. Millennials prefer to save for travel, leisure and experiences over ownership. The popularity of co-working spaces and car aggregators like Ola and Uber indicates that the youth are preferring access over ownership.
There has been an upsurge in the consciousness on physical and emotional wellbeing in India lately with people opting for healthy and organic alternatives in food, lifestyle as well as clothing. A national daily report in 2017, states that 36 percent of the Indian millennials have a fitness app installed on their phones and about 45 percent think leading a healthy life is essential.
5. Conscious Consumerism
In the wake of recent environmental crises like Amazon Forest catastrophe and reports of Aarey forest’s deforestation in Mumbai, active concerns, protests and initiatives were visible all around the world. With NASA warning over the global average surface temperature rise (0.9 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, it is evident that climate change is real and at our doors.
Consumers today seem to be driven by a new set of values with consciousness at the core. In addition to the traditional factors such as price, taste and convenience new factors such as social impact, health and wellness, safety, and experience are becoming equally important. According to a Deloitte survey, more than half of the consumers weigh these evolving value drivers more heavily than the traditional ones, and nearly 63 percent are willing to pay more for products where social impact values are demonstrated.
6. Gig Economy
Young Indian professionals prefer a work culture that provides them with the flexibility to work in terms of timings as well as space. New challenging projects are more preferred to a secure position and routine work. According to Chandrika Pasricha, Founder of Flexing It, a gig platform, large corporates are increasingly leveraging independent consultants and freelancers to drive priority strategic projects driven by a need for specific expertise and a need for flexibility. A 2017 Ernst & Young study on the ‘Future of Jobs in India’ even found that 24 percent of the world’s gig workers come from India. This development in the
attitude on work preference is giving rise to athleisure with Indian sensibilities.
Bloom-Gloom: TFF Insights for SS 2020 for Men & Women
With plentiful apps promising customised experiences and services in an age where our lives are evenly woven between the virtual and real, technology is ever-changing the way we live and function in our day to day lives. With the promise of providing a solution to any problem with a finger touch on your mobile phone, start-ups today want to increasingly make human lives convenient and comfortable. This entrepreneurial wave in the country has paved way for new lifestyle shifts in urban pockets, generating employment, directly and indirectly, also giving space for creativity for thinkers to tap business opportunities in the most bizarre manners. This situation is a correct iteration of the theme bloom gloom, for it has rightfully created scenarios of growth opportunities and financial freedom for millions who had been under shadows of archaic means of living.
And with what is termed as the fourth industrial revolution, Artificial Intelligence and automation soon is seeping into our lifestyle, it is silently responsible for the rise of other long-term issues which may not be aware of. Its effects are felt in the psychological, physical and socio-political and environmental ways with the rise in fast fashion-led consumerism, mass-unemployment, complex mental health issues led by digital addiction and distractions on the internet.
This has led many major brands to relook into their business models and marketing campaigns, as the average attention span for many individuals is lower than ever before. To grab attention and business, brands are resorting to Instagram stories and influencers to connect with them and engage them with their narratives. The styles have to be bold and flashy to retain customer attention.
The season’s forecast for 2020 will be a stark juxtaposition of radical extremes weaving the narrative in harmony with the diversity in the fabric of Indian fashion and clothing industry. It will be interesting to see designers and brands go extremes in the themes and approaches they take when they design for the season. Colours, materials and silhouettes will respond to the growing demand for varied choices for the Indian consumer. Individuals will have the opportunity to patronize brands that empathize with their ideas and philosophy.
Concurrent themes will be running that cater to different target audiences. The forecast aims to capture this diversity of Indian society and fashion alike and suggest what brands should focus on to generate more patronage and business. As per TFF’s forecast, the following are four important consumer segments for Indian Fashion Market in 2020.
This market segment is relatively new to the Indian clothing scene, driven strongly by conscious buyers, mostly millennials and young adults. The styles and patterns are gender-neutral. Emphasis is on conscious sourcing of raw materials, ethical practices, recycling and upcycling. Utilitarian details in terms of pockets, zippers and accessories to add function are also encouraged in womenswear. Optimistic, minimal yet bold shades of colours will be seen more often. Pastel treatment for decadent tertiary colours like mauve, lilacs and carnelians will add maturity. Lovebirds, Noughtone, Cord, Mae.Co, Lota India, Cord are amongst the many new designers who have paved way to unorthodox thinking and imagination through their styles.
Indian ethnic wear is constantly reinventing itself with designers and brands pushing boundaries of thought and creativity in terms of silhouettes, colours and materials overlooking traditional ways of doing things — deconstruction of the Sarees, converting Banarasi brocades into hoodies and bikinis, the classic lungi and Kutchi shawl into ponchos and dresses, etc. Designers and brands are increasingly blurring boundaries of craft and fashion, modern and traditional. Established and emerging names like Amit Aggarwal, Kshitij Jalori, Suket Dhir, Ujjwal Dubey amongst others are actively contributing in reshaping the idea of Indian ethnic wear for the 21st century. 145east, Badaam, Ikkivi amongst many other young brands who have been working on relaxing the norms of tradition to fit into the lifestyles of the youth, truly changing and creating new trends for the segment.
‘Florals’ is a perennial theme synonymous with the Indian clothing and fashion industry. However, Menswear in India is seeing an increasing trend of incorporating large and bold florals in the upcoming season’s collections. With shattering of gender-based taboos on colours, legalization and acceptance of gender fluidity, India is witnessing a hallmark change of age-old gender stereotyping and this reflects in clothing as well. Colours, patterns and materials are diverse, bold and maximal. Be it experimentation with craft techniques like Block printing, Bandhani or woven techniques of Ikat, extra weft, this trend promotes customization of clothing according to one’s individualistic taste and to empower the wearer. With more outgoing culture, casual Cuban collared and evening clubbing shirts are becoming more and more popular. Chola, the label had previously worked on a thought-provoking collection questioning the norms.
The young and the feisty do not aspire the same things as their previous generations did. With lesser responsibilities, comfortable lives and maximum opportunities, millennials are looking for short term employment opportunities that allow them to travel and live like an urban nomad. Affected largely by the ‘Gig economy’, this trend will create new possibilities of merging business formals with casual playfulness. This reclusive and nomadic lifestyle is built on strong principles of philosophy and spirituality, which is reflected in clothing as well. The buyers in this segment believe in less is more, looking for fuss-free practical and comfortable clothing which looks professional at the same time.
Natural tones of beiges, browns and olives, along with indigo and sky blues in organic natural materials, recycled or upcycled will soothe the eye and the mind. This morally heightened theme is here to stay. Sourcing fabrics from the local markets and supporting indigenous crafts is the ideal. Doodlage, Pero, Bodice & eleven: eleven appeal to the audiences of this segment.