The fashion and apparel industry is one of the most important consumer-facing industries in India. Post the pandemic, the fashion e-commerce space saw massive growth, and brands made huge investments in the digital space to stay closer to customers, which included more digital engagement and better customer service.
With digital being the industry-wide focus, it’s key to understand ways to grow business profitably using the wide variety of digital platforms available.
Since the customers are more evolved, they are ready to try and explore more products and services from Indian counterparts of the more popular international brands
The fashion industry across the world has been an ever evolving one with evolving consumer choices, behaviour, categories and demand & supply. Every category and segment in the industry has seen its glory and golden days. Women’s fashion in India has come a long way and in recent times, ethnic fashion has become one of the biggest drivers in the category. The ethnic wear category has been constantly growing and is estimated to be over $25 billion by year 2025; 50 per cent of the growth will be driven by e-commerce as compared to 8-10 per cent currently. The growing demand for ethnic wear is not only attributed to estivals or occasions but also to rising trends in fusion wear and Indo-western trends both casual and formal. Further, with time, the category has evolved significantly, primarily due to e-commerce which has been a major push to the entire segment altogether. With such a vast potential of e-commerce, the majority of customers from various segments can be tapped easily, thus making fashion more accessible with wide assortments at different price ranges. During and even post-pandemic, fashion e-commerce witnessed a massive growth. Therefore, it becomes inevitable to scale up the business digitally.
A Merger of Styles
With evolving consumer behaviour, key categories like athleisure, professional comfort wear without an exhaustive season orientation are likely to come to the forefront. Professional work wear variety and styles might take a hit and shift towards everyday comfort wear. A trend that is here to stay for long is Indian fusion wear. It has revolutionised ethnic fashion. As more women prefer comfortable clothing at workplaces, fusion wear has become a staple for them.
Inclusivity of Plus Sizes
One of the big changes we are seeing now is inclusivity of plus-size clothing. The plus-size category is never thought of when thinking fashion or glamour but with ethical fashion. Companies’ garments are designed with wearability for the majority in mind. It is a necessity to be size inclusive. Furthermore, consumers are now more aware and educated than ever about their purchasing decisions and conscious choices, hence technology is going to play a huge role in the fashion retail industry – both offline and online. Consumers are smart and aware of their choices and fashion retailers have to follow suit.
Tech-driven Supply Chain
Till now, fashion manufacturing was unorganised, but now we are seeing a sudden change. Supply chain processes can be more streamlined with technology so that they can improve capability of any business. The process will be more profitable and efficient, which in turn will lead to flexible functioning. A great example is Amazon-like deliveries for D2C brands.
Western countries are also now attracted by the Indian wear market. The gears are changing and there is going to be a big boom in the fashion and retail industry in the coming years
There is a need to implement new supply chain models that have a sustainable business agenda. The focus on technology in the supply chain is to improve overall timelines from fibre to product and so have the delivery TATs. A long-term transformation programme is not feasible in this fast-paced environment; the shift will have to be soon. Areas of technology that hold massive potential and could be game changers are role of digitisation with the use of AI & marketing automation. Sustainable fashion provides a value proposition along with size inclusivity.
Consolidation on the Cards
Moving forward, this year there are a host of new brands that are pouring in. The trend of consolidations and acquisitions will continue this year as well as it’s a great financial tool for the profitability of the business. As we say, Vocal for Local! There are so many start-ups coming up with fantastic product lines and amazing service quality as their core brand value. Local brands will be more focused and genuinely committed to green practices with a sustainable future.
And since the customers are more evolved, they are ready to try and explore more products and services from Indian counterparts of the more popular international brands. Western countries are also now attracted by the Indian wear market. The gears are changing and there is going to be a big boom in the fashion and retail industry in the coming years.