India has more than 1 lakh multi-brand outlets which account for over 60% of the total sales of undergarments, while the rest take place through modern trade formats like malls or online portals.
The Indian consumer’s spends on innerwear products is significantly lower than other Asian peers. This trend is visible across both men and women segments with gaps of over 90% against countries like Thailand and China.
In this backdrop, VIP is present in over 25,000 outlets across India and is planning to expand to 40,000 doors in the near future. In 2022, the brand opened its first franchise store in Kerala and today it aims to open 100 franchise outlets in the next 5 years.
It’s offline segment rakes in the revenue, while the online segment – although bringing in some business – assists mainly in building brand awareness.
Founded by late Jaykumar Pathare 53 years ago, VIP Clothing Ltd is a successor to Maxwell Industries which was engaged in marketing of hosiery products and readymade garments under the brand name of VIP and BLUE CHIP. It was incorporated in January 1991 as a private limited company. In 2016, Maxwell Industries Limited officially changed its name to VIP Clothing Limited.
VIP Clothing, although already operating from many doors, opened its first EBO by the name Inners, an inner wear studio at Kopar Khairane, New Mumbai. Today, with a pan-India presence and one of the largest distribution networks in the country, VIP Clothing is one of India’s leading intimate apparel companies catering innerwear to consumers across various segments under different brands: VIP, Frenchie, Feelings and Leader.
Sunil Pathare, Chairman & Managing Director, VIP Clothing Ltd Group says, “Brand building is our core forte. Under VIP Clothing, we have positioned various brands in the competitive innerwear market so as to cater to each innerwear sub-category for a seamless consumer buying experience. All our brands hold leadership positions nationally.”
Pathare says that the brand caters to consumers in the budget and economy segments. Aside from this, the brand has also extended its offerings to outerwear for men and women as well as accessories.
Growth & Expansion
VIP Clothing earns 85 to 90 percent of its revenue from the men’s innerwear segment and the rest from the women’s category which is under the brand VIP Feelings, explains Pathare.
“We are working towards expanding our women’s offerings with more bras, lingerie, and camisoles. We also want to expand our Feelings folio into the hitherto largely untouched West and North Indian markets. For now, it is the South Indian market where we have the upper hand, ie, it is our highest growth region in the country. This is closely followed by the east and west zones in India,” says Pathare.
He says VIP’s best performing brands in the market are Bonus for vests, Frenchie Plus for underwear, Ultimate VIP, and Feelings Intimate for the panties’ segment.
The brand is present in markets in the Gulf and is eyeing Africa now.
“VIP is more inclined work for classic and contemporary audiences, Feelings caters to the women’s segment and Frenchie is a youth brand, more contemporary. Leader on the other hand is our wholesale, economical brand,” explains Pathare.
VIP Clothing has recently launched innerwear for teenagers – something which is tough to come by because of odd sizes.
“Frenchie U-19, our latest innovation, is not only a product but a movement that has bridged the gap between teens and their search for the perfect size. The design theory of the product is ‘breaking out of traditional culture and leading every teenager one-step ahead of adults in terms of style’. It is a token of advancement and non-traditionalism,” says Pathare.
He explains that the reception of the brand in the market has been pretty high basis its peculiar sizing – perfect for teenagers.
Aside from this, the brand is stressing on contemporary, athleisure-based styles and hoping to mark this down as a core segment in the near future. It also plans to add leisure wear to its categories soon.
India’s innerwear industry faces many challenges, one of the main ones being a low level of awareness. Retailers don’t strive to educate their customers on products since they are either unaware of the specifications or deem it a ‘delicate matter’ to discuss. This limits the items to a necessity rather than a luxury item, preventing a sense of aspiration from being created.
Aside from this, sourcing of raw materials is an issue, because many Indian retailers still rely on China and other international markets. “Inflation and raw material aside, other challenges include the fact that this is a labour intensive industry and there is a major dearth of skilled labourin the market,” Pathare explains.
The final and a primary challenge is that of cluttered markets. There are so many small, local brands that it is indeed a challenge to establish dominance in such a crowded market.
The Innerwear Segment
The innerwear market is dominated by a large number of small-scale players, accounting for ~60-65% of the unorganised market. The rest of the market – which is the organised sector includes brands like VIP Clothing, Lux, Dollar and Rupa Most of these brands earn a majority of their revenue from their economy segment.
- The market was valued at Rs 320 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11% over the next decade to reach ~Rs 897 billion by 2028.
- In the Rs 320 billion value, the segment wise split is: mass segment 30%, economy 21%, semi-premium 25%, premium 15%, bridge to luxury 6%, and luxury segment at 3%.
- The men’s innerwear market was valued at Rs 110 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7% over the next decade to reach Rs 218 billion by 2028.
- The women’s innerwear segment to grow at a CAGR of 13% to Rs 680 billion by 2028, according to SMIFS Limited.
“The intimate wear industry has an extensive space to unwind its potential and serve the market with impeccable products and quality, built under the shed of evolution. The present market size of the intimate wear industry is built to enlarge at a CAGR of 12% to experience Rs 91,000 crores by 2025,” concludes Sunil Pathare.