Digitally savvy women are exploring options and brands on social channels and being educated by influencers about trends in apparel, cosmetics and overall fashion. There has also been a gradual trend towards western wear in metro and Tier I cities as women are experimenting more with their attire with increasing exposure to global trends.
The fashion market in India has been growing albeit the changes and challenges from the implementation of GST, where many businesses and revenue of categories was affected. Consumers in India continue to be price-conscious with their purchase decisions and look out for deals and offers and prefer shopping during the festive season. However, popularity of affordable luxury products in accessories and eyewear are also gaining traction. This year, women’s wear and apparel particularly stood out. With more women joining the work force and as their disposable incomes continue to increase it has given them opportunity to explore with fashion purchases. Digitally savvy women are exploring options and brands on social channels and being educated by influencers about trends in apparel, cosmetics and overall fashion. There has also been a gradual trend towards western wear in metro and Tier I cities as women are experimenting more with their attire and have exposure to global trends.
Social Media Platforms Increasingly Influencing Women’s Purchasing Decisions
With the popularity of social media continuing to increase across the country, platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Snapchat have become new channels for fashion bloggers and apparel companies to communicate with women. Hence, a strong digital presence is now seen as hugely important to reaching tech- savvy modern young women. Companies can use these platforms to get
instant feedback from women and identify local preferences. In addition, it has been noticed that young women are being increasingly influenced by their peers, celebrities and vloggers rather than traditional commercials, thus giving these digital platforms an edge. Over the forecast period this trend is expected
to grow further as these platforms become more interactive and offer a better user experience.
Women Shift from Ethnic Wear to Western Wear at Work
Traditionally, women have limited themselves to ethnic attire in a formal setting like a workplace due to factors such as social restrictions or the sheer comfort. However, as more women continue stepping outside their houses for work or education their clothing choices are also changing. For workplaces where formal attires are still the norm, women are ready to experiment with formal shirts and formal trousers or skirts to portray a sophisticated look and be trendy at the same time. Women of all ages in urban areas are also preferring western wear which involves shirts for a casual outing due to their comfort level.
Womenswear Remains a Price-Sensitive Category
In India, womenswear has always contributed heavily to the apparel industry. Although Indian women are very price-conscious, most have more clothing in their wardrobes than men. Thus, when taking this into consideration, it is perhaps safe to say that women tend to prioritise fashion trends and product price over quality. This is one of the many reasons why e-commerce companies such as Myntra and Flipkart have been able to establish a position in the Indian market. Year-round discounts on products, instalment payment options, free shipping and cash on delivery have all served to attract women to these websites. No major shift in this price-conscious mentality is expected soon.
Fast Fashion a Trend Which is Likely Here to Stay
Fast fashion brands such as Zara and H&M are posting strong growth in India, suggesting that the fast fashion trend is here to stay. Over 2017/2018, Zara reported year-on-year growth of 73 percent. On the other hand, although the growth of H&M slowed, it still posted a year-on-year increase of 19 percent. Both brands have achieved a decent share of sales given that they have not been around for long. This is mainly because fast fashion caters for consumers who are interested in the latest trends but do not want to spend much money. These companies offer apparel which may have been seen on fashion runaways only a month ago but at pocket-friendly prices. Fast fashion sales are expected to grow further because 2017 saw the government approve 100 percent foreign ownership of businesses in India. Following the announcement of this regulation, Uniqlo, another major fast fashion player, has expressed an interest in soon entering the Indian market, thus making the landscape even more competitive.
The personal accessories segment has continued to experience a strong current value growth in 2019 as consumers continue to become more fashion conscious due to the rising penetration of social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, rising disposable incomes, rise in dual incomes in families and easier access to personal accessories through e-commerce platforms.
Marketing Push from Personal Accessories Companies:
Also, companies, multi-brand outlets and e-commerce players are adopting different marketing strategies to woo consumers such as deep discounting, yearly festive deals, bank cashbacks, loyalty programs, etc. Organised jewellers such as Titan Co Ltd., are benefitting from their wedding jewellery segments which is witnessing healthy growth due to the large youth population. Players are also entering allied industries such as watch maker Fossil selling bags to bene t from their market presence and tap the business opportunity. During the initial days of the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), companies had experienced decline in their revenues as they were trying to align their accounting practices to it. However, as companies rebound from its impact, they have experienced growth.
Fragmentation Prevails in the Personal Accessories Space
Personal accessories are one of the highly fragmented segments in the country with the value share of “others” continuing to dominate in 2018. Products such as jewellery have had a cultural importance in the country with several domestic players and even a large unorganised market. This is a market where even though domestic and foreign players exist; their offerings are varying. There is also a large unorganised market that allows penetration of these products in smaller towns. Fragmentation in the industry is also due to players that are traditionally either apparel players or known in other business segments, but have started selling personal accessories such as costume jewellery, bags, etc. In writing instruments, this fragmentation is mainly because of many domestic and regional players that have been present for decades which was later followed by entry of international players seeing the large population base.
Eyewear in India for cases of vision re-correction has been one which has been traditionally dominated by the local optical stores in the neighbourhood. In case of fashion accessories such as sunglasses, there is an existence of a large unorganised market. These factors have kept foreign eyewear players from gaining a monopoly in this highly competitive market. Apart from this, even factors such as price sensitivity have given growth opportunities for domestic players such as Titan Co Ltd., Lenskart Solutions Pvt Ltd., and Reliance Retail Ltd., etc. resulting in further fragmenting the market and intensifying the competition. Low demand in smaller cities due to lack of consumer awareness for eyecare have kept larger players away from these local markets for quite long. Though this is changing, the market however now experiences a fragmented competitive landscape. During the coming years, it is projected that this intense competition would remain as more foreign players are entering the Indian market and allied industry players such as apparel and fast fashion companies are launching their line of sunglasses to woo fashion conscious consumers.
Eyewear in India has continued to perform strongly and has shown no sign of slowing compared to the previous year. Market players have been quite dynamic and are making capital investments in opening new retail outlets countrywide.
Companies are also investing in marketing campaigns to create brand recall and develop a new client base. Companies are now seeing a strong demand in the affordable luxury segment and are making investments to launch products here. For example, Lenskart Solutions Pvt Ltd invested ~`270 million to expand its John Jacobs brand, which is its trendy designer eyewear brand, aiming to cater in the affordable luxury segment. The demand for this segment is mainly being driven by the youth population that wants good quality eyewear products that are polarized, or UV protected due to the sunny and hot climate in the country but without the high price tag.
They are willing to shell a slight premium due to their higher disposable incomes but plan to buy more than one piece of eyewear for different occasions, which usually restricts them from spending on premium eyewear products. During the coming years, it is projected that even foreign luxury eyewear brands would launch products in this segment.