Contributing 38 percent to the total apparel market of the country, the women’s wear segment is fast moving with proliferation in the number of working women, which has led to increased purchasing power of the Indian women. Although the women’s wear space is still largely dominated by unorganised players, in the recent times, many modern players of national and international repute have started entering the market. Technopak sizes up the market and outlines the opportunities teeming in this segment.

The global women’s wear market has shown rapid growth as fashion trends, which are the most important aspect of women’s wear, are changing rapidly. Europe is the largest market of women’s wear followed by North America and Asia Pacific respectively. Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing market for women’s wear as it comprises some of the emerging economies with a very high proportion of middle class with significant disposable income.

India is one of the fastest growing economies with a projected CAGR of 10 percent making it a lucrative market. In comparison to India, the developed markets of the US, Europe and Japan are expected to grow at a meagre rate of 2-3 percent.

The Indian apparel market can be broadly classified into three broad categories; men’s wear, women’s wear and kid’s wear. Although, men’s wear segment contributes the most in apparel market; i.e 42 percent followed by women’s wear at 38 percent and kids at 20 percent, the women’s wear segment is expected to grow at higher rate than men’s wear.

Women’s wear segment of the market is mostly dominated by unorganised players. But, recently many organised players have started showing interest in this segment. These organised players have realised the market potential and have aggressively grown over a short span of time with the help of e-commerce and other disruptive distribution channels. Increase in number of working women has resulted in increase in disposable income which in turn has fuelled this market segment. Globalisation coupled with fast fashion has resulted in awareness on fashion trends and styling. It has been estimated that the ₹1,02,358 crores (USD 17 billion in 2015) women’s wear market will grow at a CAGR of 11 percent to reach ₹2,89,518 crores (USD 48 billion) in 2025. This growth will not only be limited to market size, but will also see a paradigm shift from non-branded to branded and ethnic wear to western wear as well.

It can be predicted that women’s wear may have a bigger market than men’s wear in India between 2025-30.

Women’s wear in India can be broadly classified into four categories:
>Ethnic Wear
>Western Wear
>Indo Western Wear Innerwear

Ethnic Wear
The women’s ethnic wear can be further sub divided into three major categories: sarees, salwar kameez and blouse-petticoats. The saree is perhaps the quintessential Indian dress for women and has a market of ₹36,035 crores. It is the most widely accepted women wear in India. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6 percent to reach ₹61,553 crores in 2025. Though a market shift is expected from saree to salwar kameez or western wear in urban and semi-urban markets, saree will still remain as the predominant category among elderly and middle aged women across urban and rural India.

Surat, Varanasi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai are some of the major manufacturing hubs of saree.

Some of the popular brands of saree in India are Nalli Silk Sarees, Meena Bazaar, Bombay Selections, Satya Paul and Fabindia. It is due to these brands that sarees are famous worldwide.

Salwar kameez is another dominating category in ethnic wear. The comfort level provided by salwar kameez has made it popular among the working women. But, it has started facing stiff competition from western wear. The increasing number of working women in the country and their shift from ethnic to western formal or western casual has led to an increase in the competition for ethnic wear in urban areas. In rural India, salwar kameez is still the most preferred choice of young women.

Indo Western Wear
The increased competition from western wear has resulted in a new category, Indo-western. It is a blend of both ethnic and western. This category has gained popularity in the urban areas of the country. Brands have realised that a mix of both western and ethnic is accepted by today’s women and hence most modern players have come with unique designs which are a perfect mix of ethnic and western. The growing publicity of Indian fashion in the western nations, the integration of women’s clothing designs has become inevitable. Comfort comes first while selecting attires. Sarees being formal wear are time consuming to drape. Indo western attires are so comfortable that women love to wear them. Basically, these attires come as full stitched or semi stitched.

A quintessential clothing item of Indo-western ensemble is the trouser suit, which is a short kurta with straight pants with or without dupatta. Newer designs often feature sleeveless tops, short dupattas and pants with slits.

Additional examples of the fusion that Indo- western clothing represents include wearing jeans with a kurta, adding a dupatta to a western-style outfit and wearing a lehenga (long skirt) with a tank top or halter top.

Global Desi, Lakshita, W and Fabindia are some of the most popular brands among women for Indo- western apparels.


The women’s innerwear category is another promising category in the women’s wear market. The innerwear market is growing at a CAGR of 15 percent and is expected to reach ₹58,211 crores in 2025 from the current market size of ₹14,389 crores. Brassieres, panties and camisoles, etc., are the key sub categories of women’s inner wear category.

Branded innerwear contributes to 35 to 40 percent of the total women’s inner wear market and is expected that branded share will account for 40 to 45.





Women’s Western Wear
Women’s western wear can be further classified into casual western wear and formal western wear.

Denims are the most popular casual wear product among women. They have demonstrated a promising growth at a CAGR of 18.5 percent. Initially, the denim brands used to focus primarily on the men consumers, but with the change in the demand and preferences of women, they started catering to women consumers as well. Of late, stretch denims have seen a huge demand among women.

Women’s t-shirts and tops categories are also growing fast owing to increasing participation of women in workforce and a generic inclination for western wear categories. The women tops and shirts market is now pegged at ₹1,979 crores and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14 percent to ₹7,337 crores by 2025. The women’s t-shirts market of ₹797 crores is witnessing growth in tandem with the growth of all other casualwear categories and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.5 percent to reach ₹3,999 crores by 2025.

Another promising segment in western wear is formal wear. The increasing number of working women has led to the demand of formal attire. The companies have started realising the need of the hour and have shifted their focus on tapping this segment. Today’s working woman is very much concerned with her image. She is ready to experiment and does not want to lag behind in this fashion era. Ranging from business formals to smart casuals to friday dressing, women are concerned how they look at their workplace. This has provided sufficient market space to companies to explore several options in this segment. Western formal attire is one of the fastest growing segments.

The emergence of e-commerce has given a boost to the fashion retail market. This market platform has provided an easy and less time consuming option in the hustle bustle of today’s world. The increasing number of working women, with less time to shop has found an easy mode of purchasing.

“The aspiring working women will contribute the most to growth of formal wear .”

The increasing penetration of internet, the increasing purchasing power of the women, high brand consciousness and fashion sense has made e-commerce an important medium of shopping.

The online market is one of the major reasons in the growth of branded and premium inner wear in semi- urban and rural market. Women have become ready to experiment with fashion. They are exploring options based not only on the value but also on the brand. E-tailing is also gaining popularity amongst women, which is seeing great future prospect. Many online platforms are also coming with ideas of providing customisation to Indian women, when it comes to western formal wear.

Therefore, it will not be incorrect to say that Indian women’s wear market will see some major changes in near future.


The women’s wear market in India is emerging as a high growth potential market. International players are showing interest and it is becoming more organised. It is also estimated that it will grow at higher rate than men’s wear in the country.

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