Sporting the cosmopolitan look

Updated: Apr 23 2013, 07:15am hrs
Anushree Bhattacharyya

Walk into any modern apparel store and be dazzled by the variety of clothes on displayshirts, trousers, t-shirts, denims, suits, skirts, shorts, tops, blouses, winter wear, formal wear, inner wear, active wear, sports wear, comfort wear and sleepwear. Take a closer look and you will find the best of international and made-in-India brands jostling for space. Yes, traditional or ethnic wear is still there but is increasingly getting sidelined by modern, western lifestyle-inspired wear, euphemistically called world wear.

A recent study titled World Wear -Indian Apparel Market: Key Trends & Development by market research firm Technopak puts the world wear category at about $25 billion, accounting for a 60% share of the $40 billion Indian apparel market. According to the report some of the key reasons behind the success are keen understanding of the changing needs and lifestyles of Indian consumers apart from adoption of India focused strategies across sourcing, business models and assortment.

India is a very attractive market for many international apparel brands and there are two or three factors which is working in their favour. First, as the sheer size of the market is very large, it provides a huge opportunity to marketers. And secondly, compared to European economies, Indias GDP is still positive, which again provides a scope of growth, said Amit Gugnani, senior vice-president, fashion, textile and apparel, Technopak.

Casual wear is the biggest beneficiary, comprising 48% of the total world wear market. With increased exposure to international fashions and styles via the penetration of entertainment channels besides changing lifestyles especially in urban areas, the demand for casual wear has gone up, and with it the advent of several

casual wear brands. The increased presence of multiple retail formats across specialty retail malls, hypermarkets, and high-end stores have also helped its cause.

While in the last few years the number of modern retail outlets have increased compared to global market the percentage still remains small. Therefore, there is a lot of scope of growth, added Gugnani.

According to the study, world wear has made the deepest dent in the $17 billion mens segment. While 67% of the world wear market is accounted by men wear, the key driving categories are denim, knits, comfort and active wear. In the womens segment too, world wear has pushed aside traditional wear such as saris and salwar kurtas. At present, womens segment accounts for 15% of the world wear market. By 2017, womens segment is expected to account for 17% of the world wear market which is set to touch $39 billion, offering global

apparel brands all the more reason to focus on the Indian market. Furthermore, the report stated that the increasing trend of contemporisation of traditional wear and fusion wear is also facilitating the robust growth.

Meanwhile, increased double income families and high share within the population is also driving the growth of kids wear segment. The kids wear category is about 18% of the overall world wear market at $4 billion and is expected to grow at a rate of 11%. The skew towards unisex smart casual branded clothing for kids as it enables ease of straddling multiple occasions such as playtime, shopping with family, hobby classes, party wear is one of the main reasons behind the growth.

The report further suggests that the trend of adopting world wear categories is increasingly gaining salience and is cutting across geographies and consumer segments. In fact, SEC B/C are increasingly contributing to this world wear market, so much so that currently they together comprise 43% share, comparable to the SEC A share of 44%.

Graphic: SADHANA SAXENA