The growing Indian fashion and lifestyle market has given an impetus to the footwear industry

The products being offered now are very innovative and are made based on consumer needs and preferences.

The Indian Footwear industry has truly come a long way over the years.

By Ambud Sharma,

Over the years, India has become a focal point for the fashion and lifestyle industry, reflecting a powerful manufacturing sector and a fast-growing middle class. These forces make India too very significant international fashion brand to ignore when coupled with strong economic fundamentals, and rapid digital transformations and automation processes. Certainly, according to a report by McKinsey, India’s ascent is one of the 10 trends the fashion industry should watch. Making it the sixth-largest all across the globe, the country’s apparel market will be worth $59.3 billion by 2022, comparable to the United Kingdom’s ($65 billion) and Germany’s ($63.1 billion), as stated in another recent report by McKinsey. Consequently, this is giving an impetus to the footwear industry of India. Let’s dive deeper to explore more:

The overall market landscape of the footwear industry

Whether it’s men’s or women’s, regardless of the category, footwear has always been an essential style statement for each and every one of us. India’s market landscape of the footwear industry can be seen drawing a prominent spotlight increasingly. According to a report by Invest India, the country is the 2nd largest consumer and producer of footwear in the world and is projected to increase 8 folds by 2030. The purchasing behaviors of the end-users have been changed dramatically and revolutionized completely owing to the rise in their disposable and per capita incomes. It’s fascinating to take note that a ton of Western impact has additionally made individuals lean towards styles like Derbys made from full-grain Argentinian leather, reliable Oxfords, and more.

The footwear sector is divided into two segments – organized and unorganized. While the former caters to nearly 33% of the market, the latter is brought by the remaining industry players, which falls under SMEs and MSMEs. The footwear industry is set to grow annually by 24.73% (CAGR 2021-2025), as anticipated in another report by Statista. Such researches are a shred of evidence enough of the fact that the demand for footwear items in the nation is expanding as time passes by. Additionally, with the outbreak of the pandemic and the Government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, numerous industry players accept that there is a better chance to make a more grounded pitch for Indian-made footwear at the international level.

The scenario of the sector amid the pandemic

Undoubtedly, the onset year of the global health emergency will go down in history as the most challenging one for almost every other industry. And the footwear sector seems to be no exception. It finds itself amid unprecedented adversity, with revenues and margins under pressure. This can be attributed to declining sales, shifting customer behavior, disrupted supply chains, and several other pandemic-induced restrictions. It would be appropriate to state that the virus is the catalyst for a deepening economic crisis on top of a humanitarian catastrophe affecting the lives of millions and billions of individuals. However, the shifting landscape is creating pockets of momentum. Regardless of the continuous, boundless effect of the pandemic, some footwear organizations are developing new ways to compete. Covid-19 has intensified the demand for everything digital, which, thus, has empowered advancement, productivity and new ways for organizations to walk towards the path of success.

A significant shift can be witnessed from being a constraint to only a few styles to a craze of owning different pairs for every occasion. For example, a fitness enthusiast would require sports shoes, Oxfords or Derbys for heading to the office or work-related events, voguish for get-togethers, and casual ones for a relaxing trip, et al. Additionally, with patterns and trends evolving rapidly, brands are offering various collections for each season. Hence, when individuals visit malls or retail plazas, they see a wide assortment of footwear from different well-established brands, and that is the thing that instigates them to buy more. A couple of special offers, discounts, vouchers furthermore add to making their shopping even more persuading. Despite the fact that India is a price-sensitive market, individuals today do not hesitate even a little in paying more for superior quality, sustainability, and innovation. The shift is long-lasting and will keep on establishing opportunities to assemble slicker, more intelligent working models and separated client suggestions that are more customized to every end-user.

The bottom line

The Indian Footwear industry has truly come a long way over the years. The products being offered now are very innovative and are made based on consumer needs and preferences. There has also been a significant enhancement in terms of the colors and designs available. This growth can be attributed to several factors such as enhanced internet penetration, the shift of consumer preference from brands to quality, economies of scale, the rise of the fashion & lifestyle industry, and the increased importance of affordability as a factor affecting consumer demand.

(The author is Founder & Director, Escaro Royale. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)

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