The women’s footwear industry in India is set for a monumental shift, says Virender Kumar, Chere | The Financial Express

The women’s footwear industry in India is set for a monumental shift, says Virender Kumar, Chere

When it comes to fashion , lifestyle its ever changing & evolving trend was always easily accepted by the Indian Market.

The women’s footwear industry in India is set for a monumental shift, says Virender Kumar, Chere
The size of the Indian footwear market is around USD 23 billion, as per the latest statistics by Statista.

Recently union commerce minister Piyush Goyal stated that India has immense potential in the footwear sector and can increase production and export 10 times in the near future. He also added that India is the second largest producer of footwear and leather garment and can become the world leader and accounts for nearly 3 bn sq.ft of the world’s tannery. In an exclusive conversation with The Financial Express Online, Virender Kumar, the spokesperson of footwear brand Chere, talked about the emerging trends in the Indian women footwear market. He shared some interesting facts and trends prevailing in the Indian market. He further pointed out that as the lifestyle and aspirations of modern Indian women are transforming, so is the footwear products and designs. Excerpts:

Tell us about the overall market landscape of the footwear industry in India?

The size of the Indian footwear market is around USD 23 billion, as per the latest statistics by Statista. The market is growing at a CAGR of around 7%. One of the fastest-growing segments in the shoe market is women’s footwear, which is growing at a CAGR of 11%. Sandals generally feature on top of the search list, while other categories such as high heels, ballet flats, slippers, sneakers, etc. are also expanding fast. As offices have resumed other categories such as formal wears , boots, etc. are also witnessing pick-up in demand.

There is a growing trend striking the right balance between comfort and style. Designers and manufacturers are continuously experimenting to match the evolving taste, aspirations, and lifestyle of Indian consumers. Footwear is integral to one’s overall personality. Buyers want footwear that no more just look stylish and trendy but also make someone look confident and smart.

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Do you feel Government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative played a key role to create a better chance for Indian-made footwear? How have you made the most out of it?

India is the Second Largest Manufacturer of footwear after China. GOI understands the inherent strength of India in the segment and under the flagship of “Make in India” Initiative, offering stimulus to the sector to grow and transform. GOI is continuously working towards improving the investment climate in the country alongside systematically removing trade barriers, thereby creating a conducive atmosphere for businesses to thrive.

Currently, India accounts for close to 10% of the Global footwear market, while China holds 54% market share(as per data revealed by Statista). However, as Indian manufacturers are expanding their manufacturing capacity, it can give stiff competition to the dragon in the foreseeable future.

Chere is also aligned with India’s vision to become a leader in global shoe industry. We create top-quality, made-in-India shoes, specially made for the evolving Indian consumers. We are also expanding and scaling up across other components of the value chain and working towards initiative of designing and producing sole, mid-sole, and upper shoe products. For this, we are building capabilities for designing, prototyping, and manufacturing. There is a tremendous opportunity in shoe component manufacturing in India as well as the global markets. As an emerging footwear brand from India we are geared up for this and are willing to step-up our game to expand our foothold throughout the value chain.

Can you highlight the key factors which are affecting consumer demand?

The shoe demand in India is backed by strong foundational elements such as the rise in per capita income and growth in the middle class. These days Indian households enjoy much higher disposable income for shoes, apparels, and other fashion goods. People do not just buy one or two pair of footwear but a complete wardrobe with various shoes for different occasions. Interestingly, the monumental shift is not just limited to larger cities but also in smaller cities and townships.

The growth in modern retail in the past 10-15 years has also shaped consumer preferences in India significantly. Most of the major footwear brands are now available in the country either through their exclusive store or multi-brand outlets. This has resulted in greater awareness of the latest fashion trends, aesthetics, price points, etc, thereby further dovetailing the demand in a positive direction.

Another factor that is heavily influencing consumer demand is the rapid growth of the internet. With the exponential rise in the internet, consumers can know more about footwear with just few clicks, learn more about latest trends in the market, compare various products and accordingly make their decision to purchase or not. Internet is the true game changer that is revolutionizing the entire landscape. Interestingly, the internet is also democratizing the market by bridging the gap between large cities and small towns.

Please give a brief about Chère’s business model? Who are the target consumers for the brand?

As of our Business model is concerned our Value proposition lies in providing Fast Fashion in footwear. We are able to do so due to our strength which lies in product development.

Our designs are not only in line with current trends, but they are also comfortable on the foot. We strongly believe that footwear is one of the most important part of an individual’s attire and keep this in mind we are positioning Chère as an opulent designer women footwear brand that can adorn any outfits with confidence & comfort. It offers an array of product range like stylish wedges, plush flats, glided heels, elegant closed toe, chic stilettos and more. So if it’s to glam up office look, a cocktail party to shine at or just casual dine in with bae, Chère is perfect fit.

Meanwhile reach is important and we are racking up investments in our distribution channel. We are continuously leveraging our Distribution Channels to aggressively connect with our consumer base. We have developed digital bandwidth steered by online market places as well as our own E-commerce platform – In future, we will add new channels to extend our reach.

Our product development and production are backed by a prolific marketing team. It is a key resource in our growth endeavor and is responsible for Consumer awareness & personalized responses. We have an equally efficient Customer Relationship Management (CRM) team. Customer lifetime value is what we strive for through our customer relationship and engagement program.

India is a price-sensitive market hence how do maintain the balance in terms of the prices of products?

India is not just a vast but also a diverse and multifaceted market. Though the majority of the shoe market is run by affordable shoe brands, there is a growing appetite for premium, top-quality products as well. Lifestyle changes and growth in income levels are giving a facelift to the market dynamics. Indian consumers are willing to pay the price as long as the product fulfills what they are yearning for in terms of style and comfort.

This is the segment, wherein we are closely focusing on. Our products are for modern Indian women, who have penchant for top-quality, trendy products. Our designs would not just add a sense of style to them but are also high on functionality. In a way, we reflect the changing shades of modern Indian women- elegant, stylish, and full of confidence.

What is the impact of technological advancement on the footwear Industry? Please give light on other factors influencing the growth of this Industry?

When it comes to fashion, lifestyle its ever changing & evolving trend was always easily accepted by the Indian Market. The demand for innovative, technologically advanced yet comfortable footwear across all age group especially millennials, Genz is a core pillar propelling the market growth. Breathable soles, Smart shoe, augmented and virtual reality instilled shoes,  technologies are some of the most recent technological breakthroughs in the footwear sector. Millennials, Genz not only prefer smart footwear but also which are highly comfortable.

Earlier, consumers were brand loyal as the brands & designs, and demand were limited in the market, but fast fashion, easily available brands in the market, has really changed the footwear industry in India. Due to growing concerns about ecological footprint, major consumers are more focused on buying sustainable products.

Furthermore, some global footwear industry participants are seeing strong demand for innovative and eco-friendly products. These variables are driving market sales growth.

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First published on: 09-11-2022 at 10:24 IST