The Indian retail market is expected to demonstrate a promising year-on-year growth of around 6 – 8 % to reach USD 960 billion, by 2023, from the current USD 494 billion. The share of apparel in India’s retail market is around 9%, corresponding to a value of USD 44 billion. In addition to fashion apparel, the growing demand for expanded fashion accessories makes the Indian fashion market both interesting , exciting and lucrative. The Indian fashion retail market has witnessed several fascinating changes and challenges in recent years, which are indicators of the country’s evolving fashion retail market.
Present Day India’s Macro–economic Scenario:
The robust growth of the fashion apparels &accessories market, driven by the 8-to-9% GDP growth and positive investment sentiment, looks like a thing of the past. A growth rate under 7%, coupled with double-digit inflation in the last couple of years, has dampened consumer demand for fashion items. As a result, the Indian fashion products consumer has become a cautious spender; demanding value for the money spent. The recent inflation in food and vegetables’ prices has added to the woes of the Indian consumer. Food being an irreplaceable item has eaten into the share of non-food items in recent years.
India’s Demographic Divide:
The demographic divide of India is tilted in favor of the diversified consuming age group. In contrast to the increasinglyaged populations in the West, Japan and even China, India is expected to become the world’s youngest emerging economy by 2022, with around 66% of its population moderately educatedand within the working age group. This young consuming class has new aspirations and is more open to experimenting with fashion brands and new age modern designers. The young Indian consumer is now conscious about his/her personality , image , style statement and selects such fashion products that suits his/her personality the best. As a consequence,youth has also started experimenting and accepting ethnic wear brands as well, besideswell-defined current fashion trends in western wear.
Consumers’ Buying Behavior:
The Indian fashion consumer is undergoing an evolution and is rapidly adapting to international fashion statements. Increasing disposable incomes, exposure to international travel & events and rising confidence levels are driving the changes in the consumer purchase behavior. The Indian fashion consumers can tell the difference between unbranded and branded apparel. They are calculative and are able to decode the messages communicated by different brands on different occasions. The mobile aspirational youth is also influenced by peer groups working with multinational companies and having international exposure. Though basic textiles and footwear continue to be a part of the consumer’s basket, the demand for aspirational fashion clothing and fashion accessories has increased manifold in recent times.
Alternative Fashion Channels :
The rapid growth of alternative retail channels, e.g. direct selling, home shopping networks and e-tailing indicates the evolution of an alternative retail landscape. The factors driving alternative retail are reach and convenience, which are directly linked with evolving consumer buying patterns like time-poverty and the increasing acceptance of digital technology. However, due to the rigorous and committed efforts of the fashion e-tailing players, Indian consumers have accepted e-tailing as a convenient model for fashion purchases with flexibility in merchandise return policy.
Fashion retailers have to go beyond the boundaries of sales, marketing, merchandising and category management and have to explore upstream and allied industries with accuracy. Fashion retailers in India have to continue realigning and restructuring their models to cater to the evolving needs of this dynamic market. The opportunity in the fashion market is immense, but this opportunity exists only for those who can visualize the future and reinvent themselves in order to address the associated challenges. By 2022 , India will see the rise in working women executives of over 1.5 Crores , that will change the shape & expectation of fashion & retail business in India.
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