Partly due to the limited purchasing power of consumers and the Lok Sabha elections that disturbed the business flow, apparel retail in the summer season failed to meet expectations of many brands/retailers.
“However, with elections over, money flow from the government is expected to increase leading to a rise in purchasing power for the upcoming autumn/winter season,” notes Sanjay K Jain, Managing Director, TT Ltd. The brand recently signed Indian wrestler, Bajrang Punia as its new brand ambassador.
“We wanted a ‘real hero’ unlike other brands who opt for film actors. Punia has won the Asian Games and World Championship and is one of best prospects for an Olympic Gold Medal,” adds Jain.
Sandeep Sakseria, Director, Macho Hint, says, “As the needs of the Rs 30,000- crore fashion industry keep changing, brands/ manufacturers continue to invest in product expansion and other growth strategies.” On its part, Macho Hint aims to reach revenue of Rs 1,500 crore by 2019. “Around 10 per cent of this revenue will be generated through modern trade and e-commerce,” adds Sakeseria.
Changing demands, high inflation pose challenges
Despite a bright outlook for future, the apparel industry continues to face many challenges. One of the biggest ones is the lack of trained workforce. Increasing mass media penetration and growing disposable income is making Indian consumers more demanding and adaptable to change in fashion. “It has become challenging for retailers and manufacturers to keep up with shifting shopping demands and cater to customers’ evolving preferences,” points out Kuntal Raj Jain, Director, Duke Fashions India.
The high rate of inflation also forces customers to defer purchases till the end of season sale. These sales prove to be a golden opportunity for retailers as it clears old stocks besides making room for new arrivals. “They help customers get their desired clothes at discounted rates besides helping retailers increase footfalls in a short span,” adds Jain.
Waiting for European approval
Though Indian brands yearn to explore new designs, they wait for the European consumers to accept these designs first before launching them in the Indian market. “We are always one season or a fashion trend behind the rest of the world,” notes Akshat Chug, Managing Director, Swiss Military whose designs are also inspired by the European culture. The brand’s Autumn/Winter range covers different colours and fabrics. “We play around with different prints and designs. Its intricate design details add a wow factor to the entire collection,” adds Chug.
Brands adopt discounting strategies
To deal with these challenges, some brands are resorting to discounting strategies. A case in point is Dollar Industries which offers an extra 5 per cent discount on the normal discount percentage. This increases the entire discount percentage to 15 per cent. “Moreover, if our products are sold from other e-commerce portals such as Myntra, Flipkart and more, these 3rd party e-commerce portals give their own discount on products. This helps in further augmenting our sales,” adds Jain.
With these strategies and the market expected to reach $124 billion by 2020, the overall outlook for the Indian fashion industry is definitely bright.