ETHNIC WEAR MARKET GLOBAL OUTLOOK NATIONAL
April 14, 2023 | 168 10 minutes read
This category of Indian ethnic menswear exploded into the scene some 8-10 years back as more and more consumers started wearing ethnic wear for all celebrations. It was driven by the trend of going back to the roots and also by trends showcased from Bollywood movies as well as television serials. This was further accentuated by easy access driven by store footprint of few key players who were present at that point of time. Prior to this, the ethnic wear category comprised of more local stores, boutiques and stand-alone designers and few local favourites. With the advent of organized players in the ethnic wear segment, the category penetration grew, and it is touted to grow at the rate of 11 percent for the next 5 years. However, a very interesting point to note is; that the contribution of unorganized sector is going to go down to 50 percent from its current estimation at 75 percent. Hence, the organized sector is poised to grow at the rate of 15 percent as compared to the unorganized sector growth of around 7 percent. The market is expected to reach around Rs 20k core by 2027.
Big business in this segment
If you look at the ethnic wear segment closely, the big play is majorly happening in the mass premium segment. This is where all the branded players have profiled their brands. The mass segment is occupied by the local and unorganized players. The premium segment is niche which is still occupied by designers.
The ethnic wear category is still a destination purchase decision and therefore, the presence of brick-and-mortar stores is extremely critical to the success of any brand. The organised players have big plans to expand their exclusive brand outlets (EBO) space. The ethnic wear segment believes in opening grand stores and the favourite size of these stores is more than 3000 sq.ft. The stores should have with a lot of in-store grandeur to bring alive the concept of celebration of weddings inside the store. What needs to be kept in mind is by putting up a grand stores requires higher investment and here the key question of profitability needs to be clearly defined.
Competition & Brand success
As the journey becomes more competitive, there is a huge demand for premium retail spaces in both malls and high street locations. Now, here the high street seems to be adaptable to this segment as its easy for a brand to get bigger stores and customize it according to its requirements. In comparison, the mall store sizes are limited and also expensive and come with lot of conditions on customization. If you want an ethnic wear brand to be successful, its retail experience is of prime importance. Generally the in-store experience should start with pampering the customers where in this category the shopping is influenced by customers coming with 3-5 members form their family and friends for one shopping session. The customers spend a good amount of their time while shopping for the ethnic wear category, so its store ambience and the treatment offered to its clientele is a critical key to the success of the brand. There’s also certain degree of customization that is expected in the garments vis-a-vis: odd sizes, some degree of alterations, design changes in high end garments like sherwanis, etc. The shopping is done around 45 days prior to marriage date. In this, there are many garments that are custom made and delivered in 21 days which is acceptable to the consumer.
Technology has made a difference
With the advent of technology, its possible today to view all options, sizes available not only at one store but across all stocking locations. Now it’s possible to pull any stock from any location to close a sale. The endless aisle plays a very significant part and it’s critical to ensure that it’s supported by technology for the success of a brand.
Men’s ethnic wear categories
There are three major categories which are available in the ethnic menswear segment, groom’s wear (marriage shopping), festive wear (any festival) and casual wear (casual silhouettes with an ethnic touch). Brands either focus on the groom and festive wear or the casual wear. On the other hand, there are brands which are straddling both; thereby giving an opportunity to tide over the period where there are either no marriage dates or festive occasions.
Even the marriage today is not a single function. It could be as many as four that are celebrated. This can be haldi, bachelor party, marriage and reception, therefore making it possible to design atleast four ensembles for the groom. Nevertheless, dressing up the family is also an important business for a brand. Hence, one can imagine the time spent in a store for shopping and ,therefore, a brand needs to give an unforgettable retail experience when the family comes to shop at their store. Brands are sparing no expense to make this happen, starting from style advisory, creating bride and groom’s ensembles and customized styles to concierge services. The consumer may have become more wary about data privacy, therefore, the trends suggest that today they are reluctant to share data but the need for customized offerings are increasing making very challenging for retailers to customize offerings. In the casual wear space brands have adopted to local weaving and dyeing. The handloom clusters encourage use of traditional weaving and dyeing techniques like tie & dye, ajrakha, Jaipur prints, kalamkari, dabu, batik, to name a few. This encourages sustainability for these clusters and helps the brands with a reason to buy where a sustainability quotient is becoming extremely relevant to its new age consumers.
There is a niche consumer segment which exists globally led by the Indian diaspora which is celebrating Diwali or Eid and Indian marriages. There is some amount of adoption in the western world for this segment wherein the local population of these countries want to dress in relevant ethnic styles to attend festivities. One of the examples was where we witnessed the Canadian Prime Minister who came dressed in Indian ethnic wear to gatherings during his recent visit to India.
Today, there are retail stores of Indian ethnic menswear brands in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), UK, Singapore and US with more expansions planned by brands. This has also led to the ease of launching the same on e-commerce wherein physical retail are not required. Actually, it’s encouraging to see the quantum of brands and option available on Amazon.com in the US.
Going forward the Indian ethnic menswear segment will continue to grow at a healthy 11-12 percent for the next 5 years but the hearting fact is that the organized segment is set to grow at plus15 percent, thereby, leading to a shift from unorganized to organized. There will be an explosion to new brand store openings, thereby, spoiling the consumer for choice. We will witness designer’s endorsement with brands which will drive consumption in the coming times and the trend has already started where we are witnessing some of these collaborations.
Trends and designs will frequently evolve and we will see a lot of innovations going forward. Sustainability is still not a very relevant cause in this segment. The segment will be moving ahead with celebratory and consumers splurge on different occasions. We need to wait to see how the brands handle this challenge. Having said that, the ethnic wear trend is here to stay and will move at a faster rate than compared to the general menswear growth.
Article Picture Courtesy: Ethnix by Raymond
Bidyut Bhanjedeo, Chief Business Officer, Ethnix by Raymond
Bidyut has been a business leader with more than 27 years of experience in the FMCG packaged food and fashion industry. He has led large sales teams and has headed all four regions of India before taking on a National role. He is a champion with building distribution networks for General Mills and Raymond. He is an investor in a start-up company in the personal wealth management space and helps them on strategic decisions and funding. In his free time, he pursues his interest in biking and music.
Ethnix by Raymond
Ethnix by Raymond