Sharad Walia, Brand Director, Park Avenue reveals how the western wear segment is getting traction and wider acceptance owing to an increase in disposable incomes, and more women joining the workforce.
Tell us about the women’s western wear market in India? How has it changed over the years?
Globalisation coupled with fast fashion has resulted in awareness on fashion trends and styling. Further, the increase in number of working women has fuelled the women’s western wear market. The women’s wear market is currently growing at 10 percent CAGR in India, where women’s western wear is growing at 17 percent CAGR.
Can you help us understand more on the size of the women’s western wear market in India?The women’s wear market in India contributes 38 percent of the total apparel industry. It is estimated to be worth Rs 1,11,467 crore (US $17.5 billion in 2016) and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.9 percent to reach Rs 2,86,456 crore (US $44 billion in 2026). The women’s wear in India comprises ethnic wear, western wear, Indowestern, innerwear, etc.
Ethnic wear is the single largest category in women’s wear with a share of 66 percent. In ethnic wear, saree is perhaps the most common traditional Indian dress for women and has a market of Rs 37,837 crore. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5 percent and reach Rs 61,632 crore by 2026. Though a market shift is expected from saree to salwar kameez and western wear in urban and semi-urban markets, the saree will still remain as the predominant category among elderly and middle aged women across urban and rural India.
Salwar kameez is another dominating category in ethnic wear, especially among the working women because of it’s comfort. With a market share of Rs 35,804 crore, it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12 percent to reach Rs 1,11,203 crore by 2026.
Denim is another high growth category among women’s western wear and is expected to grow by a promising rate of 17.5 percent for the next 10 years to become a market of Rs 10,209 crore from Rs 2,035 crore currently. Initially, denim brands used to focus primarily on men, but with change in demand and preferences of women, they have started catering to women consumers as well. Stretch denims have seen a huge demand among women.
Women’s t-shirts and tops categories are also growing fast owing to generic inclination for western wear categories. The women tops and shirts market is valued at Rs 2,236 crore and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14 percent to reach Rs 8,291 crore by 2026. The women’s t-shirts market of Rs 933 crore is growing in tandem with the growth of other casual wear categories and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17 percent to reach Rs 4,484 crore by 2026.
According to you, what are be the key growth drivers in the segment?
Firstly, it is globalisation and democratisation of information, thanks to the internet. Secondly, more international brands coming to India. Thirdly, women are travelling more unlike before. And finally, the growing participation of women in the workforce.
With global brands coming in how are Indian players coping and scoring?
We Indian players are not threatened by international brands coming into the country, rather we feel confident knowing our strengths and understanding the customers well. Instead on a positive note such competitions help improve the market and ensure that brands always deliver better than before.
Price is a major factor in women’s wear. How do brands strike a balance?
Well, I find price is a factor in every category, not just in women’s apparel. What’s the key is whether the customer perceives any value in what he is paying for. There’s always a price-value equation which we run while making a purchase decision. For example, when you see a product, you know whether you will use it frequently or not, especially given our products are very iconic and classic.
Tell us about the key innovations in the women’s western wear segment today. What is your brand doing in it?
Innovation and styling drive the women’s wear market. With rapidly changing trends, the average number of wears of each garment has come down and people adding more number of new garments into their wardrobe. Garments are no longer a basic need, they depict your personality today.
We have a number of innovations to our name, including the auto fit pants for women, which allows for an adjustable waist; perfumed shirts for customers to feel fresh all day long. Apart from offering on-trend styles, our products are also rooted in our true-to innovation heritage, and as such off er new innovations each season.
What has been the role of e-commerce in helping the category grow?
E-commerce has made fashion accessible to customers in more ways than one. Today Tier III and IV markets are more aggressively driving women’s wear growth than others because the customers doesn’t have to leave the comfort of their homes to get what they want. The latest trends are available to them, 24x7. At the same time, unlike a brick and mortar store, where there is limitation in the number of styles it can off er due to space, e-commerce takes away all of those limitations.
Our business on e-commerce has been growing at 15 percent year-on-year. Throw some light on your design capabilities. What is your USP?
Our products are designed with the end users in mind. For example, you will find buttons inside placket to ensure there’s no accidental reveal. Simple things like auto fit trouser that expands at the waist ensures that our user is a tease, irrespective of body changes. We imbue our clothes with such thoughtful details while creating innovation and staying on trend.
Therefore, Park Avenue Woman offers style choices that an independent, vivacious, millennial Indian women make through a week - Monday - to - Sunday; morning - to - night — that are never boring and always experimenting. The consumers can mix-and-match trends to create a style identity that is uniquely theirs. From boardroom to mid-week chic, from the red carpet to an easy Sunday brunch, with Park Avenue by her side, she is always topping the style charts.
How will the future unfold for women’s western category in India? What are the opportunities in the years ahead?
The opportunities for growth are very exciting in women’s western wear market. We see pockets of growth, of course, coming as a result of more women wearing western wear overall.
However, there’s also the segment of Indo-western chic that’s growing well. We see women’s wear market becoming very sophisticated, and the consumer going after brands that resonate with their identity. Today, women still seek inspiration or ideas from brands on how to pair ensembles, etc. But we foresee the market maturing where they’re more confident in their choices. With a wave of 'self acceptance' we see sweeping the globe, we also expect women to be bolder in their choice of styles which truly reflect their tastes and not being shy.