Lately, children have become very picky about their clothing. The other day, I decided on taking my niece to the mall. She was to choose an outfit to wear to her best friend’s birthday. But this nine year old knew precisely what she was looking for. She picked out a chic outfit with accessories that perfectly complimented the style. At first, I wondered how she did that? Later, I figured that she has open access to media. This makes her more informed and consciously aware of what she chooses and why.
The apparel industry plays a pivotal role in any economy. It is a growth driver, yielding tremendous revenue (fashionists are potential growth drivers to the industry) and it enables employment on a large scale. Also, the products in the industry have a shorter life cycle, and are yet characterized by growth owing to growing demands for newer trends. In spite of growing at such a large scale the industry is prone to shock, as purchases remain discretionary as compared to other goods.
I looked around to note that the kidswear market has witnessed a quantum leap in term of market presence, and sales. The kids-wear apparel comprises of garments designed for kids between 0-14 years of age. India is fast emerging as a hotspot for emergent and well-established, local and international kids wear fashion brands. This is because, India comprises of a youth inclined population. The kidswear segment accounts for an approximate 20% of the total apparel market. There is a staggering growth rate is recorded in 2017. The mark notched to a whopping Rs. 66905 crores (approximate). This is expected to grow at an approximate rate of 8.3% CAGR by 2027, which is at Rs. 145440 crores (approximate). According to Pratik Shah, Marketing Head of Grab Apparel, “The Kids wear industry has been one of the most promising segments over the years.”
Prominent Indian designers are currently considering working on a separate kids wear range, on understanding the potential for growth. In spite of a number of brands mushrooming in this division, there is immense scope for progression, as there are many aspects of this market that yet remain untapped.
The change is constituted by a number of factors. These include:
- The widespread influence of the media, that has made a stunning impact not only in the metros but in the Tier 1, 2 and 3 cities.
- With both parents working, there is a rise in disposable income.
- Alternate means of payments have also bolstered the apparel industry, aiding in the proliferation in the retail segment. With cash, alternatives get limited, but when using card purchase possibilities are practically seamless.
- There is an evident shift in consumer trends where people are opting for trends instead of functionality. Which also means there is a growing demand for clothes for every occasion.
- There is an increasing demand for newer styles.
- Children tend to outgrow their clothes real fast owing to recorded physical growth of height and weight as compared to adults.
- There are a number of International brands that have entered the market giving an impetus for local labels to thrive in an environment. This also means there are good and services catering to every income group.
- E-commerce has given this segment of fashion the required boost enabling growth making shopping a more enjoyable and ergonomic experience. E-commerce also has a commendable reach and constantly works at adapting to new consumer trends.
India was doing exceptionally well with the kidswear apparel segment, but demonetization changed the fate of the market dramatically. Marketers witnessed a sharp drop in record sales. However, not all was lost, as marketers knew they would regain the position upon remonetization. In no time, post-remonetization, the government imposed the GST tax that further curtailed retail sales. “The markets have crashed greatly after the imposition of GST. This has again caused a dramatic shift in the buying trends where people are now looking out for more functional garments for their children, instead of the trend-oriented variation. But if we look at it more positively, the move has been imposed to clean the industry of any unorganized trends and shift to a more corporatized sector,” adds Pratik Shah.
At the current stage, the future of the apparel market is seemingly blurry, as nobody is able to predict the impact of such a great shift. But, on the up side, the government aids in creating an environment that is more promising for upcoming retailers and manufacturers alike.
Written by: Heer Kothari