“Consumers of India have become more fashion oriented, more willing to experiment with their looks and spending on fashion products is no longer considered frivolous by most people in the upper-mid and mid segments. This can be clearly backed by the fact that menswear market has grown by 11% CAGR and mid-segment by 16% CAGR, compared to an 8.5% growth rate in other segments”, says the CEO of an up-and-coming home-grown causalwear brand - Blumerq.
Mr. Joseph Muthaiyan may not be far off the mark. Mr Harminder Sahni, MD of consultancy firm Wazir Advisors valued the Indian apparel market at USD 40 billion in 2012. He projected it to grow at a CAGR of 13% and estimated it to reach USD 124 billion by 2020 in a presentation at the CITI hosted ‘Indian Textile Summit’ held in Mumbai.
Blumerq set up just a little more than two years ago by Tirupur-based Blue Mercury Apparels (P) Ltd, has now 314 retail points including exclusive outlets nationwide. It recently announced plans for doubling growth with an additional 270 retail points across India. It sells shirts, tees, polos, chinos, denims and shorts under the brand.
When asked on how Indian brands are competing with foreign brands, Mr Muthaiyan told fibre2fashion, “Global players/MNCs are mostly into premium segment whereas domestic brands are emerging as strong players in upper-mid and mid segment. Domestic brands have seen a huge growth opportunity in the Indian market, especially Tier 1 and 2 cities. This rise and growth can be credited to the cost sensitive psyche of consumers in India”.
He added, “Manufacturers are thinking and devising ‘Out-of-the-Box’ solutions and in the process coming up with innovative and cost effective ways of production to meet the needs of the emerging market trends and at the same time maintaining a healthy margin for themselves”.
When asked to names challenges faced by apparel brands, he said, “Men are moving out of old impressions and are becoming more fashion conscious, hence we need to be more aligned with international trends. Also, striking a balance between the increasing raw material cost and competitive product pricing is a challenge. In the segments we cater too, consumers are catered to by local players and not domestic brands, which is what Blumerq is targeting to break”.
Speaking about the acceptance & market for Indian brands in India, he reveals, “Acceptance of Indian brands is still low, but has seen steady growth in the last couple of years. Domestic brands have understood the key requirements of the market, which is essentially delivering global standard products and quality, at competitive price. This understanding has led to a better acceptance, especially with youth, and is steadily growing with the other age segments as well”.