Babywear or kidswear in the age group of 0 to 3 years has
undergone a tremendous change, receiving a great impetus as a style statement
by parents all over the world, making the suppliers to shift their focus to
this segment of the apparel industry.
apparel industry contributes nearly 8% of Indias total exports. It is the
worlds second largest producer of textiles and garments, having a share of
3.3% of the world market. There was a drop in garment exports from India by 2.64 per cent to 10.64 billion dollars in 2009-10 compared to 10.93 billion
dollars in 2008-09. But the projected growth rate for 2011-2012 is expected to
be 20% in value terms. Kids wear segment captures nearly 15% of the total
garment exports in India. At a time, when the rest of the apparel industry was
reeling under the economic slowdown due to recessionary forces, the kids wear continued
to show an upward swing.
Reason for Growth
This sector is growing at the rate of 10 per cent per annum,
which makes it one of the fastest growing segments in apparel industry and
leaving room for huge untapped potential for organized players to grow in
future. The major international clients for Indias kids wear are from EU, UK,
France, Germany, Italy and Spain & Non-EU countries, US, Canada, Japan and
Australia, as their demand for high quality cotton garments is well catered by
the Indian manufacturers. The main manufacturing hubs in India for these garments are located in Tirupur, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi.
Babywear or the kids apparel market comprises of organized
and unorganized sector, with the latter constituting the bulk share in the
domestic market. However, it is the organized sector, which is exclusively
dominating the export market. There were few players in this segment till few
years ago, but many players have entered in fray with the growing demand in the
global market. The driving factors for this growth in demand has been seen
lately in the change in global trends, where childrens wear has become a major
shift of focus of international brands, who have introduced kids wear as their product
line extensions, such as Gap, Ralph Lauren, Armani, Gucci and Fendi. India has been a favourite destination for sourcing for all kinds of apparels by the
international buyers, preferably as it the second largest producer of cotton
yarn. Other drivers, that helped to boost the growth, can be seen in the
capabilities of the manufacturers to offer innovative designs, host of value
additions, highly integrated infrastructure, personalized quality control,
unbeatable prices, skilled workforce at reasonable wages, flexibility in
handling small orders, strong economy and robust domestic market.
The most popular among kids garments meant for the export
market includes unisex designs in rompers, jumpsuits, pajamas, night suits,
caps, while, dresses, skirts, blouses sell well for the girls range and pants
and shirts for boys in the age group of 0 to 24 months. Designs vary from plain
cuts to fashion style cuts, depending upon the requirement. Garments are being
offered for the low-end, midrange and the high-end segment, with export prices
varying from 0.50 USD to 10.0 USD. Popular garments such as rompers, jumpsuits,
night suits, frocks and dresses for the casual wear category are available in
the price slab of 1.0 to 3.5 USD, both in knits and woven fabric. They have
simple patterns and carry light value additions, while the formal wear falls in
the 4.0 to 10.0 USD price slab. New releases have more of mix n match of
fabric, frills, laces, ribbons, strings, patchwork, smocking, appliqu and
crochet work. Hand and machine embroidery, with sequin and Swarovski are used for
high end models. Raw edges, pockets, stitch detailing, metallic insertions in
boys garments are very popular, while strap shoulders tops/blouses and
dresses, multi-layered skirts and pumpkin shape bottom-line with embroidered
and curvy hemlines are the latest trends in girls wear.
Indian manufacturers/exporters are closely following the
global fashion trends through participation in international fairs/exhibitions,
fashion shows and through vigorous traveling and interaction with buyers
globally. Most of the bigger companies have hired international designers in India or abroad to promote their business.
These garments are being offered in a variety of fabrics
both for domestic and international markets, such as pure cotton, voile,
cambric, poplin, cambric, poplin, sheeting, lycra, corduroy, 100 percent
polyester, poly-chiffon and georgette etc. They are also using knit fabric like
Interlock, Single Jersey, Terry and 1 x 1 Rib. Both woven and knit fabrics are
available in solids, checks, stripes, prints, screen and rotary prints. Suppliers
are aware of eco-friendly needs and are using organic dyed trimmings also,
along with organic cotton fabric. They are non-allergic, skin friendly and
comfortable to wear. Organic natural dyes are being prepared from
various fruits, flowers and leaves to prevent the use of chemicals and
pesticides to make the garments skin friendly and also imparting medicinal
properties to fabrics. The color palettes for babywear include white, soft
pink, purple, lilac and blue, red and navy blue. The fabric choice, color and
design are based on seasonality, culture and environment, varying from country
to country. Since India offers very good quality cotton, international buyers
prefer 100 percent cotton for babywear mainly as it provides comfort and
softness to the child. Different types of washes, such as enzyme wash and bio
wash is provided as per the demand of the buyer.
Cotton apparels market was hit sharply due to the sharp
rise in prices of raw cotton during the end of 2009 and start of 2010, increasing
by about 35% to 40%, though it has stabilized now. As a result, the prices of
garments also increased by about 10% to 20% or more in some cases. The price
forecast for the next six months tends to increase by 5% to 10%, mainly due to
high inflation costs, increased fuel and raw material costs.
There has been an invigorated growth in the domestic market
as well as a consistent growth in the export market for Indias kids garment. Manufacturers/exporters attribute the growth factor to the wide scope of
designs arising from the variety of fabric choices, colors, patterns and
trimming options, which they offer to the buyers. But a major pointer to the
success of the Indian export is the strong emphasis laid by the manufacturers
on the advanced technology and improved infrastructure. Most of the companies
are equipped with fully automatic and semi automatic machines, CAD and
computerized embroidery machines, increasing the production capacity, improving
quality and reducing delivery lead time. Stringent Quality Control to check
anti pilling, shrinkage, metal detection and colour fastness have been taken by
the manufacturers to handle rejections and to achieve buyers satisfaction.
This has enabled them to maintain long term business relations.
Advantage India in baby-wear exporters
The export situation for garment industry in 2009 had improved
slightly but as the recession in US and Europe continued, it did not allow the market
to rebounce back. Hence, most of the manufacturers of kidswear as was the case
for other categories of the apparel industry, tried to reduce production
capacity, opt for smaller volumes and to lower the profit margin. In 2010, new
challenges are being faced by the manufacturer/exporter in terms of the Euro devaluation
and delay in payments from the EU countries.
Raw cotton prices and currency issues will be driving
development in the industry. Raw cotton trade in India has been facing problems
due to black market trading resulting in increase of yarn prices and garment
makers want this issue to be resolved. Some players had shifted their focus
from US in 2009 to Australia, Canada and new markets in Europe like Finland and Sweden (which consume a lot of organic cotton) because of the decreasing demand. Manufacturers
specializing in organic cotton have been able to capture a better share in the
market. Recently, there has been a slight shift of global buyers focus from China to India as their prices have seen a hike. This shift is likely to benefit the Indian
forecast of cotton production in India for 2010-2011 is expected to be 25.0
million bales, making a surge of 6% as compared to last year. This is going to
ease the erratic supply. Though the suppliers in India are in favour of strict
government regulation to discourage exports of the raw material in order to
help the finished clothing product, both for the domestic and export market. Inspired by global trends and
influenced by new lifestyles, sports and environmental issues, the Indian
players feel there is immense scope in the kidswear segment. More players are
entering the market, especially the top global markets. They are working on new
themes, styling ideas and patterns, involving value addition and artwork. Color
schemes play a pivotal role in the design imagination. Indian suppliers seem to
have an edge over the Chinese counterparts in high end models or fashion wear
at better pricing because of the skilled manual workmanship, involving hand
embellishments and embroideries.
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