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PrettySecrets (MTC Ecom Pvt Ltd.), headquartered in Mumbai, is one of the fastest growing lingerie brands in India. PrettySecrets started out as a women's sleepwear brand almost eleven years ago with its presence in major departmental stores such as Shoppers Stop, Pantaloons, Globus and Central. From its advent as a solitary category, the brand diversified its range in 2012 through e-tailing on PrettySecrets.com. The brand today offers over 1,200 products in the category of lingerie, night wear, swim wear and active wear.CEO Karan Behal talks to Fibre2Fashion about the high growth rate of lingerie compared to apparel.
Brief us about your journey this far.
We started PrettySecrets in 2011 as a nightwear brand that was predominantly sold at multi-brand outlets in India. Soon, we realised the opportunity and potential of the e-commerce space and hence went on to launch PrettySecrets.com in 2012 with a simple thought: Let's give Indian women cool, comfortable, quality lingerie and nightwear at pocket-friendly prices. We were always driven by prints and pop of colours and wanted our products to be different from others. What started with bras, panties and nightwear stocked in multi-brand outlets (MBOs) soon transformed itself into a business as India's fastest growing online lingerie brand spreading across PrettySecrets.com to the biggest online marketplaces in the country. We went on to the offline distribution of PrettySecrets via trade lingerie stores in 2014 and finally opened our own exclusive brand outlets (EBOs) in April 2017. It's been only 10 months and we have 20 EBOs across 10 states in the country.
Which category in lingerie sells the most in India?
Premium and luxury segment have seen growth in the past five years due to higher disposable income among Indian consumers. The mass segment has had a similar growth as compared to apparel. In fact, lingerie has a higher growth rate (compound annual growth rate or CAGR of 13.2 per cent) as compared to apparel (10.8 per cent). Premium lingerie in India has a CAGR of 27 per cent, the luxury range has 36 per cent, the low variety has 9.8 per cent, the economy segment 13.3 per cent, and the medium range has a CAGR of 17.3 per cent.
With smart wear coming in, what change can be expected in intimate wear?
There has been an increasing trend of more seamless lingerie.
Luxury lingerie is not affordable for many. What is your opinion about the global luxury lingerie market?
The global luxury market is more or less stagnant because lingerie markets outside India are more evolved, hence they are growing at a steady growth of 4-5 per cent versus India, where lingerie is still at its nascent stage and luxury lingerie is extremely nascent in the overall lingerie market. Hence, it will take at least 10-15 years to get to that level.
How is marketing for lingerie different from that for other segments?
Marketing for lingerie in India is still considered hush-hush and more like surrogate advertising as compared to FMCG or automobile marketing. The mass Indian consumer is not mature enough for brands to be bold in their marketing and more so branding. There is a massive focus on fit and comfort when it comes to communication with the audience.
What has been the transformation in the lingerie market in recent years?
People in India are now more informed about lingerie as it is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Women are now more conscious of wearing the right size and fit, of experimenting with new styles and fabrics. People are moving away from the mundane basic black and white bra to more colours, styles and prints.
What are the major opportunities and challenges faced by leading lingerie retailers across the globe?
Brand loyalty. The economic slowdown that reduces the purchasing power and price of raw material has always been a concern to ensure that product pricing is competitive from mass standpoint. Technical expertise to perfectly engineered lingerie is a huge concern everywhere.
What are the emerging trends in the categories of intimate wear, nightwear, and activewear in terms of fabrics, styles, colours and prints?
Lingerie: Punch of classic colours with contrast trims, memory foam cups, sustainable, eco-friendly Euro jersey fabrics, balconettes, plunging necklines, cage bras, front opens.
Nightwear: Silk blends, super soft brushed cotton, bamboo fibre based fabrics - modal & viscose. Colours include pastels to bright ones, fun element prints and text prints.
Activewear: Lightweight, non-shrinkable, quick dry, high-resistance and moisture wicking; polyester fibre remains a classic universal trend; Styles include high waist bottoms, panel bottoms, front zipper two-layer sports bras, tank tops with in-built cups, edge cutting technology; Preferred colours are bright ones with a combination of the classic blacks, cobalt and indigos for women.
How have you grown in recent years?
We have seen a 103 per cent annual growth.
Which product categories are faring well at PrettySecrets?
Bras, nightwear and swimwear.
What do consumers consider while buying intimate clothing?
Hygiene, fit and comfort are the key factors. But women today are also seen giving a very important consideration to style. Value for money is the key indicator of fit and comfort for masses.
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