Executive Summary

Apparel manufacturers, brands, retailers are dealing with a number of issues – how to operate stores profitably (or take the hard decision to shut down some stores), how to manage piled-up inventory, human resources, and most importantly, how to bring back the shopper. At least seventy per cent of households in the country have suffered job losses and salary cuts, and consumers are in no mood to splurge on fashion and apparel in the near future.

In this scenario, understanding the young Indian middle-class consumer’s needs and preferences will help the industry in building the right strategies. India is slated to become one of the largest apparel markets in the world by 2025. Who better to understand and serve this market than the Indian apparel manufacturer, Indian brand and Indian retailer.

ReJig Micro Market Analysis has tried to put in perspective the young Indian middle class consumer’s retail preferences, pre-lockdown; and the sudden change in a scenario today. This will give some insight to retailers and brands about what they can expect as the lockdown and Covid-19 blues wash away.

Takeaways

  • Middle and upper-middle-income families do some serious shopping once a quarter, buying around 6-8 pieces of apparel for the entire family.
  • Retail therapy was quite limited before the lockdown and will be more so over the next few months.
  • Buying for the partner is not very high on the agenda for a shopper anymore, due to easy access to online shopping.
  • Retailers and brands would do well to better understand the kidswear market.
  • The Indian consumer is known to be price-conscious. This translates to more opportunities for manufacturers and retailers of synthetic apparels across categories.
  • Cotton is the fibre of choice. The preference is more for natural fibres, India being a tropical country.
  • Viscose, due to its fibre attributes is emerging as a popular choice.
  • Indian synthetic textile manufacturers have an immense opportunity here to develop the necessary fibre attributes, to take the Indian consumption share of synthetics to the world average.
  • Retailers will need to assure shoppers that they are following all possible safety protocols.
  • Retailers will have to innovate in this regard:
    • Allow shoppers by appointment only (this could probably also result in not offering very steep discounts on current inventories);
    • Follow reduced operating hours and weekly offs, (as is the case in many countries worldwide) to cut costs, and create a better work-life balance for shopfloor workers, at least till the festive season when some shoppers will come back;
    • Try to influence fashion trends in a way that inventories can be used in the following seasons rather than having unsold stocks.

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