INSIDE STORY AN ANALYSIS OF INDIA'S INNERWEAR MARKET
Business Of Fashion|August 2021
The market segment is evolving and is gradually moving towards organised retail. Indian consumers spend on innerwear products is significantly lower than other Asian peers, but currently with the emergence of new players, more and more consumers are building the habit of purchasing branded products.
Sandeep Kumar

For Innerwear as a category, it won’t be wrong to say that urban India aspires to wear global brands and trends, whereas rural India wants to wear what urban India wears. Innerwear is today evolving into ‘casuals at home’ or ‘at-home smart clothing’. The industry continues to emerge as one of fastest growing categories over the last few decades. A category which was earlier depicted as a mere essential has in the last few years transformed itself and is becoming one of the trendsetters in the industry, as it provides style, comfort, fashion statement and nuance of glamor for one and all.

The Indian innerwear market currently estimated to be worth ₹32,000 crore accounts for ~9 percent of the total domestic fashion retail market. The market is totally dominated by the international brands in India or the associated ones. The domestic innerwear market of India, comprising Amul, Lux, Rupa, Dollar are still the giant leaders but their presence is more in the Tier III & IV cities. However, these brands’ association with the popular foreign brands is keeping them in race with the other market leaders and trends.

The women’s innerwear segment dominates the market, accounting 64 percent of the total innerwear market and 16 percent of the total women apparel market. Despite the presence and demand for the international brands, even the domestic brand in this women category has a very stiff competition. The category consisting of brassieres, camisoles, panties, tees, nighties and shorts has so many players involved in it. Indian brands like Amante, Enamor, Triumph, Zivame and Clovia have huge market presence and are the preferable choice of most working women, teens and housewives.

Brassieres and panties contribute 85 percent of the total women’s innerwear segment. Branded innerwear in the women’s segment contributes 38-42 percent of the total women’s innerwear market and is expected to increase to 45-48 percent of the total market by 2023. Women’s innerwear segment is poised to grow at an impressive growth rate of 12.5 percent over the next decade to reach 68,000 crores by 2028.

On the other hand, the men’s innerwear market is currently valued around ₹11,000 crore and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7 percent over the next decade to reach ₹21,800 crore by 2028. It contributes 7 per cent of the total men’s apparel market.

The market has historically been highly fragmented and unorganised. Even today it is dominated by numerous small-scale players that cater to ~6065 percent of the total demand. The reason behind this huge gap between men and women category is the buying behaviour. For men, purchasing innerwear is sort of a blind purchase. They just pick the product by the size and even brand is the second priority, forget about the color, texture, elasticity and other things.

However, the market segment is evolving and is gradually moving towards organised retail. Indian consumers spend on innerwear products is significantly lower than other Asian peers, but currently with the emergence of new players, more and more consumers are building the habbit of purchasing branded products.

Industry Growth

Despite the pandemic and setbacks, the industry has seen growth in both women’s and men’s innerwear categories in the past few financial cycles. Neha Kant, Founder & Director, Clovia explains, “We have witnessed great inclination in case of innerwear sales in the last few months due to the prevailing work from home scenario. Increasing awareness about health, best fit, and personal hygiene coupled with the growing millennial population are some other factors that have led to the rapid growth for the industry. In the latest Union Budget, the government has announced about seven mega textile parks to be launched in three years, to enable the textile industry to attract large investments, boost employment generation, and become globally competitive, which will boost the industry further.”

According to Yogesh Kabra, Founder & CEO, XYXX Apparels Pvt Ltd (XYXX) the potential of the sector is immense. “In 2014, this segment of the market in India was worth ₹19,950 crore and is estimated to grow at 13 per cent to reach ₹68,270 crore by 2024. Lifestyle aspirations, strong economic tailwinds and significant investments in category growth will propel the sector further. We saw a steady growth in innerwear sales on online portals and our website during the lockdown largely driven by marginal rise in demand and lack of availability in supply. Even post the markets opening, demand has only marginally dropped but is much higher than pre lockdown levels. We expect innerwear to contribute 70 per cent to revenue in FY22. Pre lockdown, we had a 55-45 share of online v/s offline revenue which has changed to 70:30 split in recent months, and we expect to close the year at around 65:35 online/offline split,” he says.

Khatija Lokhandwala, Head of Marketing, Zivame adds, “Lingerie has always been the ‘unmentionable’ category. Gone are the days when the purchase was done in hushed tones with a sense of embarrassment, today it is all about fashion statements and dialogue today.

Women are no longer shy in expressing their opinions on a category that forms an essential part of their wardrobe and are seeking to discover, explore and experiment with their looks. The meaning of lingerie is changing from being an imposition to being a true enabler of personal style and body flair and Zivame has played a pivotal role as a catalyst in growing the category and shifting perceptions. Zivame has consistently identified changing consumer trends and quickly adapted its business model to stay relevant in the category. We initially identified the consumer need for a shopping platform that allows privacy and ease of shopping in a sensitive category.”

“Zivame then identified that the problem did not lie just in the purchase channel but also in lack of availability of the right products for the Indian body profile. The company thus adapted and metamorphosed itself into a brand which took a cue from evolving consumer needs and developed products to deliver on the right fit and comfort for the Indian body profile,” she adds further.

“For men’s apparel industry in preCOVID times, the average growth was 12-13 per cent CAGR. The digital native online consumer ignited this revolution seeking distinct and innovative products, fabrics and sought out brands like ours which challenged the norm. So, while the innerwear segment for online platforms grew 2.5X pre-Covid, and our brand growth was 6X. Innerwear being an essential service continued its distribution and growth trajectory, and as consumers warmed up to the new work from home regime, the innerwear segment, especially boxers which bring comfort, functionality and style together, have become a staple attire,” says Anurag Saboo, Co-founder, DaMENSCH.

Harshit Vij, Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer, FREECULTR explains, “The growth in this category has been exponential, and there have been significant changes happening on all fronts. The market has a good share in this sector. It is growing at an average CAGR of ~25 per cent year on year. We have seen decent growth in these segments as consumer preference has shifted to essentials and comfortable clothing rather than fashion driven clothing post-pandemic. The primary reason for this growth is that people are willing to invest in quality products that solve their problems.”

FABRIC PLAYS THE KEY ROLE: FUNCTIONALITY & COMFORT

Cotton

When it comes to the preferred fabric for innerwear, cotton fabric holds the largest market share.

For Clovia, fabric,the properties of cotton is the USP as it is used in making the product soft, lightweight, and more breathable.

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