There are about 60 regional and national trouser brands vying for the number one space in the market. The trouser market in india is growing annually at around 30–35 percent; it is expected to grow at a cagr of 8 percent, from Rs 23,290 crore in 2013 to Rs 50,730 crore in 2023. Amit Gugnani, Sr. Vice president, Fashion – Textile & apparel and Kanti Prakash Brahma, Principal consultant, fashion at technopak shed More light on the growth drivers, the challenges and Opportunities this market throws.
The trouser market has evolved significantly over the past few years due to the change in consumers’ dressing preferences, both in India and across the world. This market has registered outstanding growth largely due to growth in income levels, changes in lifestyle, and the entry of foreign brands, which has led to many options for the consumer to choose from. The trouser market is also among the fastest growing segments and has registered more rapid growth in the clothing business since the advent of polyester or viscose blends.
India’s domestic apparel market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9 percent. This growth will be driven by an increase in both the per capita consumption of and the average spends on apparel. Currently, menswear is the biggest segment within the apparel market and is estimated to increase at a CAGR of 9 percent to reach US$ 39.6 billion by 2023. Shirts, trousers, denim, etc. largely dominate this segment but there are also categories like winterwear, innerwear, T-shirts, suits, etc. Of these sub-segments, the trouser market is growing at a stupendous pace.
The branded trouser market is growing annually at around 30–35 percent and there are about 60 regional and national brands competing. This market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8 percent, from Rs. 23,290 crore in 2013 to Rs. 50,730 crore in 2023. Of this, the men’s trouser market is expected to increase from Rs. 22,230 crore to Rs. 47,990 crore at a CAGR of 8 percent, while the women’s trouser market is expected to rise to Rs. 2,740 from Rs. 1,060 crore, at a CAGR of 10 percent.
Until recently, the trouser market was dominated by local tailors; given the diversity in height and girth, Indian men opted for custom-stitched trousers primarily for their fit and, needless to say, their price and wearablity. Now, however, there has been a marked shift in trends as younger consumers seek alternatives for trials and dull, tailored looks. Organised players have an important role in converting consumers from preferring tailor-made to readymade trousers by giving a plethora of options in terms of fits and colours. As a result, basic colours like black, brown and grey are replaced by vibrant ones making the look appear young and trendy.
Also, technology has made it possible for players to offer a variety of feels and appearances. Blended fabrics, for instance, lend the comfort of cotton while retaining their uber cool appearance. Again, with there being wider price diversity, with men’s trousers available at low, economy, medium, premium and super-premium price-points, the segment offers options for all customers.
Trousers for Women
In India, most brands and retailers that used to focus on menswear have now shifted their attention to promote womenswear as well, including women’s trousers. Consequently, many discount schemes and loyalty programmes are being introduced to tempt women into experimenting with trousers. At present, a bulk of the women’s trouser market is concentrated in the metros and larger cities. However, in the years to come, the category is expected to register deeper penetration into Tier-I and -II cities as well.
Contemporary ethnicwear, which is a combination of westernwear with Indian ethnicwear garments like salwar-kameez, does pose stiff competition to women’s formal trousers due to its growing popularity with Indian women.
Challenges & Opportunities
Despite the number of rapidly flourishing brands, the penetration of the readymade segment is as yet on the lower side. It is estimated that garment makers are only able to drape a small percentage of Indian men. In other words, a large number of men who wear trousers still head to their tailor. The major reason for this is price, given that the average consumer can buy fabric for Rs. 500, pay the tailor around Rs. 200 for stitching and thus have the end product at Rs. 700, which is far cheaper than what is available in the readymade market.
Some private labels have modified their pricing strategy and are offering trousers in the price range of Rs. 260–1,000. The major organised players are trying to capture the market with ‘efficient sourcing, low overheads and, above all, volumes. The trouser market has demonstrated a gradual increase in size and trousers made from blended and manmade fabrics are more in demand compared to cotton fabrics, as they are easy to wash, dry quickly, resist wrinkles, and are also resistant to moths and mildew.
The potential for expansion is far better now as the consumption of trousers in rural India is increasing manifold and many garment retailers are targeting rural India. Bespoke tailoring, which makes use of high-end suit-making techniques, is getting more acclaim as it allows for a higher degree of customisation and involves the end-user in the production process. Not surprisingly, many large players and brands are heading towards capturing this segment.
At the same time, innovative designs and colour combinations will continue to attract fashion-conscious consumers towards considering casual trousers as an alternative to denim jeans. The women’s trouser market is also expected to witness a surge in demand due to the increasing participation of women in the workforce. Also expected are new trends in terms of fabric design, finish application and the introduction of wider colour choices and fitting. The market holds much promise for brands and retailers provided they are able to address the growing demands and ever-changing fashion requirements of customers of both formal and casual trousers.