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The Wintewear Market in India

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The winterwear category is estimated at Rs.13,920 crore (as of 2013) and is expected register growth at 9 percent to reach Rs. 32,000 crore by 2023. , SVP – Fashion (Textile & Apparel) and Kanti Prakash Brahma, Principal Consultant – Fashion, share more insights on the winterwear market.

The Textile & Apparel (T&A) market in India is estimated at US$ 99 billion and is  expected to be worth US$ 237 billion by 2023 corresponding to a CAGR of 9 percent. India’s T&A exports stood at US$ 40 billion, making it the second largest T&A exporter after China.

India’s domestic T&A market is estimated at US$ 59 billion with a 31 percent and a 69 percent share made up by textiles and apparels respectively. The market is expected to witness high growth thanks to demand catalysts like rising income levels, increasing urbanisation, and growth in purchasing power. It is estimated that the domestic T&A market will be worth US$ 142 billion by 2023 thanks to growth at 9 percent, with textiles and apparels expected to contribute US$ 101 billion and US$ 40 billion respectively.

The Indian apparel industry is segmented into four major categories, viz. menswear, womenswear, boyswear and girlswear. At present, menswear makes up the largest chunk of the apparel market with a 43 percent share and is closely followed by womenswear, with 37 percent, and menswear and girlswear, with 10 percent each.

It is expected that the womenswear category will catch up with menswear by 2023 in terms of size. With increasing globalisation, industrialisation and spending power, there has been a continuous change in lifestyle which has led to the consumers developing a taste for seasonal clothing and occasional dresses. The winterwear category, one of these seasonal categories, is estimated at Rs. 13,920 crore (as of 2013) and is expected register growth at 9 percent to reach Rs. 32,000 crore by 2023.

The Indian winterwear market is also clearly segmented as branded and unbranded with the unbranded segment commanding a 70 percent share of the market. Players in the branded segment are trying hard to claim a greater share by innovating and offering new product ranges.

WINTERWEAR SEGMENT: SUBCATEGORIES

Men’s winterwear

The men’s winterwear market is estimated at Rs. 7,020 crore in 2013 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8 percent to reach Rs. 15,150 crore in 2023. The major products in this category are shawls, mufflers, men’s suits, jackets, sweatshirts, blazers and sweaters.

Women’s winterwear

The women’s winterwear market, estimated at Rs. 3,060 crore, in 2013, is expected to grow at 8 percent to reach Rs. 6,600 crore by 2023. The major products in this segment are cardigans, sweaters, knee length woolen tunics, felt coats, colorful scarves and
woolen leggings.

Boys’ winterwear

The boys’ winterwear market is estimated at Rs. 1,960 crore in 2013 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10 percent to reach Rs. 5,080 crore in 2023. Major products which comprise this segment are sweater, jackets, woolen caps, and blazers (school uniforms).

Girls’ winterwear

The girls’ winterwear market is estimated at Rs. 1,930 crore in 2013 and is expected to grow at 10 percent to reach Rs. 5,000 crore in 2023. Major products which comprise this segment are knee length woolen tunics, sweaters, cardigans, colorful scarves, woolen leggings, sweaters and blazers (school uniforms).

KEY INSIGHTS

Recognition of winterwear as a segment

Earlier, there was no dedicated segment called winterwear but, due to globalisation, urbanisation, awareness, change in lifestyles, rising incomes, spending power and the need for seasonal clothing, brands have now added winterwear as a separate category within their portfolios.

Purchasing trend

The sales of winterwear are generally higher in the four winter month of October to January during which time there are many festivals and weddings as well. Thus, there are holidays which contribute to more shopping and more sales.

Consequently, most brands provide maximum discounts in this period, viz. Diwali shopping, Christmas, New Year discounts and end-of-season-sale in January-February. Most brands equal their sales in the other eight months, summer or general sale, in these four months.

With consumers now being more brand-conscious, they prefer to buy branded winterwear during the end-of-seasonsales, at heavy discounts. Also, as the demand depends on the duration of the season, brands therefore prefer to clear out the season’s stock at some profit. Branded segment players usually try to launch new product lines for the next season in order to attract new consumers who currently purchase non-branded winterwear.

Changes in product design

In the past, winterwear was synonymous with sweaters, shawls, basic cardigans or terry wool trousers only. Now, however, there are more varied product lines within this segment like jackets, blazers, knee length tunics, woolen leggings, mufflers, and woolen caps. Players in the nonbranded segment are procuring new, innovative and cheaper products like head and ear bands through grey imports coming from China and Thailand which always attract consumers and thus are making it difficult for brands to penetrate the market.

Winterwear price points

Winterwear generally commands higher prices as compared to other categories due to the intricacies of design and the usage of wool fibers. The winterwear market is majorly dominated by the unbranded segment due to their lower prices and wider range of products. If brands want to heighten their share they need to be innovative and work on a unique product line which can be offered at a competitive price point.

Types of fiber blends used in winterwear

It can be observed that 100 percent wool is used exclusively by premium brands to create a niche market at a premium price. Generally, winterwear features wool and cotton blends.

Brands also employ wool, cotton, and acrylic blends for suits, while cotton or wool blends are used for lightweight sweaters and women’s underwear. A polyester or cotton blend is used in making sweat suits, which are also made of a cotton or acrylic mix.

According to one study, a jute-cotton 50:50 blend is appropriate for knitting, provides warmth, and can be used for making t-shirts. It may be a possible solution towards overcoming the shortage of major natural fibers like cotton and wool.

Thermal wear adding volume to winterwear

Seeing the potential in the winterwear category, innerwear companies have also launched thermals with in this segment being VIP, Rupa, Neva, Jockey, and Lux. A large share of this market is catered to by the unorganised segment, as a result of which organised players are developing new products by focusing more on such specifications as heat retention, feel, size, and design to attract more consumers.

Conclusion

The winterwear market is growing in tandem with the changing lifestyles, the rise in income levels, rapid globalisation, widespread urbanisation, and the need for more fashionable products in every season and for every occasion. The winterwear market is estimated to reach Rs. 32,000 crore in 2023 and is therefore attracting the major Indian and international brands.

There is a huge opportunity for brands which do not have their own winterwear label and want to enter this category given the higher margins compared to other product categories, a consequence of the intricacies of design in winterwear  products. Alongside the opportunities in this segment, there are always such challenges as seasonality of sales, requirement of a high skillset, growing competition from already established brands, and price based competition from the unorganised sector.

Winterwear is a seasonal article of clothing and every year this category’s sales depend on the duration of the winter which is unpredictable. Therefore, most brands have to work on their marketing and production strategy in order to avoid inventory issues. To foray into the winterwear category one needs good infrastructure, economies of scale, and a good access to distributors and suppliers.

Then there is stiff competition among brands in terms of catering a higher share than others; their focus is thus more on innovative and fashionable products. Also, there is competition, in terms of price, from the unorganised sector to counter which brands have to work on a mid-premium product line. Brands therefore have to work on their strategies in order to meet these challenges and gain an edge over other competitors and capture a greater market share within this burgeoning segment.