Earlier, the winter wear market in India was absolutely necessity based. Over the years, rising aspirational lifestyle habits have been instrumental in intensifying the category. Today, the winter wear market is flourishing at an exponential growth and was pegged at Rs 17,011 crore in 2016. Amit Gugnani, Senior Vice President Fashion – Textiles & Apparel and Engineering, Technopak, elucidates the growth factors, sub-categories and recent innovations in this fashion segment.
The Indian sub-continent is known for its diversity, not just in terms of culture, but also in terms of weather and climatic conditions. The north of India witnesses considerable impact of the winter season from mid-November to mid-January. Though this period spans just about three months it provides a sizeable market opportunity for apparel brands and retailers.
The winterwear market in India was pegged at Rs17,011 crore in 2016. The market is expected to demonstrate a compound annual growth rate of 6 per cent to reach a size of Rs 29,422 crore by 2026. Currently, the unbranded segment commands a market share of nearly 70 per cent, with the branded segment trying to bridge the gap by innovating and offering new products.
The winterwear category can be further classified into men’s, women’s, boys’ and girls’ categories.
Men’s winterwear accounts for 50 per cent of market share of the Indian winterwear market and is followed in size by women’s (21 per cent), boys’ (15 per cent) and girls’ (14 per cent) categories.
Men’s Winterwear – The men’s winterwear market was estimated at Rs 8,439 crore in 2016 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5 per cent to reach a market size of Rs 13,746 crore by 2026. The key products in the men’s winterwear segment are jackets, sweaters, pullovers, cardigans, sweat shirts, mufflers, thermals, blazers and suits.
Women’s Winterwear – The women’s winterwear market was worth Rs 3,661 crore and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5 per cent for next ten years to reach the market of Rs 5,963 crore by 2026. Women’s winterwear in tandem with other women’s apparel categories is witnessing growth due to the increased women workforce and their tendency to spend more and frequent purchases. Women’s winterwear are usually more fashionable with a wider range of designs, feels and embellishments. The major winterwear products in this segment are sweaters, cardigans, pullovers, stoles and shawls, thermal innerwear, track suits, tunics, etc.
The kidswear segment in India is gaining traction in the overall apparel market. Many national and international brands are finding kidswear a lucrative segment and have started catering it, thereby making it grow rapidly. Kid’s winterwear too is leveraging the benefit of the drive and is witnessing a shift towards organised retail.
Boy’s Winterwear – The boys’ winterwear market was estimated to be worth Rs 2,492 crore in 2016 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8 per cent to reach Rs 5,899 crore by 2026. The major categories in boys’ winterwear are sweaters, jackets, blazers, thermal innerwear, sweat shirts, etc.
Girl’s Winterwear – The girl’s winterwear category was estimated to be worth Rs 2,419 crore in 2016 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6 per cent to reach Rs 4,759 crore by 2026. The key products in girls’ winterwear are cardigans, scarves, jackets, knee length, thermal innerwear, tunics etc.
Growth Drivers of Winterwear
Despite these and several more challenges, winterwear can attribute its growth to the following growth drivers:
Lifestyle Positioning – Gone are the days when winterwear consisted only of categories like basic sweaters, shawls, cardigans or trousers only. Today, the increasing fashion awareness and rising disposable incomes have resulted in increased demand of trendy and colourful apparel to meet the season’s requirements as well as address the fashion needs of the consumers.
From jackets to suits, sweaters to thermals, the wide collection on offer by both upscale brand stores and unbranded small retailers are trying their best to attract more customers. However, since this category is seasonal, brands need to invest in heavy marketing and supply chain management strategies to churn out maximum profit during winter season.
Product Innovation- Many new winterwear categories have emerged due to the mentioned changing climatic pattern. Reduced winters have lead in the emergence of semi-thermal or pre-winter categories. Millennials are ready to experiment, and to cater this segment retailers are providing them ample options in terms of sweat shirts, poncho, Indo-western tunics, etc.
The product portfolios of brands and retailers now include a whole range of products such as mufflers, warm caps, hats and footwear complimenting the main products like sweaters, jackets and pullovers to capture higher share of consumer’s wallet.
Over the last few years, major innerwear brands have expanded their product portfolios to include thermal innerwear and warm comfort wear for every segment of the market.
Increased Fashion Awareness – With increased internet penetration and exposure to media, millennials are aware about the changing fashion trends in the international market resulting in increased demand for a variety of products in apparel categories. This is applicable to winterwear segment also.
Factors such as fashion awareness, rapid urbanisation, higher disposable income and rising aspirational lifestyles have resulted in more want-based purchasing of fashionable products in every season.
Indian winterwear market is attracting a lot of international and domestic brands owing to these growth drivers. In case of winterwear, brands have a significant market opportunity as the margins are higher in comparison to other product categories. Despite such promising growth, the seasonality of sales, lack of skilled labour, availability of cheap imported products, huge unorganised market and changing climatic pattern have become major challenges for the retailers.
Thus, it becomes prudent for the retailers incorporate strategic planning and innovation along with the fashionable products, competitive pricing, aggressive marketing, etc., to cater to their target customers and capture maximum market share in the winterwear market category.