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Denim Market in India


Consumers, especially the youth, in cities beyond the metros and mini metros are growing exceptionally aspirational. they are increasingly accepting denim as a core apparel category to be worn as an everyday casual garment. , SVP, Fashion (Textile & Apparel), share more insight on the denim market.


Denim is of the most promising category in India’s apparel market. In 2013, the denim market of India was worth `13,500 Cr. which accounts for 5 percent of the total apparel market of the country. The market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 15 percent to become `27,200 Cr. market in 2018.

The denim market in India is skewed towards men’s segments with 85 percent contribution coming from it. Women’s denim segment contributes 9 percent to the market and the kids segment the rest 6 percent. The women’s and kid’s denim segments are expected to witness higher growth rates due to their lower base and increasing focus of brands and retailers on those segments.


In general the western lifestyle and western fashion has accelerated the trend of casualisation across the globe. This trend has boosted the consumption of casual fashion apparel like denims, dress shirts, tees, casual shirts among both men and women consumers in all developing countries including India. The average number of denim  items owned by Indian consumer is much lower in comparison to consuming market of the United States, Europe etc. The number is even lower than countries like Brazil and China. This difference in the number demonstrates the huge potential that exists for denim in the domestic market.


The value share of denim market is skewed in favour of mega metros and metros which account for almost half of the total denim market at a share of 49 percent. Though the markets of other urban areas and rural India contribute high in volume terms, their combined share in market value is only 51 percent.

As the penetration of denim category and the awareness of denim quality increases in those cities and rural India, their share in market value will start increasing with more  number of consumers willing to pay premium for the quality, design and fit.


In India unbranded denim products dominate the market with around 60 percent share of the market. The share of brands in denim market stands at 40 percent. Most of the unbranded players operate on the lower price segment of the market where awareness of quality of fabric, fi nishing and washes, design and fi t are relatively low.

The emergence of semi-urban clusters, areas having less number of farming communities, across the country has opened a plethora of opportunities for regional brands and retailers. A typical denim consumer of the semi-urban cluster demonstrates a blend of the  characteristics of urban and rural consumers; like an urban consumer he or she shows awareness of brand and product quality and like a rural consumer pricing and affordability plays a crucial role in his or her purchase decisions. The regional brands have focusing to cater to these typical requirements of the semi-urban consumers. However presence of lots of unbranded players in such markets it a market of intense  competition to many national level brands.


Some of the key driving factors for the denim market in India are:

  • An aspiration youth (15-29 year olds) with higher spending power than previous generations, which make 26 percent of the consuming population
  • A wide range of consumer segment that consider denim as an apparel of choice owing to its comfort and style
  • Favoured preference for denim amongst youth owing to its versatile association
  • Increasing usage of denim products by women and youth in smaller cities and rural India


India has an integrated value chain for denim products starting from fi bre to retail. Denim is primarily produced from cotton and India is expected to overcome China as the single largest producer of cotton the world in 2014. The country is the second largest producer of cotton yarn. The denim fabric production capacity of India is more than 1,000 million meters per year, and India is still witnessing entrance of more denim fabric manufacturers in the industry.

Denim fabric production in India is concentrated in the western and northern parts of the country with more than 45 percent contribution coming from Gujarat alone where Ahmedabad is the production hub.

Denim apparel production in India remains a fragmented industry where only 20-30 percent of denim apparel is manufactured in the organised units. The denim apparel production activities are concentrated in Delhi and NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad.


The denim market in India has been evolving fast with introduction of more styles, colours and some distinct trends in the product offering.

Some of the key trends in denim market are:

  • In India most of the denim manufacturers focus on the domestic markets as the value realisation remains higher in domestic market than in export markets
  • In the recent times the industry has witnessed entrance of new fabric manufacturers which is expected to make the market for denim fabric more price competitive in the coming years
  • Cotton remains the fi bre of choice in denim apparel. In blended denim fabrics polyster is being used as weft threads
  • The demand for stretch denim is growing at a faster rate in India market due to its comfort and fi t characteristics
  • The colour of denim jeans is no longer limited to traditional blue colours. Indian youth has started accepting denim in different colours including green, red, yellow etc.


Though the denim category is among the most promising categories in apparel market of the country, it faces its own set of issue and challenges. The prudence in which various stakeholders of denim eco-system identify and address the issues and challenges  associated with the value chain will determine the growth of denim apparel market in the country. India at present lacks behind in its ability of the denim product development and innovation. There is a need to develop a larger portfolio of denim garments and accessories, including shorts, shirts, bags, dresses, accessories among others.

At present the market is skewed towards denim jeans. The weight (gsm) range of available denim fabric could be broadened to widen denim application. There is a lot of scope of improvement in right processing and value addition in denim through fashion-led processes and fi nishes. Establishment of high quality processing and could help to improve the quality and colours, this attracting more to try denim.


Development of a consumer centric denim value chain will create the avenues to unleash the great potential inherent in India’s denim market. However there is a dire need to start an industry-wide initiative to decode the mind-set of Indian consumers and their perception and receptivity of denim and to promote denim among the consumers. The increasing awareness of sustainable fashion provides additional opportunity to promote denim as a product of natural cotton fibre which is perceived as more eco-friendly than synthetics.

A two-prong strategy that in one hand addresses the needs of consumers encourages them to consume more of denim and on the other hand ensures to improve the existing gaps in supply chain shall make India’s denim market more dynamic and consumer centric with better opportunities and scopes for all elements involved in the eco-system.