Fast fashion is emerging as an important and growing category in the Indian retail sector. Consumers, on an average, are buying apparel eight to ten times a year now compared to a few years ago, when it was lesser than half a dozen times. This is making fast fashion more relevant as these retailers change their stock several times a year, and are thus, able to provide latest fashion merchandise all year around.
The capability of fast fashion brands to bring in latest trends to their stores is making them popular among the consumers. With shoppers – especially in the metros – becoming more sophisticated and savvy in their shopping choices and inclinations, they prefer brands that not only offer value for money but are also in line with the latest global fashion trends.
Malls are also embracing fast fashion retailers and have started to allocate prime spaces to them in their premises. Mall developers prefer fast fashion brands due to their higher productivity and also the footfalls they generate for the malls. Therefore, fast fashion brands are starting to become the anchor stores in shopping malls today. Recent examples include H&M in High Street Phoenix, Mumbai, and both Zara and H&M in Selectcity Walk, Delhi-NCR. Adjustments have been done in micro-location of the stores within the malls in order to accommodate the newer global brands.
Fast fashion retailers are quickly expanding their footprint in India in order to capitalise on this rising demand from consumers. As many Indians are travelling abroad, they are becoming familiar with foreign brands. This coupled with rising disposable incomes means that demand for foreign labels is also growing stronger.
As global fast fashion brands expand their footprint in the country, domestic brands are also expected to adapt their business models and stores in strategic locations to compete better with the former. International brands such as H&M, Forever21, Zara, have already entered India with much fanfare.
Domestic retail giant, Future Group, launched Cover Story – its fast fashion format – a few months ago. The player has crunched its turnaround time from design to store by 50 per cent and priced products competitively. Other domestic players may launch stores along similar lines too or enter this popular category. Some others will make fast fashion dominate their merchandise mix.
It is expected that the prominence of these retailers is going to increase further in India. Also, many more international retailers are expected to enter the market to tap in the growing opportunities and exploit the potential of India’s consumption story.
There are challenges for both domestic and international retailers, however, in getting quality retail space. As existing or upcoming quality retail development is limited in India, there is a growing competition among retailers to acquire prime space, especially in the successful malls.