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The Indian denim wear market from 2017 to 2027

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With Government’s efforts to boost cashless transactions and reform indirect taxation with the nationawide unified tax structure GST, corporatized retail is all set to accelerate at a phenomenal rate. The youth driven denim market promises unmatched value as well as volume growth in the overall Indian apparel market. Amit Gugnani, Senior Vice President- Fashion and Saima Nigar, Associate Consultant- Fashion and Textile Division, Technopak, size the market and delve into its dynamics as a whole.
The Indian fashion retail market is continuously evolving and is expected to perform at a high Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.7 per cent to reach US $115.14 billion by 2026, up from the current market size of US $45.71 billion. Domestic fashion retail has been demonstrating high receptivity towards corporatisation. The Government’s efforts to boost cashless transactions and reform indirect taxation with a nationwide unified tax structure, Goods and Services Tax (GST) are also expected to accelerate corporatized retail. At the same time, the Indian apparel market is also witnessing a growing inclination towards western and casual wear. Denim is among the highest growth categories in the Indian apparel market.
Denim Market Size and Growth
The market size of Indian Denim Wear was estimated to be Rs 20,205 crore in 2016. The market is now projected to grow at a CAGR of 14.5 per cent and reach Rs 39,651 crore by 2021, and Rs 77,999 crore market by 2026. The men’s denim segment comprises 84 per cent of the market while the women’s denim segment and kids’ denim segment comprise 10 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.
Men’s Denim Segment: Men’s denim enjoy the largest share and are poised to grow at a high CAGR of 14 per cent over the next decade. Until a few years ago, denim was popular with men in the urban cities only, however, it has now gradually become popular in the semi-urban and rural markets also. Growing awareness and an increasing affinity for global fashion have led to this development. Denim is considered the most versatile fabric for men with multiple applications over casual wear, work wear and everyday wear.
Women’s Denim Segment: Among Indian women, jeans or denim trousers are the most popular articles. Women across different age brackets and spanning all shapes and sizes like to wear denim as it is comfortable, functional and durable. Denim is also gaining popularity in athleisure form among women owing to the comfort provided by stretch denims. Women who are not at ease with western wear have taken up wearing jeans by pairing them with Indian ethnic wear like kurtis. This mix and match style is gradually picking up, particularly among women in small towns and those who come from a traditional background and is likely to further fuel the growth of the segment.
The fashion and fit element which is an inherently necessity in women’s apparel has been taken care of through the introduction of flexible/ stretch fabric for different applications.
This segment is expected to grow the fastest at the CAGR of 17.5 per cent.
Kids’ Denim Segment: This is the smallest segment in the domestic market, but is expected to grow at a high rate primarily due to the availability of the products led by the innovations in the industry for natural, hygienic and flexible fabrics.
Increasing Denim Affinity
The denim segment has always been one of the leading segments in the apparel industry. The blue denim has remained a wardrobe essential for decades. Due to its increasing popularity in India, denim wear is now also witnessing huge demand among masses. There are certain key attributes which are making the future of denim wear industry promising:
Durability: This is one of the major reasons which make it popular among masses. Denim wear is considered durable as it is made up of a sturdy cotton twill textile. It is woven in a manner that it can be effortlessly worn in any condition.
Comfort: Conventionally, denim was made from 100 per cent cotton, but modern interventions have made varieties of denim available in the market. Today, denim blended with polyester is also popular as it manages shrinkage and crease. Stretchable jeans are also popular among masses as they provide comfort and a better fit.
Versatility and Convenience: Denim apparel are considered low maintenance, ready to wear clothes, which is another reason for their increasing acceptance. In addition, denim wear is available in different designs, stretch and colours which make it a preferable choice among consumers. Denim is finding ways into other components of the wardrobe in the form of dresses, joggers’ pants, jeggings, light weight denim shirts, denim shorts, accessories out of denim fabrics etc.
Availability: Denim wear is now much more easily available in the market, deeper across the country and across different market segments and varied price points as well. Thus, bringing it within the reach of different income groups.
Price Segmentation
The denim market can also be segmented based on its ‘premiumness’. There are therefore several clusters that cater to different targeted price points. The super-premium, premium, and mid-market segments together made up only 8 per cent of the total Indian denim market in the year 2016. The overall growth during the year mainly came from an increase in the ‘value’ of sales, which in turn was driven by consumers having higher disposable incomes. On the other side however, brands in the mass market and unbranded segments made up for a staggering 92 per cent of the total denim market in 2016. The key factors responsible for the growth for this part of the market was the huge ‘volume’ of sales coming from the increasing penetration of these brands into Tier -II and -III cities and the rising aspirations of consumers from smaller cities to follow the latest trends like their peers from metros.
Key trends and Growth Drivers
The Indian Denim wear market is currently dominated by unorganised players. However, with many private labels and international brands entering Indian apparel market, the inclination towards branded denims is increasing among consumers.
The future value growth within the denim category shall be because of the increased demand for enhanced product attributes: fashion, quotient, stretch and light weight fabric, varying colours, styling and detailing. This trend is emerging across both men’s and women’s segments. The above factors shall combine to drive relatively higher levels of growth of the mid-premium and premium/ luxury segments as well.
Recent trends have indicated increased penetration of denim category across semi-urban and rural centres which shall drive volume growth across mass market and unbranded segments.
Certain factors which are contributing as key growth drivers of denim wear in the country are enumerated below:
Youth as a growth driver: Youth (15 to 29 years old) who comprise 26 per cent of the consuming population, are a key growth driver of denim wear in the country. Increasing disposable income, comfort, quality and brand consciousness are major reasons behind increasing acceptance of denims among this young population.
Growth of the organised retail sector: The denim wear market is dominated by unbranded denim products who constitute 60 per cent of the market and thus tend to give intense competition to branded denim players. However, with many private labels and international brands entering the Indian apparel market, the inclination towards branded denim wear is increasing in consumers.
Online penetration of denim: Increased penetration of Internet coupled with burgeoning smart phone market has resulted in the growth of e-tailing in India. Due to ease of ordering online, paucity of time, flexible return policies and the cash on delivery, the youth of India is more likely to purchase denims online.
Increased rural spending: Rural areas are developing at a rapid pace and so is their purchasing power. With the percolation of mass media, people in rural areas are also aware of fashion trends. Their inclination towards western wear is another reason for the growing demand of denims in rural areas. The mid-value segment of denim wear, characterised by quality, value-for-money, and increasing styling quotient, is the preferred choice of people from rural areas.
Growing popularity of engineered/ distressed denim: The emergence of tattered denim has provided a perfect option for fashion conscious youth. The applications of distressed/ripped/tattered/patched denim are not restricted to bottom wear jeans but can be seen in jackets, shorts, skirts etc. These are emerging as one of the most stylish must haves for both men and women. This trend has been re-emerging in many new avatars every season.
New denim fabric washes: In denims, ‘wash’ refers to shade of the denim fabric. Jeans manufacturers are focused in achieving different hues of blue by washing the fabric in certain dyes, bleaches or other agents that affect the denim colour. Dark indigo, faded blue/vintage/aged, stone wash and distressed jeans are new denim fabric washes in trend these days.
Changing classification of consumer’s wardrobe: The change in classification of consumer’s wardrobe has acted asa growth driver for the casual wear and denim wear in India. Earlier, fashion was considered as a basic need to be purchased on the basis of the requirements. Consequently, the typical consumer wardrobe was limited to basic categories like shirts, trousers, winter jackets and sweaters, sarees and salwar kameez. The basic purchase parameters were limited to the basic functions of the cloth, comfort and price. However, with the changing socio-cultural values, increased per capita consumption, increasing exposure to international fashion trends and growing disposable income apparel market is slowly becoming more occasions specific. Consequently, fashion basket has expanded to include clothing like sports/gym wear, occasion specific ethnic wear, jeans etc.
The Indian denim wear market is expected to witness huge growth in the coming years. With the country’s ever-expanding economy, booming consumption, urbanisation, and growing middle class purchasing power; denim wear has a huge opportunity to grow. The increasing shift of the rural fashion market from ethnic wear to western wear is one of the key growth drivers of denim industry. The large youth population with rising disposable income and awareness towards fashion will act as a catalyst in the growth of denim wear in the country.
The denim market indeed holds much potential for brands and retailers, however to capitalise on this growth potential, retailers need to focus on factors such as pricing, quality, consumer preferences, key trends, innovations, etc. Retailers can also leverage the available growth opportunities in denims by expanding into online channels and Omnichannels of retailing.

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