India is a high-growth, fast-changing retail apparel market, with significant new growth opportunities for both foreign and domestic players. As a result of this, the Indian apparel industry is witnessing some specific trends.

1. Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Manufacturing

As the country is confronted with pollution issues, it has become imperative for textiles industries to adopt eco-friendly strategies. The industry is focusing on reducing water consumption and techniques to avoid usage of organic colours in apparel manufacturing.

Consumers are sensitive and are increasingly aware about environmental issues, resulting in growing inclination towards eco-friendly and organic apparels.

Brands/private labels have started catering to this market especially in babies, kidswear and premium adult wear categories segments.

2. Smart Garments

With technological penetration in everyone’s lives, garments too are witnessing some major up-gradation in technology. After smart phones, smart televisions, and smart watches, ‘smart shirts’ have emerged as a new trend in apparel industry. Companies are trying to woo the customers by providing smart shirts to the growing tech freak population of the country. Right now, the wearable technology market mainly consists of wearable devices such as fitness bands, smart watches etc. But, recently there has been a shift towards smart garments among premium and luxury customers.

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3. Smart Casuals

Corporate dressing these days is not restricted to strict formal wears in pastel colours and minimal designs but has gone under a transition. In women’s wear the concept of smart casuals has carefully replaced traditional formal wear such as sarees, western formals and salwar-kameez.

Increasing inclusion of smart casuals or semi-formals has resulted in acceptance of chinos and other relaxed trousers along with half sleeved shirts or t-shirts.

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4. Rise of Organised Retail

The Indian fashion retail industry is transforming rapidly and is seeing shift from unorganised to organised retail. The transformation is due to increase in income, increased penetration of branded wear in country and awareness of fashion trends among consumers.

Nowadays couture is not limited to just metros. Tier II and semi-urban cities have emerged as huge potential markets for these organised players. Penetration of organised retail chains has contributed to the growth of apparel market in these markets.

Market expansion in non-metros seems an lucrative opportunity for domestic and international brands. Once considered value conscious consumers of Tier II cities are now open to spend more on fashion and looking good. Apparel retail in non-metros are growing exponentially due to which more brands are entering hinterlands.

5. E-Commerce

Online shopping in India is not a new phenomenon anymore, although it is in nascent stage but blooming very rapidly. E-commerce has grown in recent years and has touched every person’s life. It has played a very vital role in bridging the gap between consumers residing in Tier II and Tier III cities and premium wear sellers. It has made availability of premium brands in semi-urban areas where these brands have no retail outlets.

In India, e-commerce portals and marketplaces have established themselves by providing huge discounts to lure customers thus changing the consumers’ mindset and providing wider range of products to choose from.

According to Technopak Analysis, currently there are 431 million internet users which is expected to reach 750 million by 2026. Cash crunch due to demonetisation along with improvement in net banking facilities will fuel the growth of e-commerce in the country.

The government’s initiatives to develop cash less, inclusive and digital citizens has provided further boost to e-commerce industry. The e-tailers have started launching their private fashion labels to increase their profit margins.