India is globally the second largest footwear producer after China. India’s footwear production accounts for approximately 9 per cent of the global annual production of 22 billion pairs as compared to China’s which produces over 60 per cent.Categorically, men footwear industry has showcased a steady uptick in terms of growth, because of rising disposable income coupled with the increasing awareness of international fashion trends.
According to industry insights, the Indian footwear market is dominated by casual players that makes up for nearly two-third of the total footwear retail market. The majority of the Indian footwear market is men’s footwear that accounts for nearly 58 per cent of the total Indian footwear retail market. Non-leather footwear accounts for ~1.23 billion pairs, or 56 per cent of the footwear market in India. And while the industry is dominated by the unorganized SME footwear players, but with changing consumer behavior and modern lifestyle, the organized footwear retail segment has started shaping up in India.
In light of this, men’s footwear market has always been the center of attraction for international players over the last few years – especially when native footwear brands are adding the ‘Indianness’ to their brand narrative, culture, emotion, and overall appeal. With evolving fashion sensibilities of the Indian male consumer, the male footwear industry is becoming perfectly compatible with the overall fashion and lifestyle realm. Additionally, online stores have also become an important channel of sales for men’s footwear in the country in the last few years. An unparalleled development in e-commerce due to rising penetration of internet in urban, rural and sub-urban cities across India also signifies the favorable prospects for the industry. Indian manufacturers are increasingly using online mediums to connect with the fashion-driven consumer through a carefully designed personalized experience.
Men’s footwear brands are increasingly focusing on providing general category benefits by understanding the Indian consumer’s buying sentiment and their key emotional drivers. Offline footwear stores are offering experience zones to consumers so they can indulge in their chosen footwear and find their fashion connect. Further, functional experience such as user experience (UX) of the website, the checkout experience, payment experience, grievance management, the after sales service, convenience, speed, competitive pricing is expected to organize the industry’s functioning. And although,major footwear brand manufacturers are facing stiff competition on the pricing front, but brands are keeping the brand consciousness intact, with a long-term, sustainable consumer connect to resonate with [their] footwear fashion style statement.
Wearing shoes is no more a standalone style statement; men’s footwear choices are constantly evolving with fashion trends. And while these choices could be episodic, the consummate feeling of wearing success comes with the right footwear – be it casual, party or formal. This is because basic trends never go out of fashion. The best example in this context can beof environment friendly/ hand-crafted shoes that are made of recyclable materials and yet bring comfort. That said, men’s footwear choices are based on longevity of use, style and elegance – and that’s where the industry is moving: towards stunning designs, artistic sense of craftsmanship, finest artisanship and impeccable service for the chicest male connoisseurs.
No matter what the trend of fashion or even a season is, India is a multi-cultural country that has a fashion slant of every culture. And that’s why several leading footwear brands are also venturing into the Tier III and II cities, which comprises 55 per cent of the footwear industry in India.
It’s no more about a premium or staple footwear label; brands that can build a luxurious perception in the mind of consumer, and continue to showcase and launch new designs, patterns and concepts/ themes, with the focus on consumer’s wide and vast fashion palate, will eventually thrive.