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Retailers bet big on shirts market in India


The rapidly expanding Indian retail market, backed by factors such as strong fiscal and economic measures, rising disposable income, etc., is resulting in increasing consumer spending and increasing workforce. As a result it is witnessing some major shifts and growth in the recent years. Amidst this growing market, fashion retail stands out as one of the largest and one of the most rapidly growing categories.

The shirts market in India
The rapidly expanding Indian retail market, backed by factors such as strong fiscal and economic measures, rising disposable income, etc., is resulting in increasing consumer spending and increasing workforce


In 2017, the domestic shirt market was estimated at Rs 39,659 crore, and it was expected to grow at a CAGR of 6 percent to become Rs 69,361 crore by 2027. Shirts accounts for 12 percent of the total apparel market in India. Men’s shirts holds 94 percent of the total shirts market with the remaining 6 percent constituted by the women’s shirts market, which is growing twice as fast as the men’s segment. While the men’s shirt market is expected to grow at a CAGR of ~5 percent the women’s segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of ~11 percent over the next decade.


The men’s is valued at Rs 37,132 crore, and it is the largest category among men’s apparel accounting for 28 percent of the total men’s wear market. Around 40 percent of the men’s shirt market is constituted by formal and semi-formal shirts.

The men’s market of shirts is under transition in the last few years from limited colours and designs to distinct categories of formal and stylish shirts. With evolving consumer preference towards semi-formal and casual look, demand for stylish shirts is growing.


The women’s shirt category is a relatively new and small category in women apparel. With a market size of Rs 2,527 crore, it contributes only 2 percent to the total women’s apparel market, which is dominated by women’s ethnic wear. This category is expected to grow at a CAGR of~11 percent in the near future due to increasing women in workforce, resulting in huge demand of formal shirts and growing demand for western wear among women.

Change in women’s tastes and preference has resulted in creating demand for both formal and casual shirts in metros and Tier-I cities which is soon expected to trickle down to the non-metros as well.


The overall shirt market in India has witnessed several transitions in fabrics, fits, styles and designs in the last few years. With increasing fashion awareness among both men and women and on influx of international brands in the domestic fashion arena, the category is no more restricted to formal wear. Shirts, which were earlier predominantly owned by men can now be seen occupying major chunks of women wardrobes as well. As projected earlier, it is all set to grow at a higher growth rate than men’s shirts in the near future.

The shirts market is witnessing demand of personalization of shirts due to increased demand of customized shirts. The retailers have brought in various size segments like slim fits, skinny fits, etc., to cater to various demographics.

In line with the global trend of casualization of shirts, the Indian shirt market is anticipated to witness huge demand of semi-formal and casual shirts compared to formal shirts, both in men’s and women’s category. It also has resulted in the emergence of various new designs and patterns in shirts.

Shirting comprises the bigger share of ready-to-wear market currently in comparison to other apparel categories. The conventional trend of buying fabric and getting a shirt stitched from tailor has lost its popularity. The Indian populace has now shown a high acceptably of ready-to-wear shirts rather than ready-to-stitch fabric.

The shirt market has witnessed diversifi cation in terms of colour and fabrics too. Retailers today provide the customer with a wide range of choices in colours, styles and patterns. Cotton/ cotton blends shirting is expected to grow faster than overall shirting market due to growing preference of cotton amongst consumers due to higher comfort and quality factors. At the same time, new fabrics such as linen have also witnessed demand in the recent years.

With growing disposable income and rising middle class, the shirt market has experienced the much needed thrust. Further, growing urbanization and corporate culture are the additional growth drivers for shirt’s retail market (for both in men’s and women’s category).

Increasing penetration of e-tailing in apparel has further led to expansion in consumer base for shirts. With increasing brick-and-mortar brand association with established e-tailers, the domestic market of shirts has been on growth trajectory.


Despite the number of rapidly flourishing brands, the penetration of the private labels and international labels are yet on the lower side. It is estimated that branded shirts are only able to drape a small percentage of Indian population. There is still a larger fraction of Indian population who still prefer local garment makers over branded apparel attributable to their cheaper cost.

Private labels and e-tailers have modified their pricing strategy and are offering shirts in low to mid-price range. The major organized players are trying to capture the market with ‘efficient sourcing, low overheads’ and, above all, higher volumes. Due to the increasing penetration of e-tailers there is easy availability of branded shirts at discounted prices in Tier-I and-II cities, thus increasing the share of organised shirts market.

Also, designing proper a fit for women formal shirt as per Indian body type has been a challenge and many private labels and international retailers have failed to overcome this challenge. Fits catering to various body types of Indian women need to be developed in order to target larger consumer base.

In the coming years, the growth of the shirt market will be driven by the young aspiring youth working in corporate sector. At the same time innovative designs, fits and colour combinations in semi-formal shirts will continue to attract the fashion conscious consumers to consider semi-formal shirts and causal shirts as an alternative to formal shirts. Women’s shirt market is also expected to witness a surge in demand due to increasing participation of women in workforce. The market will also witness new trends in terms of fabric design, finish application, introduction of wider colour choices and fitting. The shirt market in India therefore has huge scope for the brands and retailers provided they manage to cater to the ever changing fashion requirements of both formal and semi-formal shirt customers.