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Pepe Jeans: Working towards understanding young consumers

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There has been a lot of ‘big-name’ noise in the global kids’ denim wear space in recent months with brands like , and entering the segment, and and planning to foray into the segment.
So, when in 2016, entered the kids’ wear segment, it was the most prudent move that the brand took – cashing in on the sunshine market at the most opportune time.

Pepe Jeans: Working towards understanding young consumers

Catering to children from 4 to 12 years of age, as well as teens from 14 to 16 years, Pepe Jeans simply widened its consumer base when they forayed into this segment.

The brand offers a wide array of kids’ wear, which include stylish denim jackets, jeans and cool printed t-shirts and shirts for boys; and cute denim shorts and skirts, bright coloured jeans, playsuits, tops and dresses for girls.

The design team uses its global experience and rich heritage to introduced tailored products that best suit the local market. With over 100 to 1,000 design variations for customers to choose from, the team analyses consumer preferences, market trends and identifies key styles that are likely to be a hit in the next season.

Assistant General Manager – Marketing, Pepe Jeans, talks to IMAGES Business of Fashion on the Indian kids’ denim wear market, its discerning consumers and how the market is delivering.

EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW:

Tell us about the kids’ denim wear segment in India? How has it developed over the years in the branded sector with players taking up this category seriously?

As per industry reports, the kids’ denim wear comprise only 6 percent of the total segment. This is the smallest segment in the domestic market at the moment but is expected to grow at a high rate in the years to come.

Market potential for kids wear has attracted many global brands into India. Brands have started to adapt the line specifically to the Indian audience. The kids denim wear industry is definitely a blooming and promising category which has huge potential in the years to come.

Despite its popularity, leading denim makers are still wary of entering the kids’ denim segment. Why?

Despite the interesting growth story of kids’ denim wear segment, a lot remains to be accomplished in this market. The opportunities within the kids’ denim wear market are definitely positive but having the right understanding and tapping these require high level of commitment and well-formulated strategies.

Also, brands and retailers have to ensure better penetration beyond urban pockets and cater to the price-sensitive kids’ segment in semi-urban and rural India. Some of the kids denim wear brands have struggled in terms of planning store expansions with adequate far-sightedness and analysis and thus have been forced into rolling back plans or have got entangled in high debt traps and unwarranted business litigations. New entrants could shorten their own learning curve by learning from the challenges and roadblocks faced by the early entrants as well as existing players.

The ability of brands and retailers to address the specific requirements of children as well as their parents and to off er fashion solutions rather than mere products will be critical for their success.

Which is the bigger market for kids’ denim brands – metros or smaller cities? Why?

The kid’s denim wear market is well established in Tier I cities and is now emerging into the Tier II and III cities as well. With growing purchasing power, style consciousness and international brands pouring in, one cannot ignore the opportunities these markets present. Big and small brands are now heading to these small cities with multiple formats.

A simple way to understand growth in the smaller markets is that it allows you to expand your customer base, with its lower real estate cost and most importantly visibility to the brand.

Also, retailers have started leveraging e-commerce, which enables them to spend less money on real estate while reaching out to more customers in Tier II, III and IV cities making brands/ products easily accessible.

Similarly, the marketing strategies also have to play a big role, when it comes to targeting customers in these regions as well as creating awareness for the brand. It is essential to be aware of these cities that are gaining momentum because of real estate development; it’s only a matter of time till investors understand the market dynamics and returns they generate; thereby making them the future of retail.

What are current trends and styles in kid’s denim in the international market? What about India?

India is not far in catching up with international trends. We see that the children’s fashion industry has evolved and begun to imitate the adult fashion industry with miniature versions of different denim styles like ripped jeans, glittered jeans, studs, tassels, etc. Parents have become concerned and conscious about their children being “on-trend”. Kids have the capability to influence the buying decisions of their parents and exert significant buying power. Favourite TV characters or celebrities, movies, TV serials, peers, etc., are various factors that attract, and influence kids purchase decision. Brands have created their marketing strategies and merchandising around this preposition to create the want and desire among kids. Brands have also started innovating with natural, hygienic and flexible fabrics to suit their comfort.