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Market Study: Indian formal wear market

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The Indian apparel market has evolved along with the global apparel market. With increasing disposable incomes, growing middle class, increasing penetration of e-tail and increasing acceptance for branded apparel, the Indian formal wear market segment has expanded its consumer base in the past decade.

Consumers are embracing the idea of fashion for their own sake, as a means of self-expression, and not merely as a functional purchase. A similar trend can be seen in formal wear; it is no more a functional category buy but has become a part of self-statement.

The Indian formal wear can be categorised into men’s formal wear and women’s formal wear. Women’s formal wear consists of shirts, blouses, trousers, skirts, formal jackets, etc. Whereas, shirts, trousers and suits/coats/safaris together comprise the men’s formal wear market.


Men’s shirt category is the largest men’s apparel category, followed by men’s trousers accounting for 27 percent and 22 percent respectively. However, the suits/coats/safari suits market is ~4 percent of the total menswear market.


In 2018, men’s shirt market in India was estimated to be worth Rs 41,918 crore. This market is expected to grow at compound annual growth rate of 6 percent to reach Rs 75,069 crore by 2028.

The market of shirts is under transition for last few years from limited colours and designs to distinct categories of formal and stylish shirts.

With evolving consumer preference towards semi-formal and causal look, demand for stylish shirts is growing. In urban markets, men’s wardrobe for shirts has increased considerably in the last decade. On an average a working professional in an urban market has more than 20 shirts in his wardrobe.


The men’s trousers market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.6 percent to reach Rs 58,602 crore by 2028 from its current size of Rs 33,984 crore. It is the second largest category among menswear. The men’s trousers market has witnessed a remarkable change in last few years from limited options to wide range of different colours, designs and fi ts in both formal and casual wear.


The men’s suit market is worth Rs 5,776 crore and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 2 percent for the next decade to reach the market of Rs 7,041 crore.


The women’s formal wear constitutes tops/shirts, formal jackets, trousers/skirts, etc. In contrast to men’s formal wear, women’s formal wear is growing at a higher pace. This growth can be attributed to the increasing number of women in the workplace. One of the major reasons for this growth in the low base (market size) of woman’s formal wear historically. But that has changed in last 10-12 years.


The women’s tops/shirts category is one of the highest growing categories in the womenswear segment. It is due to increasing acceptance of western wear and increasing number of women in the workforce. The women’s tops/ shirts market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11 percent in near future to reach Rs 8,036 crore from its current market size of Rs 2,830 crore. Proliferation of international brands in India during the last few years has given plethora of options to women.


Women’s formal jackets are expected to grow at a CAGR of 6 percent over the next 10 years to reach Rs 1,012 crore from current market size of Rs 565 crore.


The women’s trousers/skirts market is witnessing a high growth of 8.5 percent. It is expected to grow from current market size of Rs 1,738 crore to Rs 3,930 crore by 2028.

The fashion element which is so inherently present in women’s clothes has been taken care of through the introduction of ‘flexible / stretch’ fabric for different applications and it has led to emergence of various new categories in trousers such as Treggings and Jeggings.

Features such as adjustable trouser length, hidden and roomy pockets, anti-stain, anti-wrinkle and easy-care garments have become the norm. Year 2018 also witnessed the reappearance of reversible clothing and this should continue to be a part of work-wear closets in 2019, too.


The Indian apparel market has witnessed huge influx of international brands in the last few years. Increasing penetration of international players in the market has played a vital role in converting consumers from preferring tailor-made apparel to ready-to-wear by providing them a plethora of options in terms of fits, designs, colours and patterns. Though the share of ready-to-wear has increased, the ready-to-stitch category cannot be neglected as there is sizeable demand in this category. The steady growth in the premium tailoring segment comprises the fashion designers and the bespoke/ luxury segment. Customers in the super premium segment are willing to pay a premium to ensure that their tailor-made clothing reflects their personality.

Indian fashion consumers, both male and female, will continue to seek better product quality, superior designs and perfect fi t in their trousers. Most of the product innovation is expected to be witnessed in the men’s and women’s formal shirts, women’s formal jackets, women’s trousers and high-end men’s formal trousers. In the coming years, the Indian market might witness demand for commercial production of trousers produced from recycled fibres, eco-friendly manufacturing processes.

Success of manufacturers and brands in Indian trousers market shall depend on their ability to off er innovative products at right price points and their ability to expand their reach beyond the metros and big cities. It is due to the growing formal wear market that many start-ups have started catering to this segment by providing customized tailoring the formal wear

Increasing fashion awareness of Indian consumer, growing disposable income, product innovation and promotion by brands and retailers, etc., are acting as growth drivers for formal wear market in India. Thus, to keep pace with changing consumer’s preferences the retailers serving formal wear market needs to keep innovating and provide better dressing solutions.