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Sep, 02 2014

Revealing the inner secrets for biz success

Innerwear is an essential part of everyone's day-to-day lives. In the recent past, the Indian innerwear market has shown tremendous growth with increased number of organised players entering the sector via franchise route.

Of the Rs 14,000 crore innerwear market in India, the men's innerwear market accounts for Rs 5,800 crore and the women's market size is currently Rs 8,500 crore. Let's find out how franchising has contributed to a certain extent to this growing innerwear market.

India considered to be a conservative country for several years has now emerged as a potential market for lingerie and innerwear. The catchy line of men innerwear advertisement on television, 'Ye to bada toing hai' may have risen many eyebrows of the social activists in the country for its obscene content and was banned by the advertising council in the 2007-08 but the innerwear segment in retail sector has regulated revenues of over Rs 300 crore, and are no more a vending piece to be sold behind the curtain. Some may find lingerie shopping a little uncomfortable at MBOs in the presence of many men or male staff of the outlet but one cannot deny that the market has grown tremendously and the product category has increased manifold.

Burgeoning market

The humongous market for both women and men innerwear have opened gateways to many indigenous brands that are giving tough competition to the foreign brands that have forayed into India. As per the research report of of 2012, “The Indian innerwear market is currently valued at Rs 14,000 crore and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13 per cent during 2010-2020. Of the Rs 14,000 crore innerwear market, the men's innerwear market accounts for Rs 5,800 crore and the women's market size is currently Rs 8,500 crore.”

The estimated value of the Indian innerwear market as per the report is expected to touch Rs 44,000 crore by 2020. Improving Indian demographics and increased preference for proper fits, sizes, etc. lend credence to the growth of organised players in the Indian innerwear market. Citing the shift from unorganised to the organised segment, players including Page Industries (Jockey), Lovable Lingerie and Rupa & Company, among listed players are well poised to capture the growth. The share of the organised segment in the overall pie has increased from 13 per cent in 2005 to 16 per cent in 2010 and the same is expected to go up to 40 per cent in 2020. The premium and super-premium category in both the men's and women's segment has witnessed a higher growth than other segments.

Franchising: The preferred route

With increasing disposable income and customers' willingness to shell out more for quality products, the market has accelerated in a short span of time while having pepped up the domestic innerwear manufacturers to  come at par with their international counterparts. The organised sector of innerwear covers one-third of the market and is segmented as economy, mid-price, premium and super-premium.

Talking about franchising as the best business model for expansion, Kapil Pathare, Director, Maxwell Industries says: “Organised retail in India is still at a nascent phase accounting for less than 8 per cent. In most of the developed countries the market kept evolving and ensured that every format was able to establish itself whereas in India all the formats opened simultaneously and as the end result most of them resulted struggling.”

Maxwell Industries Ltd. is an Indian company, engaged in manufacturing and marketing of innerwear and serving the consumers for more than 30 years. Maxwell owns generic brands like VIP and Frenchie apart from other brands like Feelings, Brat & Eminence. To further strengthen the association EBOs and franchise stores.

The brand has also come up with “Inners  the innerwear studio” that is a one-stop solution for consumers. The store caters to various intimate-wear needs of men, women and kids from all the brands that come under Maxwell Industries Ltd.

The lingerie industries with several international brands have forayed into India via franchising and have set up a strong franchising network. They are expanding with rapid pace and have strong foothold in metros and tier-I and II cities.

Lovable has been franchising for over seven years and has firmly set its position in the lingerie market, Triumph International has been operational in India since 2002 and started franchising in 2009. Bwitch also extends its franchise apart from having company owned and presence multi-brand stores, while Jockey India under the umbrella of Page Industries Ltd., located in Bangalore, are the exclusive licensees of Jockey International Inc. (USA) for manufacture and distribution of the Jockey brand innerwear and leisurewear for men and women in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and UAE.

Opportunities in Store

Pathare further elaborates: "From 1971 to 1986 / 87 the company was into male dominated brands. In 1986/87 the company forayed into the Indian market and launched lingerie brand called Feelings. Post the launch of Feelings we are branded as unisex brand. On the brand front we still work on a multi-brand strategy and have separate brands for male and female.”

He further adds: “Today the lingerie is the fastest growing category in India and the brand is also trying to strengthen its female category which will cater to both men and women's segment.”

Marks & Spencer has officially unveiled its first standalone Lingerie and Beautystore in Mumbai.  The 5000 square feet store is the first ever standalone concept in India to offer a dedicated lingerie and beauty shopping experience. Venu Nair, Managing Director of M&S Reliance India says: “Our exceptional quality and service, combined with our extensive breadth of styles, shapes and sizes really set us apart from the competition. The aspirational format with a smaller footprint also allows us to access even more prime positions in leading shopping malls in line with our international growth strategy to have a presence in these key retail locations.”

A Middle East - based brand Cameo under the umbrella of Selective Brands India, began its operations in the country nearly a year ago and has launched a range of products related to men's skinwear. Anees Mohamed Parakkattil, Managing Director of Selective Brands UK Ltd. says : "We opted for dealer- distributor model because the market size is huge and the need is till the remotest village in the country. Due to large market penetration, we need to also be available on stands to compete with other brands." When asked about particular business strategy, Parakkattil, expresses : "We shall promote our brand only through distributor and dealer channel."

Emerging trend: e- retail

With every passing phase, the trends in every sector evolve to offer its consumers a better and faster purchase. Online shopping sites or e- retail shops have emerged as a great gateway to some lingerie brands to directly connect with their target audiences.,, saasya and many other shopping portals have designated separate section to lingerie and innerwear for their net savvy customers. The online market is equivalently strong as to its offline counterparts. Not only this, some online key players are mulling on to expand their brand through offline stores.

Sri Lanka's based premium lingerie brand amanté has recently collaborated with online lingerie portal and has launched an exclusive capsule collection.

On the launch Vivek Mehta, CEO, amanté India says: “We are committed to growing our online business as through this channel we are able to reach a large section of the consumer base who aspire to buy amanté. We have been selling on ever since the start of their operation and have been their leading brand. This will strengthen our partnership further.”

amanté was exclusively launched in India in October 2007. A subsidiary of MAS Holdings, South Asia's largest supplier of niche market intimate wear, and the brand embodies 25 years of excellence held by the conglomerate in lingerie manufacturing.

Parakkattil agrees that e-retail business has taken a toll over offline lingerie stores. He says: "Today every business is available by way of e-commerce and hence e-retail has shown a tremendous performance and the survey shows that most of the Indians, specially the younger generation, today shop on e-com sites as they save time and the offers excite them." He adds that as the other leading brands are available online, they too shall be available for online shopping to fulfill the rapidly growing huge e-market demands need.

Future outlook

A successful franchise system is achieved through detailed analysis, involvement and most importantly, planning. Unlike other ventures there is much more involvement required along with great rapport and understanding the pulse of the market.

Pathare is of the opinion: "Franchisee-run stores are not a duplication of existing store model as all franchisees have different requirements and issues to be tackled from strategic, financial to operations. It requires careful planning and constant monitoring and consultation. The initial 6-12 months are crucial to ensure sustainability."

To further improvise and strengthen its franchise network, Maxwell Industries Ltd. will be coming out with master franchise model and other models like revenue sharing FOCO (Franchisee Owned Company Operated). The brand's targeted cities for expansion includes A and B class cities specially in South and West i.e  Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Kolhapur, Nasik, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kochi, Mangalore, Vijayawada and many more.

Cameo follows dealer-distributorship model for its expansion and boasts of educating their partners to understand the product better which is a skin friendly and comfortable wear, hence making a man stylish. "Yes, women innerwear is also a segment which we would come out with but during the later part of this year,” says Parakkattil.

Marks & Spencer Lingerie & Beauty stores will showcase the very best of M&S's exceptional quality, stylish lingerie, with edited collections to showcase the season's key trend. Complementing its trend-led design, M&S offers an extensive breath of lingerie styles, shapes and sizes.


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