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Jun, 02 2016

Trends & Growth in Lingerie market

India's lingerie market is currently valued at $3 billion. Lingerie business holds the largest pie of market share in India with high margins in returns. This segment has created a niche for itself in the garment manufacturing business.

India's lingerie market is currently valued at $3 billion. Lingerie business holds the largest pie of market share in India with high margins in returns. This segment has created a niche for itself in the garment manufacturing business.

Lingerie industry has been majorly shaped by the changing tastes and preferences of Indian women in terms of fashion and style statement. The growing disposable income, comfort and style have been instrumental in growth of lingerie segment. Apart from the domestic players a large number of international brands are also entering the Indian market.

Over centuries, people have worn undergarments for practical reasons of protection, hygiene and comfort. Speaking on the same, Pankaj Vermani, Co-Founder and CEO of Clovia states, “Inner wear is going through a phase of evolution in India and we believe its growth will continue surpassing most of the other apparel verticals for next few years. It is the most promising industries to watch out for.”

Market Scenario

A major share of the lingerie market is held by the mid-market and economy segments, in terms of both value and volume. The super-premium and premium segments are relatively smaller, but are fast-growing segments. Sales channels that are capitalizing on the growing Indian lingerie market are the Multi Brand Outlets (MBOs).

Apart from MBOs, there are many EBOs (Exclusive Brand Outlets) as well. Vivek Mehta, CEO at MAS Brands India said, “Our exclusive stores are designed to give a superior shopping experience to the discerning customer. It’s a one stop destination for complete intimate wear needs, lingerie, swimwear to sportswear and the consumer can choose from multiple categories from their favorite brand.” He continued, “Exclusive stores can be viable in cities, where there is sufficient brand conscious consumers, who would like to absorb premium intimates with value added services”, he added.

In the recent times, many lingerie players like Amante, Enamor, Zivame, Lovable and Pretty Secrets came up with age long players such as Rupa, Jockey, VIP, Hanes and Lux. Zivame, which now plans to open around 100 fit stores in major cities of the country where no physical sales will be made but customers can walk in and have a personalized experience to gauge their size, shape and order the kind of products best suited for them.

Distribution model

There is a gap in the market that presentss opportunity for a brick and mortar (offline) approach for the established player to capitalize on strong supply chains, offering depth and breadth of inventory and already established understanding of client buying behavior and demographics to enter the digital market place. Vermani said, “The lingerie ecosystem in India has been operating with the age-old system of making a handful of styles a year and pushing it to the end customer through regular distribution channels. This model is extremely inefficient for this industry, which has multiple sizes and solutions required by end consumer - quite contrary to the regular apparel industry. This is what makes online an extremely strong channel for the category. Moreover, when you operate with multiple sizes and solutions, customer feedback plays a huge role in this model, which further gets delayed in the offline distribution model.”

Digital reach

Only one per cent in this segment is online. But in next few years, the market value is projected to jump to $5 billion. Though physical store has its own advantages, online business of lingerie has an edge over it. Setting up a retail store in a mall or a high-street would add to the cost, making the product more expensive for the customers. At the same time, it would restrict the geographic reach too. Online model gives the scalability and allows the brands to pass on the cost savings to our customers. The physical stores ring in the bulk of the sales but the unavailability of sizes, lack of privacy and shortage of trained personnel has paved the way for online lingerie portals. Mehta said, “We have an Omni channel distribution model, where we are available across varied points of sale depending on the consumer’s preferred choice of format. We are present across Multi Brand Outlets, Chain stores, online channels and our own platforms of web store and exclusive brand stores (EBOs).”

Franchise Opportunity

This industry offers big opportunity to franchisors for the known brands. In addition, the opportunity is not just limited to women, but men can also establish themselves in this sector by opting the franchise way. Mehta said, “Our expansion will be rapid in the coming years as there will be more cluster stores in each city. We would prefer to carry out expansions with existing franchisee and thus offering them scale.”

There are several brands that have set up a strong franchising network and many of them have entered franchising. Brands like Lovable have been franchising and have firmly set its position in the lingerie market. Similarly, Zivame does franchising and requires an area of 500-1500 sq. ft with 25 – 30 lakhs of investment. They offer support like location scouting, store design and setup, customer experience (from order and tracking to delivery support), hiring and training, seamless technology integration, warehousing and logistics, visual merchandising, marketing (driving traffic to your franchise through their website, print ads, TV, press and social media coverage).

“Our designing and solution based approach is our strength, which brings back customers frequently. We use technology deeply to calculate buying patterns and feedbacks and predict the replenishment value of products. This ensures that we manage our inventory even while increasing SKUs every month. Right now we are shipping over 3 million units a year”, shared Vermani.

The lingerie business is not a new concept; however this industry has a great potential in the Indian market. Therefore, today many malls have lingerie boutique stores and the new age consumer can buy lingerie easily like any other garment.

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