Retailers bet big on India’s ethnic-wear market

  • 01 Aug 2023
  • Read 5 mins read

Ethnic Clothing is becoming hot

Ethnic Indian wear, ranging from sarees, salwar-kameez, Anarkali to kurtas and sherwanis are the next big target for Indian retailers. Within the Rs615,000 crore Indian apparel market, the ethnic wear market occupies pride of place at 30% with a market size of Rs184,000 crore. That is a big market share to fight for. Top corporate retailers like Aditya Birla Fashion, Reliance Retail and Tata-owned Trent and Taneira have started placing their bets on Indian ethnic wear.


Snatching market share from unorganized segment

That is the big story. These conglomerates see a huge window of opportunity to enter the ethnic wear market since 80% of this market is dominated by the unorganized segment. These are the typical mom-and-pop shops and markets. The organized ethnic wear segment is under Rs37,000 crore but growing at a frenetic pace of 20% annually. Also, the organized segment has 40% in mid-value segments and the remaining 60% in the premium and luxury brands. 

Ethnic Indian wear dominates women’s choices

According to a recent Technopak study, the ethnic wear sector has seen much greater growth in the women’s segment than in the men’s segment. Ethnic wear contributes 71% of India's total women’s clothing segment. Along with a rising population, one can also attribute the evolution of women’s ethnic wear to a higher female workforce. Apart from festivals, the huge demand for ethnic wear can be extrapolated to the rise of an Indo-Western cultural trend, in the casual and formal categories. 

Ethnic is adding punch to fashion statements

Young Indians are embracing their traditional roots but the internet access and simulation possibilities are allowing them to mix western trends. Even ethnic wear is focused more on fashion trends and styling. For most youngsters, ethnic wear is not just about comfort, but also about an individualistic statement. The other big shift is towards internet shopping. This trend is not just restricted to Tier I cities, as even people in Tier II and Tier III cities have their fair share of exposure to different fashions and fusion trend; thanks to the internet and social media. Big names like TCNS Clothing (recently acquired by Birlas) and Biba have fuelled women’s ethnic wear, while Manyavar has triggered growth in the men’s ethnic segment.

Strategy 101 – How are the big guns going about it?

Aditya Birla Group has stitched partnerships with sophisticated designers like Shantanu & Nikhil, Tarun Tahiliani, Sabyasachi, and the House of Masaba. The group recently acquired 51% stake in TCNS Clothing, and has now gone on to acquire premium ethnic men’s brand called Jaypore. ABFRL has also launched its own ethnic brands like Marigold Lane and Tasva. 

Reliance Retail is already moving at a frenetic pace to capture the ethnic wear market. They plan to target ethnic wear at the middle and upper segments of the market. Reliance has tie-ups with big names like Abraham & Thakore, Rahul Mishra, Ritu Kumar, Satya Paul, Manish Malhotra, and Anamika Khanna under the Reliance Brands umbrella. While Reliance traditionally catered to the mid-markets, it has been enhancing its luxury presence with the launch of in-house brands like Avantra by Reliance Trends

Trent, of the Tata group, launched a new brand called Samoh last month. The ethos of the brand is to tailor to consumers who take a liking towards luxurious and modern takes on traditional motifs from the Indian hinterland. The strategies may vary, but the intent is the same. Tap the rapidly growing ethnic wear and help it transition to the organized segment. That is the billion dollar opportunity.

Content Source: Financial Express