There was a time when Indian kids wear comprised of clothing bought from the neighbourhood store - clothes that did not really bear a popular brand name.
Kids’ clothing was utilitarian and functional, never following any trend or fashion.
But if you have shopped for Indian kids wear today, you would know that this is no longer the case.
Today, with international apparel brands and homebred children’s brands retailing clothing for kids, the trend of branded kids fashion is fast catching on in India. So how did this revolution come about?
India has the largest child population in the world and therefore the Indian kids wear industry is huge. We’d in fact argue that it is perhaps the most propitious market in India for it is expected to be worth more than Rs. 80,000 crore by 2016. On the buying side, there has been a tremendous increase in purchasing power and brand awareness which have led to an increase in spending on apparel in the country. With these factors driving the growth of the Indian kids wear market, brands, big and small are launching kids wear lines in a bid to grab a share of the Indian kids wear market pie.
So now you walk into a mall and see big brands in the Indian kids wear market that has presented both parents and kids with a plethora of options across various price-points. You’ll find niche children’s brands like Liliput and Toonz that exclusively cater to the children, ethnic wear brands like FabIndia and Biba who have their own range of fashion for kids and international brands like UCB, Zara and Mango which also feature kids fashion lines. If we had to put it simply, we’d say that the kids’ fashion section in any mall is like a ‘mini version’ of the adults’ fashion - same brands and similar styles, with just a difference in sizes. And it is not just the malls but even e-commerce portals which are riding high on the kids wear market boom. Every marketplace worth its salt today has an Indian boy's fashion and Indian girl’s fashion category selling clothing that follows the latest trends in the kids segment.
It is not just branded kids clothes on the marketplace but also accessories and footwear. As a result of these options, kids these days want to be outfitted only in branded wear, from head to toe, thanks to the exposure to global trends and to role models like Suri Cruise! They are now more aware of the brands that cater to them and turning out to be major decision makers during a purchase. Encouraging the trend are parents with a disposable income who want to provide nothing but the best for their kids and are willing to shell out more on clothes that guarantee more confidence and a better image.
Given the growing Indian kids wear market, it comes as little surprise that an event called the India Kids Fashion Week is organised every year, showcasing clothes for kids! Now who would have foreseen such a day! Yes, you read that right, a fashion show every year with little boys and girls between the ages of four and fourteen walking the ramp in branded clothes that are in line with the latest trends. And mind you, they don’t just walk but strut down the ramp with supreme confidence. The India Kids Fashion Week also features the work of prominent designers who are now creating lines catering to the premium segment of the buyers who want exclusive clothing even for their kids. Now that is some serious business to be in!
Considering the size of the market, kids wear is a lucrative space to be in India. But if the brands are looking to expand their footprint, we believe that they need to shift their focus beyond the urban markets and look into tier-2 cities as well. Of course, this would mean keeping a check on the price because it will be hard to drive sales if the kids’ wear is priced on par with adults’ wear, because all said and done, kids wear has a low lifespan. Parents looking at value for money would certainly not spend a ton on clothing that may not even be usable after their child grows taller in a few months.
Brands that are looking to make it big can do so with an increased focus on quality and styles. If brands invest in coming up with well-formulated sourcing and supply chain strategies, they will be poised to make a lasting impact in the Indian kids wear market by offering varied styles at the right price.
Image credit: sulekhablog