From millennials to matriarchs, the nine yards holds a special place in their lives in not just rewriting the concept of fashion but in also portraying the culture. The sari, which can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilisation, has wrapped itself around big corporate houses, traditional existing players, and unorganised regional outlets for a slice of customer attention.
In the whole of India, where the South ranks number one, East India with 19% share ranks second, followed by West and North India contributing 16% and 15% to saree sales respectively.
However, saree trade officials believe that the overall market in India is estimated to have crossed the ₹1 lakh crore mark (about $15 billion) considering the size of the women population in the country.
According to them, at least 33 crore Indian women (out of the total female population of about 67 crore) spend an average of ₹3,500-4,000 a year on buying sarees for occasions including festivals and weddings.
The growth in the wedding and festive market segment is being driven by the saree category with a 41% share of this segment valued at ₹23,200 crore in FY20, as per the report.
According to Technopak, the saree business was robust in the pre-pandemic times and in FY20, key players including Pothys, with 16 stores, clocked ₹1,599 crore revenue, RS Brothers with 12 stores posted revenue of ₹1,360 crore, Sai Silks Kalamandir with 46 stores reported ₹1,178 crore; Kalyan Silks (22 stores) at ₹1,152 crore; VRK Silks (40 stores) at ₹420 crore; The Chennai Silks (24 stores) at ₹384 crore; and Nalli (32 stores) at ₹375 crore.
Business group entities such as Reliance Retail (Avantra saree and ethnic wear brand), Tata Group’s Titan (Taneira ethnic brand) and Aditya Birla Retail (Navyasa – 21st century saree brand) have announced mega expansion plans. Garden Silk Mills has announced revival of its erstwhile popular saree brand Garden Vareli.
Traditional and new players are ramping up their omnichannel presence to boost sales. Nalli has 3,371 SKUs in mass price category (less than ₹5,000); 3,835 SKUs in the mid- price category (₹5,000-10,000); 5,085 SKUs in the premium price category (₹10,000-40,000); and 367 SKUs in luxury category (₹40,000 and above).
Pothys and Kalamandir have the highest of 3,617 SKUs and 3,520 SKUs respectively in the mass price category (less than ₹5,000). Titan’s Taneira has 1,867 SKUs, 1,467 SKUs, 1,209 SJUs and 76 SKUs respectively in the four categories.
Players such as Sai Silks Kalamandir, Fabindia and Biba have announced IPO plans to raise funds for future growth and expansion.