Some of the country’s top corporate houses, including Aditya Birla Fashion, Reliance Retail and Tata-owned Trent and Taneira (by Titan) are betting big on the Rs 1.84-trillion ethnic wear market in India. This week’s TCNS Clothing acquisition by Aditya Birla Fashion for Rs 1,650 crore for a 51% stake only reinforces this trend, say experts.
Ethnic wear is the largest apparel category in India at 30% (Rs 1.84 trillion) of the Rs 6.15-trillion domestic apparel market, according to Aditya Birla Fashion’s MD Ashish Dikshit. Ethnic or Indian wear includes everything from sarees to salwar-kameez, lehengas, kurtas, kurtis, anarkalis, sherwanis, bandhgalas, dhotis etc.
While 80-85% of the ethnic wear market, according to experts, is dominated by the unorganised segment, the branded or organised end of the market at 15-20% (around Rs 28,000-37,000 crore in size) is growing at around 20% per annum now as consumers increasingly opt for Indian wear across occasions.
Within the organised ethnic wear market, 40% belongs to brands in the mid and value segment, 30% each by premium brands and super-premium & luxury brands, say experts.
As Jaydeep Shetty, a Mumbai-based retail expert and consultant, explains, “Office wear earlier for women would mean largely western wear, though sarees were also part of the wardrobe. Over time, the trend of wearing kurtas, kurtis and leggings for office and other occasions has increased, which has helped the ethnic wear market grow in the country, especially, in women’s wear.”
Brands such as W and Aurelia, both part of TCNS Clothing, and Biba have helped fuel growth in the women’s category while Manyavar from Vedant Fashions is driving the market on the men’s side, he says. Fab India, meanwhile, is a popular choice among both.
“We had no presence in ethnic wear till 2019. We now have a business which is around Rs 600-700 crore in size, which we want to scale up to Rs 5,000 crore in the next 3 years,” Dikshit said in an interview to FE this week after the TCNS acquisition.
The blueprint that Aditya Birla Fashion has put in place involves partnerships with designers such as Shantanu & Nikhil, Tarun Tahiliani, Sabyasachi and the House of Masaba at the luxury end of the market and acquisitions or organic launches at the premium, super-premium and mass end of the market.