New Delhi: The business dynamics of Indian men's
apparel industry have witnessed key changes due to the influx of
international players. Yet, the increased competition has seen
Indian brands holding their own against international labels.
One of the oldest Indian players, Siyaram Silk Mills Ltd., feels
international players offer westernised trends that may not
necessarily appeal to the average Indian men with their new age
"The Indian clothing industry is definitely not affected by the
west. When international brands come in, they come with a lot of
western trends and fashion that is designed to the international
taste. The sense of the Indian market is not there as the
demographics in India are completely different," Rahul Akkara,
vice president (Marketing), Siyaram's Silk Mills Ltd, told IANS.
"Indian brands that have been in this business for two-three
decades now understand the pulse of the market and, more
importantly, the Indian consumer much better than international
players," he added.
One thing is for sure: competition has certainly grown.
"With so many international brands entering India, the business
dynamics have changed. Whether Indian brands are affected or not
varies from one brand to another. But the competition has
certainly grown high," Shilpi Dhir, owner of Giovani, launched in
2005, told IANS.
The India Menswear Market Analysis 2010-2014 by Venn Research
found that total revenue from menswear was $11.8 billion in 2009,
representing a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 8.6 percent
from 2005 to 2009, the last year for which reliable figures are
The growth trajectory of the country's menswear market is at an
all-time high and that's a reason why many international brands
are considering India a good opportunity for investment.
Apart from Siyaram, India's traditional men's clothing
manufacturers include Madura Garments, Arvind Mills, Provogue,
Zodiac Clothing and Raymonds. But the market erupted when many
international brands such as Cartier, Giorgio Armani, Kenzo and
Prada entered the scene in 2008, targeting mainly the luxury or
In 2009, more brands like Beverly Hills Polo Club, Fruit of the
Loom, Izod, Polo U.S., Mustang, Tie Rack and Timberland entered
the Indian retail market.
Dhir says foreign brands get more clients for items like T-shirts,
shirts and trousers, but for complete suits, Indian customers are
still loyal to their local players.
"We make suits fitted well for Indian body and our price points
are friendly. As far as suiting lines are concerned, we do face
competition (from foreign brands). In fact, this competition has
given us a push to do more innovative designs," said Dhir.
According to Jacob John, brand head of Louis Philippe, the
presence of international brands has brought about positive and
negative changes in the minds of consumers as well as retailers.
"As far as Indian brands are concerned, this has actually resulted
in a positive rub off with consumers now expecting more options
from Indian brands. At a retail level, newer and exciting formats
are being developed in line with international trends and
practices, leading to better consumer comfort and delight," John
"The positives definitely outweigh the negatives. While
competition has indeed increased, it has kept Indian brands on
their toes with a lot of them now constantly looking to improve
the consumer experience with their brands. International best
practices in retail, service, visual merchandising and processes
are being taken on board," he added.
A brand, irrespective of its Indian or international origin, can
draw consumers' interest only if it knows to tap the right tastes,
says Shitanshu Jhunjhunwalla, director, Turtle Limited, a
manufacturer and retailer of men's apparel and accessories.
"A brand is built on its USPs and loyalty. If you can offer the
consumer the right products at the right prices, there is always a
place for your brand in the market - whether domestic or
international," said Jhunjhunwalla.
(Nivedita can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)