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Ethnic wear brands sparkle during festive season, expect 25% jump in sales

The festive season has helped brands recover from a long period of sluggishness. Both the offline and online segments are posting strong numbers for the category

The festive season has brought in cheer for the ethnic wear brands as the companies are expecting a 25 per cent jump in overall sales. 

"We have seen a decent sense of growth, especially during the last couple of weekends and are expecting 20-25 per cent of increase during the festive season,” said Karan Kumar, Head Brand and Marketing, Fabindia.

“We are very happy with the way the festive season has panned out. We are 10-15 per cent higher to what we were doing last year during the festive season and that seems to be a decent sense of buoyancy," he added.

Fabindia has also witnessed an increase in online sales during the festive season and receives around 10 per cent of the total sales from online. Kumar said, “Our play in the online space is limited. We are not that aggressive as other brands. We do very little business with e-commerce. We are very possessive about the margins and discounts. The festive season has seen a hike in interest in e-commerce too.”

GST had an impact as whole on the industry and almost all called out sale and discounts. Brands witnessed a sale dip but have coped up with its effect with the festive season at its peak.

Siddharth Bindra, Managing Director, BIBA, said, “There was a slight lingering due to the effect of demonetisation but we have recovered from that.”

For Fabindia it was tougher as the company is not very keen on discount and sale. Kumar said, “The period before the festive season was a bit sluggish because of GST. Other brands were giving out discounts and we were not. GST had to happen and was a correction that was waiting to happen.”

The ethnic wear market is dominated by women’s wear which contributes 83 per cent. This is followed by kids’ and men’s ethnic wear with a share of nine per cent and eight per cent, respectively.

The e-commerce ethnic wear industry is another area that is seeing growth during the festive season. Around 60 per cent of its total business happens during the festive season.

An e-commerce specialist, who didn’t want to be quoted said, “Women’s ethnic wear is way bigger than men’s ethnic as women tend to wear ethnic daily. Men’s ethnic wear as a category is a diminishing category. Shopper’s Stop has already shut the category. In fact, Lifestyle has stopped keeping external brands. They have their in-house brand Melange that they continue selling.”

The specialist also said, “I know of a brand Sojanya that has a single store offline and supplies ethnic wear on e-commerce websites. It sells around 2,000 pieces a day during the festive season. Rakshabandhan till Diwali is the peak season for ethnic wear.”

The Indian ethnic wear market was estimated to be worth Rs 82,220 crore in 2014 and is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 9 per cent to reach Rs 1.26 lakh crore in 2019, according to a report from consulting firm Technopak Advisors. Around 70 per cent of the ethnic wear market is still unorganised.

Bindra expects a lot of movement in the branded apparel section in next four to five years. “Hope GST will accelerate the movement further.”

Biba holds around 1-1.5 per cent market share and expects to achieve 4-5 per cent of the total market share in three to four years.

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