Children Apparel

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The children apparel market is expanding and is growing at an average CAGR of 8% to 9% per annum that augurs well for the segment.

A key factor driving the Indian kids wear market is the country’s huge growing population which is 1.37 billion. Children apparel includes clothing for kids between 1 and 14 years of age. The market for children apparel in India is over Rs. 13000 crore, of which around Rs. 3000 crore is by branded children wear. The children wear market is growing at the rate of 10% per annum, which makes it one of the fastest growing markets.

Do The New

Kids wear is one of the fastest growing categories globally. The kids wear market in India has seen phenomenal growth in the last couple of years. There have been some seismic changes experienced in this category both product wise and consumer wise. Going by the current growth trend exhibited by the kids wear category, it could be averaging a CAGR of 8% to 9%. “New age parents are exhibiting a considerable brand awareness and inclination towards high quality apparel products for their kids. The rise of the upper middle class in India,  have given rise to the new globetrotting parents with the world information on their fingertips, who  are more aware / well informed and willing to go the extra mile especially when it comes to their little ones comfort and quality,” says Poonam Naik Desai, Founder and CEO, Peekaboo. The market is nascent and mostly unorganized and as per some primary research estimates, the Indian kidswear market was estimated at Rs. 66,904 crore accounting in 2017 making for 20 percent of total apparel market of the country. Kidswear is expected to grow at CAGR of 8.1 percent to reach Rs. 145,445 crore by 2027. “New age parents are exhibiting a considerable brand awareness and inclination towards high quality apparel products for their kids. The rise of the upper middle class in India,  have given rise to the new globetrotting parents with the world information on their fingertips, who  are more aware / well informed and willing to go the extra mile especially when it comes to their little ones comfort and quality,” says Poonam Naik Desai, Founder and CEO, Peekaboo.

Contemporary Cues

There was a time when parents use to shop from local markets for reasonable price. But now due to increasing surplus salaries parents prefer to buy branded clothes for their kids. Parents are doing a lot of online shopping for kids wear. “Even middle class, upper middle class prefer to buy branded clothes for their kids. Trends for 2019-2020 are Custom Baby Clothes and Personalized Bodysuits, Romper, 3pcs Baby Boy Casual and Party Wear Outfit Sets, Designer Sharara for Baby Girl, Little Girl Ruffle Dresses, Designer Dresses for Baby Girl, Inspired Princess Costumes for Girls, Rainbow Unicorn Dresses. Most of the organized players in the kids wear market initially focused only on western wear categories like denim, shirts, T-shirts and the like,” says Shamika Pradhan, Head of Fashion Department, Inter National Institute of Fashion Designing (INIFD), Deccan, Pune. However, brands and organized players have now started foraying into children’s ethnic wear categories and are offering ethnically styled products for kids. Twinning / Mini Me continues to be a popular trend. Steven Jhangiani, Founder, Kurtees adds, ​“we see children wear, from a styling perspective, to be reflective of the quality available to adults.  In our brand (KURTEES), our newly launched boys line is an exact replica of the mens line.  They styling and materials used are exactly the same.  Parents today are looking at quality, comfort and style for any purchases that they are making.  The costs need to be reasonable as well.  Utility and re-usability of the garment are important deciding factors.  At KURTEES, the collection of Indian garments made from Tee Shirt Material allow the parent to buy something for a festival (for example, Diwali) but these garments can be worn over and over again, giving the parent the ability to send in a prudent way.”

Kurtees Kids
Kurtees Kids

Change Makers

One more important change is the increasing preference for branded apparel which has attracted consumers through their fabulous visual merchandising, promotional strategies and focused advertising. “This shift is taking place on account of changes such as a rise in the disposable income of the people and the increasing influence of western culture which has resulted in an increasing spending on kids-wear by parents. Influenced by mass media and peer pressure, today’s kids are more informed and self-conscious about their choices as they are aware about the trends,” says Pradhan. Elodie Le Derf, Head Designer & Founder, Born says, “organic and sustainability is the way forward. Today they are not only a trend they are also the future. All over the world fashion is now going towards a more sustainable fashion reducing waste, being more ethical and respecting the environment. There is a rise in brands developing organic cotton lines. Back in the days India was always a sustainable country (always recycling, no plastic, consuming less, natural colour dyes, huge handcraft segment with block prints, hand embroidery, just to name a few) and is now slowly going back to its roots. With 80% of our collection made in organic cotton and soon a range of small products made out of our wasted fabrics (in order to recycle them) BORN is committed to support sustainable fashion in India and promote the incredible Indian handcraft. Again an evolution in colours is also being seen. It is going away from the usual bright primary pinks and reds and yellows and blues, I see the colors also moving towards a gender equal palette where pinks don’t have to be for girls and blue for boys.” Also there is a trend of moms wanting to match clothes with their kids on special days. With this in mind Born will also be launching its new mom and kids matching collection.

Challenge Factor

Size chart is the biggest concern in Children wear market. As while designing kids wear garments standard measurements are being followed. “As obesity rate is increasing, we have increasing demand for plus sizes in kids’ section. Also, sometimes the jeans don’t fit the waist properly for skinny kids. To get proper fit in kids wear is the biggest challenge today while purchasing. Also, what fiber content is used is also big concern while purchasing fabrics for babies. It should be comfortable, durable and sustainable rather than going for manmade fibers which can be harmful for newborns,” adds Pradhan. Cutting through the noise and making a lasting impression on the consumer is a tricky business and will continue to remain one of the major challenges of marketing. There is no kids focused fashion/lifestyle magazines like you see in the rest of the world Lack of kids focused department stores so it becomes hard for the brand to discovered by new customers. “Spending on kids fashion is just about starting in India hence the marketing opportunities are quite few. But there is also like the opportunity. Hence Born does its own instore workshops and events for kids and mom and has now developed its own community of moms. Unlike the rest of Asia and the World, The lack of a fashion high street where people can walk and spend time window shopping and discover brands is lacking. The tendency is for people to know exactly what they want to buy and then go to brands and buy and leave. Shopping here is a destination. So the customers need to know of the brand in advance. However at Born with our window displays and facade design we have been lucky enough to have walk-ins from passing customers,” says Derf. It is most important is to remember that one is catering to the needs of children, the most precious possessions of their parents. So a human touch, some creative ideas, great quality products and an emotional appeal built around the brand will truly take it a long way.

This story first appeared in the Nov 2019 issue of Apparel Magazine here:

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