Wear Fit – Stay Fit
According to the government’s Make In India report, the wellness industry in India is worth Rs. 490 billion, and wellness services alone comprise 40 percent of the market. Estimates say that over 200 million people around the world practice yoga. The estimated market for yoga apparel in the US alone is over $13 billion (Rs. 82,000 crore) annually. According to a euromonitor.com report titled ‘Sportswear in India – Mar 2016’, there is a rising trend towards health and wellness amongst Indian consumers. Rapid urbanisation has resulted in a hectic lifestyle for Indians and consumers have become more health conscious and have added new routines to their lifestyle such as meditation, yoga, gym workouts, swimming and jogging. Sportswear is expected to continue to post a strong retail value CAGR of 12% over the forecast period with sales expected to touch Rs. 540 billion by 2020.
Yoga apparel start-ups are not just seeing a huge market in the USA but also in UK, Australia and Japan. India, according to their projections, will account for just 3 per cent or 4 per cent of sales. In fact the markets of US and Canada are two where the denim industry is actively losing sales to the yoga wear category as North Americans increasingly wear yoga pants rather than denims and has led to a new category called ‘Athleisure.’ The big push for the wellness clothing space is also stemming from the ‘Made In India’ push a Government initiative that is hoping to help local industries do well. “We at forever yoga are trying to change the perception the way yoga is done in today scenario and we are connecting ourself to ancient days of yoga when it was all comfort clothing (Dhotis) not the body hugging performance wear. For instance when Swami Vivekananda preached yoga in western world he was not wearing Nike, it was dhoti a comfort wear,” says Amit Chand, Co-Founder, Foreveryoga. He adds, “we want to create this brand as Made in India in every aspect from design/print/fabric and we have been working hard with our R&D team for developing fabrics in India which currently is an expertise lying with China and during last 6 months we have developed quite a few to cater to future demands as it makes our lead time shorter. We have conducted exhibitions across Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai to gain firsthand experience of consumers and it was a great success to know their feedback. We had our own website which we opened up to test the initial trials and responses and we did get orders across India, not in volumes as it is a niche category but it gave us a confidence that it can be accepted if promoted well. We are trying to offer this comfort wear as a part of their casual wardrobe, so even if they do not do active exercise still they can buy from us and wear them in their casual attire. We have covered all the ingredients of back end from design to fabrics to production. We been working on the concept to make it as strong as possible for last one year and though the investment is huge to develop fabric, build products and keep Inventory when you are start up, we have agreed to take that risk, as we see a huge market for this both in India and abroad.”
According to Jainam Shah, Managing Director, Bhu:sattva, an organic clothing brand that has recently launched a yoga line, the wellness market is still in its virgin stages in the country.
“It is still early days here but I am sure over the next 2-3 years, this market will pick up really well in the country. We have started with women yoga wear for now and work with breezy fabrics. Or focus is on woven fabrics as opposed to knits and these are breathable and easy to wear clothes like palazzos and pyjamas that are subtle and use natural fibres.” Super Sox has a wide range sock including sports socks; Titan, titan stripes, titan designs, titan argyles. “Our premium quality of sports socks is called NIK. For women, we have the rose collection of sports socks. These are the best quality socks, for sports with competitive pricing and quality. There’s no wellness style quite as persistently recurring as the stretchy, body-hugging one-piece. There’s a practical reason why yogis have worn bodysuits for decades: Form-fitting one-pieces stay put during poses. Not to mention they’re comfortable and flattering, too,” says Harsh Saraf, Business Development Head, Super Knit Industries. However educating the customer on quality is a challenge. The general perception is that a well known brands have the best quality, or higher the price, better the quality. “So to convince the mass to go for a product with quality and good pricing is the biggest challenge. Another factor involved is the mindset that an international brand has better quality and longevity over the local Indian brands,” adds Saraf.
Fashion Meets Fitness
In fact the impetus has been the International Yoga Day celebrated on 21 June that has opened up doors to 175 countries who will celebrate this day. “In the USA – $30 billion/annum growing at 20% on CAGR, not even a single brand from India in that space to take a pie, so this is a space that makes business sense,” adds Amit. Again with new age players like Foreveryoga and Bhu:sattva, wellness clothes are also getting trendy and in vogue. TGlobal fashion is ruled by going green. People are becoming increasingly sensitive to chemicals and find organic clothing very effective in making them comfortable. Wearing ethically correct attire makes person a conscious and responsible individual contributing toward a safe environment for the next generation. “People, now-a-days are informed and concerned about their health and family more than ever before. More informed buyers are looking for symbols of eco-friendliness or at least for information on the contents of the materials used in garment production. Organic is in vogue today because of its eco- friendly approach towards our society and has blended with our current trends in fashion and living completely. The latest trend right now is organic clothing! In other words, it’s a global fashion movement of going green. An eco-friendly fashion trend, quite a few high-end designers insist on having a collection of organic clothing for the environmentally conscious consumers. While organic clothing mainly involves the use of organic cotton, other alternatives include organic fabrics made from soy, corn, bamboo, etc. Comfort is one principal characteristic of organic clothing,” says Jainam.
According to a report titled World Sports and Fitness Clothing Market – Opportunities and Forecasts, 2014 – 2020 on alliedmarketresearch.com, “the trend towards healthier habits, emergence of new sports, adoption of an active lifestyle, increasing incomes in developing countries and popularity of physical fitness activities amongst women are factors driving the sports and fitness clothing market. The growing trend of casual wear in the workplace and rising demand from teenagers also serve to fuel market growth. The growing emphasis on product performance and comfort is also a driving force of the industry; it has contributed to the rising demand for premium, high quality sportswear that is also fashionable. In order to design new styles of clothing and widen their product lines, sports clothing companies are collaborating with fashion designers. This has led to a number of mergers and acquisitions in the market. Friction reduction, lightness, stretching ability, water resistance and temperature regulation are some innovations in fabrics, which will influence the market. Intense competition from industry frontrunners, constantly evolving fashion trends and price sensitivity of shoppers are challenges faced by players in this market. The ever-changing tastes and preferences of consumers, increasing labour shortages, rising prices of raw materials and unprecedented development in e-commerce are restraining the growth and demand for sports and fitness clothing. The growing popularity of adventure travel and increased participation of women in sports represent opportunities for the global sports and fitness clothing market.”
This story appeared in Apparel July 2016 here: Apparel – July 2016 – Industry Insights – Wear Fit, Stay Fit!