As per industry estimates, the ethnic wear market valued to be of Rs 250,000 crores is estimated to grow at the rate of 12 per cent by 2018 and touch the figure of Rs 500,000 crores. This market space initially owned and operated by traditional retailers has undergone a makeover with the e-retailers such as Jashn, Craftsville and Indianroots.com paving path for the online market of ethnic wear. Also, the traditional retailers including the likes of Meena Bazaar, Fabindia and Triveni, are going online.
Retailer Media caught up with Arvind Saraf, the Director of Triveni – the 29-year-old maker of Sarees and Indian Ethnic wear, who talked about the online approach, the potential in ethnic eCommerce space and changing trends in this segment. Triveni went online in 2011, taking the Triveni collection worldwide (www.triveniethnics.com).
Ethnic market online
Triveniethnics.com established 4 years ago, which is largely about the ethnic wear globally, where people understand culture by better adoption of ethnic wear. For online channel of distribution, we work with people worldwide through a channel of ambassadors. Online stores have been established sector-wise.
Some sectors are naturally easy to adopt such as books and electronics, as consumer knows what to expect out of the product, by going through specifications etc. with fashion, things are entirely different and one picture can’t do justice. Globally, people have the habit of feeling the fabric and hence, the adoption of eCommerce in fashion came of late.
However, the trend has picked up now, but still adaptation of eCommerce in saree retail is a bit more challenging as a typical saree user buying online are not as high in numbers as someone buying a pair of jeans or tops.
Explaining the driving forces of this market, Arvind Saraf asserted, “We have been in the online space since the last 4 years and we have seen the market being driven by two factors – one is the preference of online places which have undergone technology innovation to create a virtual trial room, and other is Internet penetration.”
“Online ethnic retail is not a question of whether or not but is about how and when,” he further added.
Asserting about the price points at the portal, Saraf said, “The price points online start from Rs 300 and go up to 30 thousand. So eventually products which people in all walks of life can afford. The consumers for this 20-30 thousand bracket are the ones residing outside India, who don’t have access to the physical stores. So generally the consumers include NRIs.”
In India, the scene is very different as someone spending a whopping amount of 20 thousand would want to go to the store to purchase. The segment that Triveni hasn’t touched upon is designer wear.
One common change throughout the retail space is convergence. There was a time when designing process was entirely different for Tier I and Tier II than that in Tier III and Tier IV. There were different price range and designs for the consumers in metro and other Tiers. Now with penetration of TV and eCommerce, designing barriers have diminished and uniformity is there.
Other changes is that the prints have evolved, which were earlier restricted to the basics and floral. The mass production based products were floral and geometric and the other segment was more about exclusivity and paintings. Now that art has gone to the mass production industry as well. Earlier, if one wanted contemporary prints, the price barrier was too high. With the way industry has evolved, the market has become a lot more competitive which resulted in better affordability across the area.
“Largely, price conversion and moving from traditional motifs to art especially the regional art are the two major changes this industry has gone through,” said Saraf.
Revenues and industry
Triveni is establishing corporate partnership to help the firms to adopt this attire as dress code and hence, will soon launching a programme where a company can get customised saree with its logo printed on it.
As far as revenues are concerned, online is not about immediate returns, but focuses on futuristic returns. “People are investing in eCommerce not for current returns, but for the growth of online platform. Online is around 10-15 per cent of total sales, but the kind of growth rate it has shown, seems promising,” opined Saraf while commenting on the PE firms investing in ethnic wear industry online.