Growing market of fashion accessories
Growing market of fashion accessories

The fashion accessories market in India is largely dominated by unbranded players, therefore we see a huge market potential for branded players in this segment. Tarun Joshi, director, Crew BOS Products Limited, which has recently entered into fashion accessories retailing through its Crew Republica Retail stores, shares, “Fashion accessories is a very high growth area as there are hardly any branded players present in this segment. And as the fashion awareness in India grows astronomically, the growth in accessories is a natural progression.”

 

As per Joshi, a few years old report estimates the fashion accessories market at around Rs 10,000 crores. The growth rate is estimated at around 20-30 percent per annum. “However, the actual market size would be much larger. In fact recent studies have projected that fashion accessories is destined to be a very high growth area in India,” added Joshi.

Dilip Kapur, director, Hidesign India, the manufacturer and retailer of fashion accessories, largely leather handbags and wallets, said, "The handbag market stands at an approx 1000 crore and is growing at about 20 percent. We have seen a growth of about 23-28 percent in the last two years.”

 

Trends in fashion accessories

Fashion has been a significant segment in the evolution of Indian retail industry, not due to its size but the way it has influenced the Indian lifestyle. And with the rising disposable income and consumer’s 'Look Good, Feel Good' attitude, fashion accessories are gaining popularity among consumers. Kapur says, “Customers are evaluating their spending, more money get allocated to accessories as they are used more often and complete the look.” Currently, fusion in its many variations is the biggest trend around and it will get bigger in future. As more people start to appreciate the value fashion brings to them, they are bound to mix and match the new with the comfortable. Also, television and social media make the latest in fashion available in an instant. “Crew Republica mainly targets youth population. There is a tremendous scope for a cult brand of accessories for the Indian youth (70 percent of our population is under 35 years) at an affordable price -- a gap that crew Republica is addressing,” said Joshi.

 

Apart from BTL and ATL marketing, brands are now moving towards social media marketing. Elaborating on the same, Kapur said, ““As the customer gets younger and more media savvy, we have also moved with them. Online and social networking spaces will require an extra push in the coming time.”

 

However, the breakeven time in fashion accessories business can vary from brand to brand and the product offering. There are no fixed rules as it all depends on target customer, brand positioning, pricing and the planned marketing strategy. “We keep six months to a year for our new shops to break even,” shares Joshi.  

 

Brands venturing into accessories retail

Today we see lots of apparel brands also venturing into fashion accessories market. According to Kapur, “Apparel brands are trying to ensure they retain customers by expanding their product range. Unless the product offering is sufficiently unique, the competition will only get tougher.” Adding to the point, Joshi comments, “Since fashion accessory has a huge market potential with very few brands into it, it is this gap that apparel brands are trying to encase. However, this scenario will change when more accessory brands enter the Indian market.” As organized retail expands to tier II and III cities, more people will become acclimatized to shopping in newer formats. “Though the challenges for us come from cheaper, poor quality imitations from the unorganized segment,” says Joshi.

 

Tommy Hilfiger, the leading lifestyle brand, also launched its two exclusive accessories store in Pune and Chandigarh on November 2010. Tommy Hilfiger was launched in India in 2004 by the Murjani Group. When asked, what made the company launch exclusive stores for accessories, Mohan Murjani, chairman, Murjani Group, said, “As our range of accessories continue to widen, we do not have sufficient space to fully display these products at our present Tommy Hilfiger exclusive brand outlets. Secondly, the demand for Tommy Hilfiger accessories is growing rapidly. Further, the company plans to open 500 accessory stores in the next three to five years”.

 

When asked about the idea behind launching, Crew Republica Retail, Joshi reverted, “The parent company, Crew BOS Products Limited, is India’s foremost exporter of leather goods from India which supplies products to some of the leading accessories brands worldwide, especially in US and Europe. Renowned for its excellence in design, the company decided to forward integrate by launching its own brand of accessories, Crew Republica and retail was the logical channel to drive such a venture.”

 

Going through the market potential, LuckyClover, a leading USA based fashion jewellery manufacturer and retailer has recently entered India with its Murano glass fashion jewellery and collections. Speaking about its retail venture, Natalie Hesse, founder and CEO, LuckyClover, Inc., said, “Our novel jewellery concepts are easily applicable to the middle and upper middle consumer classes in India, comprising of brand conscious customers with sophisticated tastes and low price sensitivity.”

 

Apart from Crew Republica, Hidesign and LuckyClover, Tommy Hilfiger some other fashion accessories brands include Esprit, Max, Burberry, Spencer’s Retail Ltd, Reliance Trends, Archies, Pavers England, Spykar Lifestyle Pvt Ltd, Nike, Christian Dior, etc.

 

Future growth potential

As the tier II and tier III cities are showing high growth potential, more and more brands are moving towards these cities. “We have over 50 exclusive stores across India and about a 100 multi brand outlets which include shop-in-shops. We have been moving towards tier II and III cities in the past few years. Cities such as Mangalore, Mysore, Jaipur, Guwahati and Aurangabad look promising,” said Kapur. Companies are also keen on expanding through franchise route. Joshi said, “Currently we will be aggressively expanding our exclusive outlets and enter large format stores. In two to three years, we will seek to enter distribution channel, franchisee-based expansion and the international markets.” With the vision to establish a strong foothold across India, LuckyClover also plans to enter and expand their presence aggressively through a master franchise route.

 

According to industry experts, there is space for a lot more brands to enter in fashion accessories segment as the market is young and growing rapidly. Concluding at the end, Joshi summaries, “We see Indian fashion accessories industry as one of the fastest growing segments in the fashion industry.”

 

 
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How Covid-19 has Impacted the Dairy Industry?
How Covid-19 has Impacted the Dairy Industry?
 

The Covid-19 pandemic now in its second year and with lockdown restrictions still in place has taken a toll on the retail industry and the supply chain. With the uncertainty of the pandemic still at large, the consumer's habit of mass buying and stocking up on essential items has not stopped. Thus, the supply gap gave impetus to local brands and increased consumption of dairy products. This shift enabled local and regional brands with local manufacturing units and distribution networks to plug the supply gap.

The Shift in Consumer Preference 

Despite the challenges, one of the sectors in India that handled the pandemic well is the dairy industry, especially in terms of packed dairy products. What boosted the industry was that the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically affected consumer’s dietary habits. As the lockdown gave people the opportunity to rustle up dishes just like chefs do, the broadening culinary engagement pushed up consumption of dairy products.

With more and more people locked in their homes, consumers ended up spending extended hours in their kitchens, thus, leading to a surge in household consumption of dairy products. Demand for categories such as cheese and paneer witnessed an especially greater demand due to their versatile nature. 

Also, another factor that is aiding dairy product consumption is the growing preference for nutritious vegetarian food. As Indians quite often see vegetarianism more as a good virtue rather than a life choice, the negativity of the pandemic and lockdown led people to opt to eat more paneer and other packaged dairy items as compared to non-vegetarian options. Hence, the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing focus on nutrition have boosted paneer sales.

Over the last 12 months and going forward, consumer behavior will be different than it was pre-pandemic, and as that behavior takes root, dairy products supply chains will need to adjust from farm-to-fork. Furthermore, the pandemic also ensured consumers stirred away from loosely available products and chose to consume more locally available or regional branded dairy products. This caused an accelerated shift in the supply chain and vastly prompted PM Modi’s vision of ‘Vocal for Local’.

Although the biggest component of India’s dairy market is liquid milk, seeing the demand for longer-lasting value products, manufacturers converted the surplus milk into highly demanded value-added dairy products such as paneer, butter, cheese, ghee, and sweets, thus further boosting the dairy industry.

Most importantly, the global pandemic being a major health crisis, was the silver lining for the dairy industry. While other industries and sectors across India struggled, Indian consumers turned towards indulging in homemade comfort food. Consumer choices shifted to consuming products made from organic materials. This set manufacturers in the dairy sector to expand their product offerings.

How Bright is the Future?

As the end of the pandemic remains uncertain, and the best option for survival being hygiene and health, people have realized that it’s important to improve one’s immunity. Hence, consumption of dairy-based ingredients continues to be the favorable option for many.

Furthermore, Covid-19 has brought about a shift in the buying pattern of consumers and many dairy players acknowledge food safety has fuelled a growing trend in consumer preference towards packaged and branded products.

The outlook for the dairy sector in India continues to be positive on the back of government support, increasing population, per capita consumption, and expenditure on value-added products such as paneer, cheese, and butter items.

In the long run, the domestic demand for value-added products such as paneer will only continue to rise. Towards strengthening the value-added product market, the Government may consider measures such as rationalization of GST to build market resilience, giving further impetus to regional brands.

Moreover, the dairy industry, which was facing headwinds during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, has turned this crisis into an opportunity as the supply and consumption of value-added dairy products has risen and only continues to witness an upward trajectory.
 

 

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Why Retailers are Betting Big on Sustainable Fashion?
Why Retailers are Betting Big on Sustainable Fashion?
 

Sustainability is a strategical decision of operating in the ecological, social and economic environment without leaving any negative footprint. Businesses these days are focusing on being ethical and sustainable where social media is also acting as an essential tool in educating customers about its importance. Businesses too are promoting their activities and stories, raising awareness towards sustainability. As todays’ consumer is well-educated and environmentally conscious, thus making the fashion brands deliver the same too. 

Though the retail fashion industry is known for ‘trends’ and ‘fast-fashion’, there is a shift seen in the popularity towards sustainable fashion and eco-friendly shopping. 

As per the report by UN Environment Programme, “10 percent of global carbon emissions are produced by the fashion industry”. Quoting that this is “more than all international flights and maritime shipping”. 

Fashion brands are now focusing on trending pieces in consumer’s wardrobes with responsible and ethical choices. The consumer is making conscious buying decisions keeping the organic and natural brand value of the retailer in mind, as the same reflects their personality too. 

There is a huge increase in search of ‘sustainability-related keywords’ as per the report by Lyst, which include searches like ‘recycled polyester, ‘vegan leather’, ‘organic hemp’ ‘Econyl’, ‘organic cotton’, ‘modal’ and many more. 

Fashion and Environment

Fashion brands are ready to change the game with the ultimate goal of ‘good for people and planet’. The global ethical fashion market is expected “to grow to $9.81 billion in 2025 and $15.17 billion in 2030 at a CAGR of 9.1 percent” as per the numbers by sustainable fashion industry statics. 

There is a huge shift observed in consumer behavior during a survey made by Mckinsey towards sustainability goals. Consumers are more conscious in terms of their lifestyle to lessen the environmental impact, they are looking for more for recycling of the product and even expecting environment-friendly packaging too. Thus, sustainability is going to be on top of the mind of consumers and brands in the coming future by building emotional attachment and delivering end-to-end sustainable brands. 

Elisa Niemtzow, VP, Consumer Sectors & Membership at BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) mentioned, “Consumers’ growing interest in ‘zero-waste’ and ‘no buy’ in fashion and beauty signals growing sensitivities in consumers to question their purchases and align them with their values.” 

A meaningful change is expected if consumers, businesses, and brands align their functions with SDGs for everyone with everything on it.

Sustainable and Conscious Fashion Brands 

The brand which achieved the highest rating when it comes to sustainability in fashion is ‘Stella McCartney’ known as a pioneer of eco-friendly ethical luxury fashion, which offered sustainable wardrobe alternative. The strategy of the brand stands on 4 strong pillars, which takes care of people (ensuring smooth supply chain), respect for nature (ensuring environmentally friendly fabric), caring for animals (ensuring animal welfare), and providing circular solutions (3R as environmental Mantra). 

Keeping all these benefits of being sustainable various brands are saving the planet from harmful pesticides and toxic chemicals. Every brand has a different focus in terms of serving Mother Earth and being sustainable, like empowering the rural weavers (FabIndia), using full natural Indian textiles (The Jodi Life), handspun fabric for fashion enthusiasts (KhadiCult), using organic cotton (Pero), recycled cotton (Chola The Label), engaging women in making re-cycled bottle (The Body Shop), eco-friendly textile (Anokhi), empowering rural women (Okhai), using organic fibers (Nicobar), zero waste mission (Doodlage, Insom, Homanwear), surplus cotton fabric (Pomogrenade) and many more. 

Many brands are adapting to a new eco-friendly fashion by a sustainable lifestyle, Mio Borsa producing vegan leather, Maati using up-cycled fabric, B Label is a revolutionary agro-based co., Viscose Staple Fibre by Aditya Birla Group as LIVA fabric, and a wide range of vegan apparel is made available by No Nasties. 

Todays’ consumer is ready to pay more for the brands promising for a healthy environment, up-cycling waste material, eco-friendly structure and reaching out to older generation to millennials by narrating their brand stories. 

Sustainable Fashion for Better Future

Brands have to be conscious from manufacturing (making) to end of use (disposing of) in the context of fashion. The practice of being ethical and sustainable should be a norm to be practiced by all fashion players in the coming time. 

Your consumer is well educated, show them in detail the fabric of your cloth, how the same is different from others with the business model your business is aiming for. 

According to a FashionScope report by McKinsey, “Sustainability is making ground in India, where the local market is forecast to reach nearly $60 billion in revenues in 2022, making it the sixth-largest in the world after the U.K. and Germany”. 

The government is also making its efforts towards making Indian fashion more sustainable; Arvind Mills and Raymond are promoting Khadi products in partnership with Air India and bamboo charcoal fiber was also highlighted by NITI Ayog Forum for North East. 

Whether the product is sustainable or not, brands have to market the same in an environment-friendly way by making the product more durable as well as focusing on the supply chain.

 

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2021 Denim Trends to Look Out For!
2021 Denim Trends to Look Out For!
 

The enduring appeal of denim is that in the 140-odd years of its existence, it’s become one of the most popular fabrics in the world. The fabric remains a favourite among young designers, experimenting with cut, wash and finish to take familiar denim jackets and jeans to surreal new heights and consumers who are accepting these variations positively. 

Fashion-conscious consumers want clothes with a strong identity that can help them define themselves. Experimentation and an envelope-pushing attitude are a means of making clothes that become an extreme want instead of an essential need. Beneath the excessive embellishment is an appreciation of individuality. A redefining of aspirational dressing will cater to young consumers who wish to express themselves through clothing with a personalised approach that allows them to stand out from the crowd. 

Ideas around age are changing; 30 is the new 20, and 40 is the new 30 – and with this, a new, youthful focus permeates fashion, with broad appeal across generations. The line between ‘grown-up’ and ‘youthful’ clothes is blurring. Street inspired collections and street wear fashion is on a rise. This displays in clothing that overlaps the line between casual and smart. Nostalgia will always play an important role in fashion. 

The renewed interest in vintage denim, both in fit and fabric, has taught consumers the value of authenticity. There will be a growing appreciation for more considered wardrobes built with future-proof items over the instant gratification of throwaway fashion. There will be a more artful approach to product and design, going beyond high-quality basics to ensure both the enduring appeal and identity defining character of their signature items.

Denim this season takes indigo to a whole new level through a gamut of washes and techniques. Washes like Ice wash,  bleached blue wash, ombrés add fluidity and summer lightness to the collection. There will be an emphasis on  clean and mild washes with a raw touch while distressed and authentic used look denim will be there as  high fashion products. We could see the introduction of relaxed fits, which are ideal for easy-breezy summer days. The old-school relaxed fit is precisely the kind of denim that fashion conscious consumers are looking for.

A portion of the trend this spring-summer is retro and 80s inspired. Fabric plays a very crucial role as the styling gets minimal this season.

Classic jeans are revamped this season. Denim basics and workwear are fine-tuned in an artistic way. Artfully updated denim assortments with subverted design details and concept cuts that give classic items an edgier appeal. Denims are embellished with patches in embroidered and print form. Craftsmanship is key, as younger consumers become infatuated with time-proven classics.

Love of retro style from the late 80s develops a global influence. Inspiration is taken from Native American culture, military clothing and vintage denim style, and melded with contemporary Japanese design to form a distinctive Japanese-American aesthetic. Hand-painted prints further enhance this story's tasteless aspect.

Casual looks become more directional while paying homage to country styling. Simplicity and comfort rule the day in this deconstructed and unfussy trend. Workwear classics are updated with new design details and silhouettes, while rich burnt tones add a subtle nuance. A new type of uniform emerges that is utility-inspired but decidedly non-military in presentation. Standard-issue styles get a street-wear update with exaggerated pockets, functional straps, and anti-fit silhouettes. Utility greens are contrasted with oranges, while washed blues keep this look grounded and signal the coming of summer. Manufacturing advancements blur the line between product categories, where lightweight layers blend shirts with jackets and outerwear. Specialised treatments and utility details are as important as the items themselves. 

Beach-inspired casualwear is updated, with retro references from the 70s inspiring striking graphics and textures, while hybrid styling with global crafts and Eastern influences adds sophistication. Resort-inspired trend focuses as much on how we feel in our clothing as how we feel about it. Easy tailoring and smart casualwear are inspired by 80s leisurewear and country club styles. Denims in striking blue or stark white are teamed with formal shirting and lightweight outerwear for a slick take on off-duty style. 

Different kinds of colour dyes and dyeing techniques are gaining popularity, and this story goes one step further by using dyes on denim products. Over dyed and tinted jeans are some of key fashion products this season. Classic stripes are spliced in this story, and solid denim is interrupted with flashes of global craft patterns in striking tones.

High functionality and utility details will be a popular trend this season. Versatile products crafted out of rigid and stretch fabrics with functional details will be looked upon. Ergonomic patterning and construction will be added to the product. Consumers will be looking for multi-purpose jeans, which can be worn at different occasions, and a single pair can solve dressing complexities of the entire day.
 

 

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Food Hygiene Becomes Foremost Priority for Consumers Post COVID-19
Food Hygiene Becomes Foremost Priority for Consumers Post COVID-19
 

One of the most desirable consequences of Covid-19 has been the increased all-round consciousness for hygiene. And among several types of hygiene such as personal hygiene, environmental hygiene etc which impact our day-to-day lives, food hygiene has naturally emerged as a major issue for regulators, consumers and above all, for food manufacturers and companies. The constant need to be watchful of what is ingested or goes inside of our bodies can never be exaggerated enough. The recent pandemic has only further highlighted the need for making food hygiene a priority for all. 

Unpackaged Food: An Invitation to Disaster 

There has been repeated reporting of how the open and unpackaged food sold in the streets, fashionably called street food, has in a way been responsible for unsafe and unhygienic food consumption in the country. Particularly, during the pandemic, if the food maker doesn’t maintain personal hygiene, wears masks and gloves and keeps sufficient physical distance from fellow workers, the food prepared is highly risky to consume. 

The unhygienic and unsafe food leads to a vicious cycle of disease and sickness particularly impacting the elderly, the sick and the children, adding to the already high burden of disease pervading in the country.   

Food-Borne Diseases: An Economic Cost

The rise in outbreak of food-borne diseases and safety cases has continued to be reported periodically from different parts of the country. In fact, unsafe food and water have been cited to be the biggest cause of preventable infection in India. Not pursuing basic food safety practices such as wearing an apron, accessing and using tap water, using soap for cleaning utensils, and storing food in proper refrigerated facilities is an invitation to food-borne diseases. This also has an economic cost. It has been estimated that food-borne diseases cost the country a whopping $15 billion.

The Numbers Are Far Too Scary to Ignore

In India, food-borne diseases (FBD) lead to 120,000 deaths each year imposing a burden of over 8 million Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs). In fact, children under 5 years are at 40 percent more risk with around 30,000 deaths each year. These are frightening figures which are only expected to rise further in the coming years. 

The Pandemic-Driven Exigency 

These ongoing measures were given a new impetus when Covid-19 showed up resulting in a new set of guidelines. In addition to the existing food safety protocols, the food businesses were directed to ensure that food handlers and workers are made aware of the symptoms of the virus, the risks emanating from it as well as the good practices to circumvent those risks. Training programmes on risk factors, safe food handling, social distancing and other protective behaviours such as wearing of face mask, hand washing with soap or using alcohol-based sanitizers were made mandatory. In addition, food premises including areas of food establishment such as preparation, storage and packing areas, equipment and containers besides toilets and washrooms were to be periodically sanitized without fail. There should be limited food workers/ handlers in a kitchen or areas of food preparation, packaging etc with each worker strictly maintaining personal/social distancing. Further, the personnel involved in delivery, transport and distribution mechanisms must also rigorously observe Covid-related social distancing and personal hygiene norms and practices.

Therefore, for food to be finally consumed in a safe and hygienic manner, it must become high priority for the entire ecosystem of food manufacturing, distribution and consumption. From hospitality and restaurants to food manufacturers and food vendors to food handlers and finally the food-consuming individual, everyone needs to be aware of and engage in hygienic food practices. “A man is what he eats,” a German philosopher had once said. Good food hygiene practices not only reduce morbidity and mortality but also relieve pressure on the already overburdened health infrastructure and services in the country. And even more importantly, by keeping more people healthy and thereby raising the quality of human capital, the much-touted demographic dividend in the country can truly be tapped.

 

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How an Omnichannel Retail Experience Will Transform the Furniture Industry in Post-Pandemic World?
How an Omnichannel Retail Experience Will Transform the Furniture Industry in Post-Pandemic World?
 

COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns have reshaped how we live, shop, and interact with each other. One of the biggest transitions so far is work from home (WFH), which will only stay, with more and more companies increasingly adopting it the world over.

The pandemic has also affected several industries and pushed them to innovate further. The furniture industry is no different from this standpoint.

The sector witnessed a significant slowdown in sales and operations, especially during the initial lockdowns when consumers were locked in their homes. The remote working culture clearly came as a bummer to the offline furniture business. Even when the markets began to reopen after a few months, consumers continued to stay at home primarily because of the fear of contracting the coronavirus.

However, at the same time, this transition also created a new opportunity for businesses to go digital and start selling furniture online. As consumers shifted to buying furniture online, brands and retailers in this space began to capitalize on these new possibilities.

Rise of Online Furniture

With home spaces emerging as their new work zones, a major part of India’s corporate employees started investing in home office furniture, including study tables, laptop tables, office chairs, bean bags, and recliners, among others. Similarly, a significant part of sales also came from the increasing demand for gaming chairs, as the options for outdoor entertainment had drastically reduced during this period.

Not only millennials and Gen Z have switched to online furniture brands, but traditional consumers have also started embracing these online retail models in the recent past. The Indian e-commerce industry, which was slated to become a USD 200 billion market by 2026, seems to achieve this goal much earlier, as highlighted by the IBEF industry research report.

The Growing Role of a Business Website

To bank on the new growth avenues that online brings to the table, businesses must start paying more attention to their official websites. At a time when Google search is the first thing that consumers engage in before shopping, it’s essential for businesses to make their website their new business card.

To achieve this objective, they must prioritize digital merchandising and strive to establish a robust online presence. Investing in activities like podcasts/webinars, virtual product tours, and 360-view showroom presentations can work wonders. Doing so will not only help them drive awareness around their brand and the products they offer, but it will also make the entire shopping journey more seamless and effective.

The Need for Robust Supply Chains

As online retail for furniture expands across India, businesses must maintain a strong supply chain to ensure quick and seamless delivery of products. They must equip themselves with the right tools and response strategies to tackle any unexpected emergencies or interruptions that could hinder their operations. Aspects like production-capacity optimization, demand management, cross-tier risk transparency, etc., should be looked at with greater precision to prevent unforeseen disruptions. All these factors will ultimately decide which businesses will thrive or be outshined by competitors.

Design-Driven Approach and Quality At Scale

With the deluge of companies and brands across India, retailers must manufacture and promote competitive products that are unique in nature and design, and ensure that no other brand can imitate the same. Apart from this, they should also focus on manufacturing quality products at scale that are easily affordable. For this, it’s highly crucial to provide the MSME sector with the much-needed fillip in the form of initiatives that focus on easy access to funds, skill development, and indigenous crafting abilities. Not only will this ramp up domestic sales, but it will also attract foreign brands to invest in the same.

Turn Omnichannel

Retailers must also note that offline experience can never get outdated and will continue to play a vital role in success despite the immense growth of online business models. An online presence alone will not be sufficient for them to ensure success in these times. Therefore, they must adapt to an omnichannel ecosystem to offer the best of both worlds (online and offline) to consumers. Although online has gained impressive traction over the years, and unexpected events like COVID-19 have added to the popularity, businesses must realize that it can never replace the element of ‘touch and feel’ when it comes to buying furniture.

Hence, an omnichannel approach, where consumers can get 24x7 assistance during their online shopping journey, be it related to placing orders or any other query through real-time chat and video call. At the same time, they should also be enabled to experience the product, which can be done through creating more experience stores in the nearby markets that are close to consumers. Providing this kind of blended commerce experience to consumers is of utmost importance for brands to taste success in the post-COVID era.

Final Word

India’s domestic furniture market is slated to clock at a CAGR of 12.91% between 2020 and 2024 owing to the rapid developments and innovation in this space. The global market, on the other hand, is estimated at USD 1.1 trillion. Comparing them will give you a clear idea of how much growth potential India currently holds. Our furniture industry has an immense and endless growth possibility, especially due to the burgeoning demand for comfortable furniture, which has gained more traction in the post-COVID era.

To leverage the untapped growth opportunities in the times to come, brands must focus on four key factors. One, consolidation of the fragmented market through standardization. Two, connected commerce that combines both emotional and functional elements of the consumer experience. Third, emphasizing domestic manufacturing in terms of both scale and quality by leveraging initiatives like Make in India and Vocal for Local. Lastly, bringing Indian artisanship to the forefront with concerted efforts towards design sensibility on supply and demand sides. Looking at the mindful behavior of today’s progressive Indian consumers, a holistic approach keeping in mind all the aforementioned factors will play a pivotal role and help brands thrive in the post-pandemic world.

 

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How Watch Brands Have Moved Towards E-Retailing?
How Watch Brands Have Moved Towards E-Retailing?
 

The pandemic has driven commerce and trade onto the internet. This is especially true for the retail businesses as we have witnessed it changing over the past ten months.  

Significant changes in consumer shopping behavior are here to stay. Online buying has increased multifold, though the impact on price segments, is not clearly quantifiable just yet. With people restrained in their houses, their methods of dealing with isolation and uncertainty are reflected in their newly acquired shopping behavior. This includes bulk-buying, increased online surfing, and unpredictability in what, when, how, and where they buy things. Market dynamics are changing, so are the fortunes of business verticals. Brands are now grappling with the question of “where the customer”? 

While it was the Gen Z kids doing most of the online purchasing in the pre-pandemic period, now they have been joined by Gen X, Y, and even the 'baby-boomers’. Everyone is online and the retailers have started focusing on how they can cater to the requirements of each generation. The COVID-19 has changed the way we use the internet; in many households, buying groceries and shopping apparel online have replaced store and mall visits.

When it comes to luxury products like watches – Swiss Luxury Watch brands that earlier hardly considered the internet a serious retailing option, are today fighting for eyeballs. With minimal to no outdoor activity, the watch industry has been facing its most challenging time since its revival in the early ‘90s. This period of uncertainty has resulted in brands rescheduling the launch of novelties and repositioning existing collections.

Urbanization across the country is impacting the millennials and demand for products that are aesthetically pleasing, unique with smart features, and projecting a luxury appeal are gaining in popularity. Interestingly, price is not a game-changer. Brand value is.

Marketing and PR budgets have been completely reworked and the focus has shifted to social media with the print medium losing its traction among most TGs. Though we are separated physically, social media acts as a fantastic way for various communities to connect. With social media flourishing, Bloggers and Influencers have replaced Brand Ambassadors, and a personality is associated with a brand only for a limited duration. This pandemic has brought in a lot of business disruptions and has led to brands re-think their marketing strategy. Brand collaborations are on the rise. Co-branding has also become a norm rather than an exception, and brands are open to making connections across different genres.

The Swiss watch brands have been consistently making efforts to bring in new product innovations that will create a connect with the upcoming generation. One thing the watch brands could capitalize on during the pandemic is the smartwatch features that are becoming a rage with the new generation. A whole collection of “smartwatches” with multiple functions and connectivity are now offered by Swiss brands. Clearly, the target audience seems to be the young urban youth.

The lines between fashion, lifestyle, and luxury are getting blurred as brands have started to realise how customers have evolved and exposure has increased. One important aspect for Gen-Z, while they are shopping online, is that they are always on the look-out for the next big thing in the market. With new features and an improved line of products making its appearance in the market almost every other day, the brands have been trying their best to stay relevant and fresh during these unprecedented times.

The good news is that work from home routines have actually increased disposable income, though net income may have decreased. These are the megabucks that brands are chasing.

 

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How Pandemic has Changed Grocery Retailing in India?
How Pandemic has Changed Grocery Retailing in India?
 

It’s tough when the markets change and all sectors are forced to innovate. In today’s social distance minded economy, the game of grocery retail, in particular, has changed a lot. 

When lives and livelihoods were at threat, grocery retailers played a vital role in society. Plagues and pandemics have occurred earlier too but grocery shopping has seen a drastic change approximately after 200 years. The act of buying is not changing, what is changing is how the customer will buy?  

Indian grocery retail has seen many transformations from haat, to weekly bazaar, to neighbourhood stores, to mom-and-pop stores, to new age experiential mall culture. The latest catchphrase ‘new normal’ is bringing new trends and changes in the retail business. Even last year during Diwali, Indian e-commerce has seen the expansion of e-groceries instead of electronics or big items as in the previous year. 

According to Albinder Dhindsa, CEO, Grofers, “Groceries have become the focus in this season where people are staying at home and not mingling with each other.”

The contribution which e-grocery (less than 5 percent) used to make within e-commerce is changing. 

As per the report by RedSeer and BigBasket, “Currently the online food and grocery retail hold a minuscule part of online retail with only 0.2 percent penetration and it is predicted to grow by 55 percent to reach 1.2 percent of the market by 2023.” 

Future Customer

According to a famous saying by George Bernard Shaw, “There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” And despite the struggle, the grocery retail business rose and met the challenges posed by the pandemic. The industry has confronted the changes in consumer buying behavior patterns and saw an emergence of new consumer segments. 

‘Back with a Bang’, ‘Stay Frugal’, ‘Keep Cutting’, ‘Cautiously Extravagant’ and ‘Get to Normal’ are the five new consumer segments as per EY Future Consumer Index. This pandemic has given momentum to the grocery business and these segments have helped in leveraging that momentum. 

The Indian market has the largest consumer segment, and as per the data by Invest India. “The overall retail market is set to cross the $1.75 trillion mark by 2026, and it is set to grow at a CAGR of 30 percent for gross merchandise value to be worth $200 billion by 2026.”

Online grocery space has accelerated and start-ups in the online grocery sector raised $665.7 million funding in 2019. With penetration of the internet, usage of smartphones, disposable income, adoption of 5G, and literacy towards technology, this online grocery dream is expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2023 from the consumer pockets of Tier II and Tier III cities. 

Click and Collect

The biggest change to grocery has been the boom in online ordering - making orders either through phone, WhatsApp, e-mail or website. The consumer is getting all India delivery of branded products through digital India without any geographical constraints. Powerful AI algorithms have given a push to online ordering by creating a personalized experience for customers along with targeted marketing. 

BigBasket reported that the brand has seen a three-fold growth in terms of the order in new customer acquisition, while retention of new customer cohorts has increased by 60 percent. 

On one side where surveys are reporting the inclination of consumers towards online shopping, the fact of maintaining CDP data or using AI for delivering excellent results cannot be ignored. 

Frank Sinopoli, President, Grocery Neighbor said, “Things are changing, the world is chaotic and with that comes opportunity.”

He started a 53-feet long truck with floating carts delivering fresh produce to food deserts and connecting local farmers with their communities. India under its Atam Nirbhar plan has also started ‘Citymandi’ a mobile martin the Uber model. The vision ensures the direct purchase from farmers, innovative technology to manage the supply chain, and an AI-enabled cloud system. Many retail experts have strengthened their delivery services during Covid-19, apps like UberEats, Amazon Prime/ Now, InstaCart have contributed a lot in shipping the groceries straight to the door. 

BigBasket, a unicorn in the field, and Grofers, soon to be a unicorn, with many other players in the online grocery market has seen 76 percent y-o-y sales in 2020.  

Managing inventory through inventory-based model (Amazon, Supermarket, Grofers, Paytm Mall), Hyperlocal model (Dunzo, Swiggy, Instamart), and Mixed model (Flipkart, Reliance Jio) - each player carves a piece of pie with smooth delivery in minimal time. 

A recent partnership of Grofers with Reckitt Benckiser with ‘Deliver Safe Program’ to win customers' confidence in online shopping will break the chain of infection. 

How to Boost Growth

Decisions made by the grocery market in today’s scenario are going to create a competitive advantage beyond 2020. Data is the key and advanced algorithms with next-generation personalization will help in maintaining a loyal customer base for small and big grocery players in the coming time. The frictionless experience encourages satisfaction and can make the consumer purchase repeatedly because of flexibility in terms of preparing the cart (real-time talk to customer support), making it easy checkout (pay online or pick up in-store), or delivery of out-of-stock items to the doorstep. 

Like other online retail businesses, smart-shelf technology to manage the expanded category can be implemented by the grocery business to manage the inventory. 

Pandemic has created uncertainty, grocery retailers that will ensure agility, automation, handling cross-channel assortment, and redress the operations based on emerging dynamics will thrive in the post-Covid world.  
 

 

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Packaged Sweets: Revolutionizing Packaged Food Industry
Packaged Sweets: Revolutionizing Packaged Food Industry
 

With packaged food industry as a whole evolving and maturing in the country in recent years, packaged sweets have come to register as an integral part of that process. In fact, the traditional popularity of sweets coupled with an increased consumer consciousness of hygiene and cleanliness has made sure that packaged sweets have acquired an extraordinary traction. Popularity of sweets offered in a hygienic package itself in a way is giving a fillip to the packaged food industry in the country. 

In other words, packaged sweets are revolutionizing the packaged food industry. With authorities increasingly clamping down and tightening norms around food labeling and general safety and hygiene, this is further serving the cause of packaged food industry.        

The Emerging Packaged Food Landscape

Even before Covid-19 had ‘bared its fangs,’ the Indian packaged food sector had been on a positive trajectory. For instance, last year it was reported how packaged food industry had recorded an impressive over 14 percent growth for April to August period. However, what is particularly notable is that this growth had occurred despite the wider consumption slowdown. 

In more recent times, while western snacks have been a high growth category, RTE as emerged as a high potential category. In terms of sales, Tier 1 and metro markets have been the best performers with rural and rest of urban areas contributing almost similarly. Therefore, with a permanently large middle-class with increasingly hectic schedules and busy lifestyles, the room for ready-to-serve packaged food can never be enough for the Indian market and there will always be room for growth. 

The Sheer Range of Sweets Available is a Hugely Motivating Factor

Representing both traditional and the modern, the Indian sweet market is characterized by an extraordinary array of offerings. From traditional milk-based sweets and open mithais offered by unorganised and traditional sweet shops to sweets and confectionery products prepared by organised bakeries, to specialized milk-based products by dairy establishments to luxury mithai brands promoted by a new-age confectioners to organic sweets by modern food brands, the range of sweets products available in the country is simply mindboggling. 

Growing at a CAGR of over 12 percent for almost a decade, the confectionery market alone is estimated at $1.5 billion.  Another research estimates that confectionery and snack market is to grow by over 10 percent between 2020 and 2025. This huge array of items would definitely give a massive stimulus to the packaged food as well as the packaging industry in the country.   

The Growing Packaging Industry 

At the same time, with increasing investment in food processing industries, rapid expansion of organized retail and rising exports market, the packaging industry itself has seen a considerable gain. The need for improvement in shelf life, maintenance of the pace of production while upholding quality necessarily requires high standardized and quality packaging. With improvement in packaging methods and technologies such as the emergence of eco-friendly packaging such as biodegradable technologies, nanofabrication technologies and the shift from rigid to flexible packaging, the packaging industry is undergoing considerable upgrading and change. It has been forecast that the Indian food and beverage packaging market is set to cross US$ 122 billion by 2025 from about US$ 26 billion in 2019 at a CAGR of nearly 30 percent.

Government Tightening Norms

With food regulatory authorities increasingly raising the bar for quality and hygiene for sweet products and even snack category, the packaged food industry would receive further boost. Only in February this year it was reported how local sweet shops had to mandatorily display ‘best before date’ and the date of manufacturing on non-packaged and loose sweets kept in a container or tray, a more stringent norm than the then existing labeling rules which required these details for pre-packaged/ pre-packed sweets only. Such measures could only add to the push for packaged food industry. Significantly, prompted by sustainable environmental concerns, the government is also adopting polices to promote recyclable technologies for packaging. 

Therefore, as Covid-19 has precipitated an all-out migration to packaged food away from open, loose and perceivably unhygienic food and snack culture, packaged sweets and confectionery category would impart the strongest push to the packaged food industry. Despite the recent societal and consumerist drive for healthy and nutritional snacking, the sweets and mithais would continue to form an indispensable part of the country’s food culture which in turn would give a sustained thrust to the packaged food industry. Given that small packs of Rs 5/10 contribute to 70-80 percent of the sales in snacks category, this is encouraging. After all, guilty pleasures can be derived from small packs, since once can never really wish them away.

 

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Witness the marvels of nature with Rahul Mishra's New Spring Summer 2021 collection- The Dawn
Witness the marvels of nature with Rahul Mishra's New Spring Summer 2021 collection- The Dawn
 

The Philosophy

In its incomprehensible ways, nature knows how to sustain herself. When the last tree is felled, life will sprout from the cracks and blanket what is left behind. The starry night will conspire with crystal dew drops and concoct an array of bright hued mushrooms. Rings of magic will emerge. Entrapments of old souls, akin to a billion years ago, frilling in layers and ornamented with wildflowers—will be penchants of a new dawn.

Death will translate into life. Like a beautiful beginning veiled in a painful ending, weed, lichens & ‘the mushroom’—shall render old to new. Perhaps the growth circles of a tree will re-form themselves on the skin of a mushroom only to say, that the soul lives on. The utopian aftermath due to human deeds where life will refill the planet after we are gone.

The Collection

‘The Dawn’ contemplates the state of environmental damage and imagines the world that shall live beyond the interference of the human species. It emerges from an intensified realisation during the lockdown that the humans may not have to save the planet, but themselves. The planet perhaps shall survive regardless and the human species may succumb to their weakness. Filmed in a pristine marble dump-yard situated in the state of Rajasthan in India, the collection represents a flush of life. A retrieval of colour to a world drained of its natural resources, abundance and animation through years of piling marble dust.

Witness the marvels of nature with Rahul Mishra’s New Spring Summer 2021 collection- The Dawn

The models, as nature herself, wear exotic mushrooms separately hand tacked over the glimmering tree-bark-texture hand embroidered on tulle and silk organza that is further embellished with wildflowers. As says the botanist, Nicholas P. Money, ‘Mushrooms are masterpieces of natural engineering, the most wondrous inventions in evolutionary history.’ Each of the mushroom forms is individually engineered through a unique pattern making process assisted by novel hand embroidery techniques, in order to achieve a realistic fall and movement.

The Silhouettes

Shape shifting silhouettes constructed with meticulous placement of these forms aim to replicate life in convergence with human imagination. A coming together of hands to lay the quintessential craft of hand embroidery alongside design intervention and contemporary application of our core values of slow, ethical & sustainable couture. Garments that wish to propose to its viewer, a simple question—do we wish to continue witnessing the marvels of nature present to us on this planet? Because we may be required to dig within ourselves for wisdom and realise the change.

Witness the marvels of nature with Rahul Mishra’s New Spring Summer 2021 collection- The Dawn

“What mushrooms have taught me about the meaning of life”

—Nicholas P Money, Professor of Botany and Western Program Director at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio

“Mushrooms are masterpieces of natural engineering. The overnight appearance of the fruit body is a pneumatic process, with the inflation of millions of preformed cells extending the stem, pushing earth aside, and unfolding the cap. Once exposed, the gills of a meadow mushroom shed an astonishing 30,000 spores per second, delivering billions of allergenic particles into the air every day. A minority of spores alights and germinates on fertile ground and some species are capable of spawning the largest and longest-lived organisms on the planet. Mushroom colonies burrow through soil and rotting wood. Some hook into the roots of forest trees and engage in mutually supportive symbioses; others are pathogens that decorate their food sources with hardened hooves and fleshy shelves. Mushrooms work with insects too, fed by and feeding leaf-cutter ants in the New World and termites in the Old World. Among the staggering diversity of mushroom-forming fungi we also find strange apparitions including gigantic puffballs, phallic eruptions with revolting aromas, and tiny “bird’s nests” whose spore-filled eggs are splashed out by raindrops.

Witness the marvels of nature with Rahul Mishra’s New Spring Summer 2021 collection- The Dawn

Mushrooms have been around for tens of millions of years and their activities are indispensable for the operation of the biosphere. Through their relationships with plants and animals, mushrooms are essential for forest and grassland ecology, climate control and atmospheric chemistry, water purification, and the maintenance of biodiversity. This first point, about the ecological significance of mushrooms, is obvious, yet the 16,000 described species of mushroom-forming fungi are members of the most poorly understood kingdom of life. The second point requires a dash of lateral thinking. Because humans evolved in ecosystems dependent upon mushrooms there would be no us without mushrooms. And no matter how superior we feel, humans remain dependent upon the continual activity of these fungi. The relationship isn’t reciprocal: without us there would definitely be mushrooms. Judged against the rest of life (and, so often, we do place ourselves against the rest of nature) humans can be considered as a recent and damaging afterthought.”

 

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Transformation of Kirana can Generate 3.2 million New Jobs
Transformation of Kirana can Generate 3.2 million New Jobs
 

The transformation of just 10 percent of the 13 million traditional grocery retailers in India, known as Kirana stores, could boost retail consumption by more than 5 percent and generate approximately 3.2 million new jobs in India.

According to a new report from Accenture and Trust For Retailers and Retail Associates of India (TRRAIN) titled ‘Transforming Kirana Stores to Drive Economic Growth,’ the report outlines a strategic approach for unlocking value by transforming Kirana stores through a seven-stage framework that focuses on store location and layout; technology; store funding; and product placement, among other factors.

“The rapid changes in consumer behavior and acceleration of online commerce, mandate that the Indian retail ecosystem transform to meet emerging consumer needs,” said Piyush N. Singh, India Market Unit lead. 

“As the lifeline of the Indian retail sector, a digital-led transformation of Kirana stores can result in significant economic gains, including a nearly 1 percent employment growth in India. The transformation process needs to be expedited with comprehensive policy intervention, technology support, and, most importantly, collaboration between key ecosystem players,” he further adds.
 
“The modernization of Kirana stores will not only help improve consumption and local employment but will also have a positive impact on the retail ecosystem in terms of new growth opportunities,” said Sameer Amte, a managing director in Accenture’s Strategy & Consulting business in India. “We believe with an improved, intelligent supply chain infrastructure, easier access to technology and funds, these stores can redefine the future of the Indian retail landscape.”
 
The modernization of Kirana stores should focus on local assessment, funding assessment, store layout, technology, product placement practices and customer engagement.

Transformation of Kirana can Generate 3.2 million New Jobs

“India is a nation of shopkeepers, and Kirana stores play a crucial role in the Indian retail sector, which in turn contributes nearly 11 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product and 8 percent of its total workforce. Kirana transformation will not only help store owners improve profitability but also add value to the customers and overall ecosystem. This report puts the spotlight on the pivotal role of the Kirana stores in the community and the impact of their transformation not just on them and the industry, but also on India as a whole,” said B.S. Nagesh, founder of TRRAIN. “We believe the report will serve as a foundation as we march ahead in our journey to impact millions of Kirana store owners in India.”
 
E-commerce and cash-and-carry retailers can leverage Kirana stores for last-mile delivery in remote places and in turn support them with digital technology such as digital payment solutions at the point of sale, the report highlights.
 
Intermediary players such as wholesalers and logistics providers need to modernize to fulfill the needs of the transformed retail ecosystem, it further adds.
 

 

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The Impact of COVID-19 on Sustainable Fashion Innovation
The Impact of COVID-19 on Sustainable Fashion Innovation
 

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, the fashion industry had begun to make changes, many of which have been accelerated by the crisis. Innovation, particularly in challenging times, has proven its relevance time and again to reinvigorate business as usual to achieve organisational objectives, and brands, manufacturers and retailers that are looking to innovation at this time, are better prepared to emerge stronger from the crisis. In a newly released report ‘The State of Circular Innovation in the Indian Fashion and Textile Industries’, Fashion for Good highlights some of the challenges in the region as well as the opportunities for innovation and investment. Fashion for Good also addresses these challenges through their programmes to accelerate and scale these technologies as well as through collaborative initiatives with key players in the industry.  

Promising Areas for Innovation in COVID-19 Times

The crisis has brought the industry, and the structure of the fashion supply chain in particular, into sharp focus, highlighting three key areas of innovation opportunities in the fashion value chain: Supply Chain Transformation, Stock Management and Digital Acceleration. Though these areas have long been on the industry’s radar, given the devastating impact of the crisis and the immediate need for alternative solutions, they have received tremendous attention. 

The Impact of COVID-19 on Sustainable Fashion Innovation

With the significant disruption to the demand and supply chain across the fashion ecosystem, there has never been a more urgent need for transformation towards sourcing practices that are more demand-driven and more sustainable on both the social and environmental fronts. The current situation has called for on-demand and micro-factory solutions that more closely match demand and supply and can easily ramp up production as and when needed, using manufacturing processes which can help reduce waste throughout the supply chain and provide localised logistic solutions. Innovation in the field of predictive manufacturing, sorting and recycling should help to ensure resources are used more efficiently and effectively, ensuring a robust, sustainable business model for the future. Producing less with more recycled content and on a more predictive/ just-in-time manner potentially places brands in a better financial position and prepares them should they encounter another crisis in times to come.

As sales decline with many stores having to shut down, vast volumes of unsold and unshipped garments are now a costly resource. The crisis presents brands with the opportunity to re-examine the importance and utilisation of resources, to diversify their customer base and find innovative means to sell, reuse or rent excess stock. Transparency and traceability solutions also come into play to identify potential issues and solutions, to make informed, data driven decisions to reduce excess stock. Transparency solutions not only help to resolve short-term issues resulting from the crisis, such as the build-up of excess stock, but they also provide useful tools for identifying risks and mitigation strategies for the future. 

In the meantime, some of the shifts we are witnessing in the fashion industry, such as the digital step change, are mostly an acceleration of the inevitable — shifts that were likely to have happened further down the line had the pandemic not prioritised their urgency now.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Sustainable Fashion Innovation

As the crisis has prevented physical contact within and between every stage in the fashion supply chain — and will likely still pose limitations on manual processes, physical meetups and travelling for some time to come — the fashion industry is evaluating options to shift into the digital space along the entire value chain.

When speaking of digitisation, we are mostly referring to replacing current manual and physical practices with more efficient and sustainable digital technologies, such as innovations in digital design processes, digital means of merchandising, planning and selling garments, virtual fashion as well as innovations in consumer engagement, such as fitting solutions, online and virtual selling to name a few. 

The crisis demands an acceleration of sustainable initiatives to remain competitive. The pressing issues currently faced across the industry have prioritised, elevated and accelerated the need for innovation to meet the challenges ahead and for the industry to emerge stronger from this crisis. As an industry, we have persevered through challenging times, have shown our resilience, ingenuity and creativity to emerge all the better. We have numerous allies and champions across the industry whose steadfast commitment to sustainability and innovation is needed to ensure they remain a priority moving forward.
 

 

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How has the Pandemic Changed the Dynamics of the Dairy Industry?
How has the Pandemic Changed the Dynamics of the Dairy Industry?
 

The COVID-19 outbreak early this year wrecked almost every industry worldwide. India’s dairy industry is no exception. Its business operations were hit hard as the industry had to navigate the negative effects of the pandemic on logistics, an abrupt change in demand consequently impacting the supply.  Due to the nationwide lockdown, consumption from non-essential commercial establishments such as restaurants, hotels, bakery, sweet shops, theatres, and malls, suddenly dipped to zero. 

Plus, for milkmen and vendors who collected loose milk from dairy farmers and then supply it to urban consumers, the ban on travel ruthlessly disturbed this arrangement.  Milk procurement from small farmers, who were outside the umbrella of organized cooperative and corporate sector dairy networks, was equally impacted. That was a jolting setback for the dairy industry as well as farmers. 

Unfortunately, the industry faced a few more exceptional challenges. It wasn’t possible to entirely cut down the milk production considering the plunge in demand and issues in supply. Irrespective of the market mayhem, a cow had to be milked daily for its health. On one hand, it increased the cost of a dairy farmer and on the other, the situation left them with surplus milk with no trade taking place. 

Moreover, the pandemic didn’t eliminate the need for dairy products. But raised a different concern. Products such as curd and paneer are perishable and have a short shelf life. Hence, these were not stocked by families as their back up plan during the lockdown. As these can’t be stored for selling at a later date, and the dairy supply chain operations were severely disrupted, surplus availabilities of dairy products had to be discarded.  Another factor that added salt to the injury was the drastic declination in the consumption of cold products like ice cream, flavored milk, and yogurt. In order to keep ourselves safe, most of us have avoided the food known to enhance cough and cold.

In no time, India, the largest and thriving dairy producer in the world with 187.7 million tons of milk production, as per the data from NDDB, and a high turnover rate, received a hard blow.

But every dark cloud has a silver lining. If this pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges and uncertainties, it has also given an opportunity to the dairy industry to look beyond and unleash its potential. Precisely, this is how several players in the industry responded to the pandemic. Identifying the need of the hour, they forayed into new product categories. Products for immunity boosting such as haldi doodh (turmeric milk), camel milk, and goat milk started gaining attention. Consumer choices are shifting to consuming products made from organic materials. Further, considering health and hygiene are two key factors in the era of new normal, the demand for fresh and organic products will rise in the years to come. This has set manufacturers in the dairy industry to expand their offerings.

No doubt, due to the rapidly changing industry environment as well as consumer behavior, the dairy businesses experienced ebbs and flows of demand and supply. But on a brighter note, weighing the current developments, we are foreseeing a U-shaped growth curve for the dairy sector, wherein the industry is expected to regain its stable growth in days to come.

 

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Up your Comfy Tracksuit Style Statement in 2021
Up your Comfy Tracksuit Style Statement in 2021
 

Several lockdowns later and almost a year after, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered not only life but major lifestyle choices to fit people’s stay-at-home requirements. Not socializing and staying indoors has led people to rely on comfort over style, and it is pretty understandable. Chilling in your tracksuit is definitely the new normal. But who says you can’t bedazzle the tracksuit look to feel a little festive this New Year?

Tracksuits and Runway Fashion

While tracksuits originally surfaced in the 60s serving the very practical purpose of being a comfy apparel for athletes, they didn’t take much time to get popular for everyday lounging. They resurfaced as style statements for street wear as popular musicians and artists helped tracksuits evolve as a pop culture statement. The iconic Paris Hilton and Jennifer Lopez track-suit look is still unforgettable having inspired tonnes of runway designs over the years, still continuing to be a “cool” style statement in the fashion realm.

Some Celebrities Who Revolutionized Tracksuits in 2020

The trendy tracksuit look has been revolutionized in the last decade where people have in general gravitated towards casual styles. The five-time Grammy-winner Billie Eilish is a pop culture sensation who has taken the tracksuit look to another level. Her authentic comfort style has inspired several teens to get on the track-pants bandwagon!

Up your Comfy Tracksuit Style Statement in 2021

Here is a click of Kylie Jenner sporting a Veluor Tracksuit with style and accessories. It only goes to show that glamour and track-suits can definitely be a theme, which has in fact gotten popular, even before comfort was priority.

Up your Comfy Tracksuit Style Statement in 2021

How To Up Your Tracksuit Game in 2021?

Staying at home has always been about comfort. So much so now, that one wouldn’t know how to do without it! Why not up your style game with a comfy tracksuit look, and enter this New Year with style?

Play with solid colours and accessories or perhaps solo prints, florals and other apparel patterns like Tara Sutaria and Kiara Advani in their fun looks.

Up your Comfy Tracksuit Style Statement in 2021

 A neutral tracksuit can be paired with non-chalant slippers or a comfy pair of shoes. Kareena pulls off this look while also pulling off more glamorous athleisure looks.

Up your Comfy Tracksuit Style Statement in 2021

You can opt for a bold print on top with solid pants for another statement look. Neon tracksuits could be your thing too, accessorized with a brass coloured chain or perhaps some white shoes. Here’s how the power couple Raveer and Deepika aced the Neon tracksuit look.

Up your Comfy Tracksuit Style Statement in 2021

Club it up with a jacket or a pair of shades. Need a little inspiration? You can look up runway tracksuit pieces or perhaps celebs who chose monochrome, patterned or a combination of styles for their look. Statement accessories often add the much needed bling to your look. Channelize your true sense of style and explore colours, patterns and accessories to up your tracksuit game in 2021.

 

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Five Trends to Rule Indian Home Appliances Industry in 2021 ? ?
Five Trends to Rule Indian Home Appliances Industry in 2021 ? ?
 

As 2020 raged with the pandemic, home appliances industry in our country, like many other sectors, has faced unprecedented challenges. As this fateful year ends and we prep ourselves to live the ‘new normal’ way in 2021, the exciting news of the arrival of multiple COVID-19 vaccines is helping restore consumer’s confidence and revive demand for companies in home appliances sector. 

At this point in time, here are the top 5 trends that are expected to sway the Indian home appliances industry in 2021:

Boost in Domestic Manufacturing: Following the recent India-China standoff, the clarion call for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ by Government, and Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes, domestic manufacturing for household appliance products is expected to give a prolific boost in 2021. Many companies in the home appliances sector have already started to ‘Manufacture in India’, limit and/ or eliminate imports and produce new products based on localized needs, features or India-specific innovations. Since the imported commodity price for consumer electronics products is anticipated to increase in 2021, it will further propel the trend of manufacturing domestically.

Home Utility & Wellness Products to Become the Rage: As the ongoing saga of work-from-home or remote work and online learning trickles ahead to the next year and people continue to stay indoors for longer hours, utilitarian products which complement the stay-at-home and do-things-yourself lifestyle are booming in demand. For instance, household appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, indoor air purifiers, washing machines, and low-cost as well as premium electronic devices are expected to be bought and sold in large volumes in the coming year. Also, given that the pandemic has reaffirmed the importance of healthy living, a new and innovative category of wellness products has come up as ‘need of the hour’ solution; these types of anti-COVID, anti-infection, or health-consciousness-based home appliances will again be in high demand in 2021.  

Digital-First Business Will Be Priority: The whole world turned to online and digital during COVID, and the home appliances sector can obviously be no exception. 2021 will be the year when both big and small-sized companies in this industry will be compelled to focus whole-heartedly on digital-first business strategies. Even traditional product-based home appliance players may switch entirely from ‘brick-and-mortar stores and shops’ to e-tail or digital commerce, or will at least try to go ‘phygital’ (physical+digital). The companies will also be looking at using digital tools/ technologies to engage and interact with consumers (especially tech-savvy millennial customers), market their products, optimize operations, and so on. 

Purposeful Innovation for Future-Forward Advancement: In order to stay relevant and ahead-of-the-curve in these uncertain times amid changing consumer behaviour(s), home appliance makers are currently feeling the need to diversify product portfolios and innovate purposefully and mindfully. In today’s age when consumers are increasingly looking for personalized and easy-to-use products and/ or experiences, product or technology-based innovation in home appliances must focus on 3Cs, i.e. convenience, connectedness, and customizability to the end-users. By integrating novel technologies such as IOT (Internet of Things) or AI (Artificial Intelligence) into products/ solutions, future-forward companies will be looking to aid the lifestyle and solve daily-life household problems/ challenges of their potential customers. 

‘Go Green and Clean’ Will Be In: The global virus outbreak has not only made us more health-conscious, but also collectively raised our consciousness and commitment towards the environment, and for providing cleaner and greener solutions for planet Earth. For the Indian home appliance industry, the upcoming year ushers a great opportunity to come up with more environment-friendly products. Furthermore, a large number of companies building/ manufacturing the appliances are expected to re-look and transform their production and distribution value chain (from sourcing, manufacturing to packaging and so on) in a way so that maximum use of clean energy and eco-friendly products or raw materials can be made, and the circular economy concept can be embraced for good. 
 

 

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Manufacturing & Retail Trends That Will Drive Growth Of Indian Furniture Sector In 2021
Manufacturing & Retail Trends That Will Drive Growth Of Indian Furniture Sector In 2021
 

Over the past few months, the pandemic and the resultant lockdown have created disruptive trends that have altered the personal and professional lives, across sectors. From home offices, home schools, and the need for individual space to accommodate peaceful extended indoor time in a family home has given a rise to the need for multi-functional, convenient, and customised furniture that can make ‘living’ comfortable and functional. This, coupled with the slowing down of international trade and the thrust in ‘local for vocal’ and ‘Make in India’, as well as a rise in e-commerce for furniture, have all further given a boost to the Indian furniture manufacturing sector.

As per a recent report, the Indian domestic furniture market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.91 percent during the period of 2020-2024, while the global furniture market is estimated at $1.1 trillion. The Indian market size, in comparison, comes to be less than 5 percent, highlighting the huge growth potential. Apart from the domestic furniture market, the potential for furniture exports also shows great promise, with several countries looking to move their manufacturing base out of China, in the post-COVID-19 era.

While the above shows overall promise, there are key trends that will drive this growth, which are as under:

Changing Consumer Preferences

As mentioned above, the pandemic and the lockdown has changed customer preferences largely as comfort and functionality have become as significant as design and aesthetics. With the need to spend extended hours at home, sharing space with family members while working from home/ studying from home, and spending leisure time together, the furniture set up for homes has changed. Manufacturers and retailers will see a continuation of this trend well into the coming year, and there will be a rise in demand for multi-functional, comfortable, and aesthetic furniture for the home. Additionally, with the increasing awareness about sustainability and recycling, consumers are making more informed choices, picking engineered wooden furniture/ refurbished furniture over plastic furniture.

Policy Support for Manufacturing

As India aims at becoming a global manufacturing hub, there has been a major policy push, with initiatives like ‘Make In India’ and ‘Vocal for Local’ etc., that has given a boost to the manufacturing sector, including furniture manufacturing. As per the Make in India initiative, the GoI aims to increase the share of the manufacturing sector in the country’s GDP to 25% by 2025. Additionally, in August 2019, the Government permitted 100 percent FDI in contract manufacturing through the automatic route, further encouraging the growth of the sector.

Rise in E-Retail for Furniture

One of the major disruptions witnessed during the lockdown was the sudden rise in e-commerce. While there has been a rise in need for modular, multi-functional and customised furniture for home-offices and home-schooling, the lockdown saw a shift, with consumers preferring to purchase these online instead of from the traditional stores, thereby changing the face of Furniture retail. And these changes are not restricted only to the urban market but are also seen in smaller towns and tier II cities, as most urban professionals are migrating away from cities to work from their home towns, due to remote working options. 

Rental Furniture Demand

With the changing consumer trends about design and functionality, another major trend that is driving the growth of furniture retail is the rental furniture sector. With the increased financial uncertainty and economic slowdown, several millennial consumers, who are either living alone or sharing space with friends, are opting to rent functional and smart furniture via online portals, instead of investing in a lifetime purchase of furniture. Apart from being cost-effective and convenient, the rental furniture portals also offer flexibility and access to varied designs, on one platform, catering to the changing tastes and needs of the millennials.

Supportive Logistics Infrastructure

One of the key aspects to drive the growth of manufacturing and retail is a robust logistics and supply chain infrastructure. With the government's focus on developing a robust road, rail, and international freight network, coupled with a thrust on technology-enabled supply chain and warehousing ecosystem, the country is set to witness rapid development in the logistics and supply chain sector. The e-commerce rise, on the other hand, is also driving the growth of the sector, with efficient last-mile deliveries, reverse logistics, and speedy deliveries that are also enhancing the supply chain networks, ensuring robust infrastructure support for a booming manufacturing sector.

While the above-mentioned trends are collectively set to drive the furniture manufacturing and retail sector, the rise in export demand and renewed interest in commercial furniture once the offices re-open to full capacity, are other key factors that will also play a significant role in the rise of the sector. For manufacturing, India is already poised for success with the availability of resources, manpower, and superior technology, and policy support to drive this growth. Synergising these with easier access to capital, skilled labor, encouragement to indigenous design and artisans, and supportive factors to help MSME and larger manufacturers to collaborate, can together lead to attracting international investors and buyers.

 

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FMCG Trends to Look Forward to in 2021
FMCG Trends to Look Forward to in 2021
 

In the history of FMCG industry, the year 2020 will be remembered always because our economy and business witnessed some turbulent and unexpected changes. The COVID-19 pandemic has majorly impacted the attitude of the consumers and paved a new consumption pattern in them which is predominantly dominated by health & wellness, safety & assurance and taste & enjoyment. To cater to these growing needs of the consumers, FMCG companies are also bringing many new changes in their functioning. 

Here are some emerging trends for 2021: 

Health and Wellness 

Proactive living and good health have become the driving factors of all the innovations and consumer attitudes. In the last couple of months, consumers’ focus has been intensified on health. 80% of people living across the globe are going to eat and drink healthy in the years to come. Consumers have understood the preventive health strategies now. Immunity strengthening products will be given more priority by the consumers for a long-term. A data by FMCG survey even shows that 43 percent of global consumers are actively looking for ingredients that strengthen their immunity with the everyday food and drink they consume. The most prominent ingredients that consumers will continue to consume are omega 3, vitamin, calcium, protein, probiotics/ cultures.  

Investments in Digital 

With social distancing norms in place and uncertainty to general business, larger players have also invested in digital technologies to reduce cost structure and increase business continuity. Companies are extending partnerships with multiple digitally native players to expand reach with digitally native customers. A large FMCG player is participating in the digitalisation journey for general trade (GT) – an app for its GT stakeholders now has 0.23 million outlets onboard and seen a double rise in order value and number of SKUs ordered. Companies have also invested in more agile planning solutions and explored digital in manufacturing to enable continuity to business and respond better to the crisis.

Safety and Assurance 

After seeing so much of crisis in 2020, consumers are looking forward to those opportunities which don’t induce any risk both financially or health. As consumers are putting maximum emphasis on value and trust, the trend of safety and assurance has emerged. The coronavirus pandemic has also raised people’s awareness towards conserving the earth for better quality of life for us and future generations. They have realized that the way we treat our mother earth, it will also treat us in the same way. Even people have shifted to natural products and are no longer indulging in those products, which are made in unnatural ways and exhibit animal cruelty. Consumers are looking for such products which are natural, real, authentic and nutritional. They are not preferring any such products which they haven’t heard of. 

Save to Thrive 

Compared with pre-COVID-19 expectations, the percentage of respondents globally expecting positive revenue growth is down 40 points. In India, the outlook is down by 20 points. In India, according to a survey by Deloitte, 73 percent of the companies surveyed expect to undertake a cost reduction programme in the next 12 months. They are concerned with their current cost structure. Companies have cut down on their discretionary spending, Due to COVID-19, companies optimised on their trade spend, with focus on ensuring product availability in the channel (as consumers stocked up) and reduction in advertisement budget across major players. Reduction in advertisements, specifically television advertisements, saw various B2C start-ups take up top advertisement spots.

Taste and Enjoyment 

While following the trend of eating healthy, consumers aren’t ready to compromise on health. A lot of home-grown exotic products will be on rise. With the advent of digitilisation and increase in influencer marketing, consumers will like to demonstrate the good taste and sophistication. Eating out will also be there in 2021 just for the need for comfort and escapism from the pressures of everyday life. While no matter how much positivity and freshness we usher in the new year but the truth is that the uncertainty from this year will continue into 2021 and beyond.   
 

 

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Key Trends Transforming FMCG Delivery Space
Key Trends Transforming FMCG Delivery Space
 

The year 2020 has driven unprecedented business change across the world, including the food industry. Here are some trends that were visible in 2020 and will be defining and leading the way in 2021 as well.

Contactless Deliveries

Thanks to COVID-19, contactless deliveries was a trend that began early in 2020 but will continue well into 2021 unless the vaccine is administered to everyone across the globe. The trend caught on as there was an increased consumer caution around hygiene. It mitigates the risk of virus transmission by limiting contact between people during transactions. Additionally, the robust digital payment ecosystem made the process even more smooth and safe. In some cases, contactless deliveries were also enabled through the use of robots and drones, which might just gain more popularity in the future.

Hygiene

Customers have adopted many habits during the pandemic that are here to stay. They have many reservations about sourcing perishable food produce from unhygienic wet markets. Hygiene and physical contact being the primary concern among the concerned customers. FMCG companies are launching products online before the traditional retail stores, with e-commerce sales recording 56 percent growth in the first quarter of 2020 and 38 percent increase in June 2020, according to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF). India’s e-commerce industry is projected to reach $99 billion by 2024, growing at 27 percent CAGR over 2019-24, with grocery being one of the key drivers of incremental growth, as per IBEF.

Hygiene is also impacting brand loyalty. The change in purchase patterns is also evident. It has been observed that customers are increasingly looking at certified and tested quality products than lower quality products that could potentially cause harm in any way.

Transparency
 
The food industry has recognized that transparency builds consumer trust. Consumers now expect food labels to provide better transparency around the product lifecycle. The customer’s quest for chemical-free and preservative-free food alternatives is another key trend. Therefore, the pandemic has accelerated consumer interest in a more holistic approach to health, which includes a greater understanding of hygiene and safety.

Collaboration

The food companies have slowly realized that collaboration is key to ensure doorstep deliveries as consumers want products and services to be brought directly to them, irrespective of their geography.

Speaking on the shift in trend, Shan Kadavil, CEO, FreshToHome said, “Today’s customers are smart. They seek validation for the products they consume. Therefore, a certification of a product’s safety and quality are of utmost importance. There has also been a change in the purchase pattern as the customers of today are looking for a quality product that is transparent in its ingredients, neat in packaging, and allows traceability of source. FreshToHome platform offers the freshest meat and fish thanks to the AI-powered supply chain technology, aided by a cold chain used by its sellers. This is to ensure that our customers get 100 percent chemical-free and preservative-free products."

Online shopping is the new normal and an undisputed way forward when it comes to safe and secure purchases. The food sector, that has been gradually attracting consumers since 2018, has seen a paradigm shift in shopping behavior and is currently enjoying the attention. 

Thus, with ever-increasing numbers of online buyers and digital disruption, the food industry in the e-commerce space will continue to grow owing to more sophisticated digital networks.
 

 

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How Kiranas Have Survived And Thrived During COVID-19
How Kiranas Have Survived And Thrived During COVID-19
 

The COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown have dramatically changed the way people shop for what they need. While stepping out to a supermarket was earlier a matter of course, customers are now hesitant to expose themselves to crowded places. The solution to this has come from an unexpected quarter, kirana stores.

Earlier struggling to stay afloat amidst the stiff competition from supermarkets and e-tailers, Kirana stores have been quietly servicing the needs of 1.4 billion Indians since lockdown began. While large supermarkets and e-commerce stores have grappled with supply issues, neighborhood stores with fewer resources but a greater connect with the hearts of their consumers have gained in popularity. 

Paving the Way for Return of Mom-and-Pop Stores

There are over 12 million Kirana stores across India, providing daily essentials and groceries to the families in their vicinity. Through the advent of malls and megamarkets, they have retained their presence and continue to thrive, particularly in the lockdown era.

- Fear of Exposure at Big Stores

Over the past few months, people across India have been nervous about stepping out and exposing themselves to the virus. This fear is exacerbated in the case of supermarkets where there are many other customers who could put them at risk. Kirana stores are thus the natural choice to opt for, as their smaller premises allow fewer people in at a time. Moreover, with most supermarkets and large retailers forced to shut shop during the lockdown, Kirana stores are often the only option.

- Lack of Choice in Online Deliveries

Many customers turned to e-commerce solutions like BigBasket or Swiggy Groceries to get their essentials, but even these come with their pitfalls like delays in delivery, minimum order value, and the inability to choose one’s own produce. Instead, customers can simply step out to the nearest Kirana store and pick up what they need. This also allows them to select products after personally checking for freshness or any blemishes.

- Quick Shopping Experience

With online deliveries, one has to wait several hours and often an entire day before the purchases show up, which can be inconvenient. Instead, one can quickly step out and collect essentials as and when needed from a Kirana store.

- Personal Connect

As opposed to the impersonal experience of shopping online or at a supermarket, the shop owner at a Kirana store often knows his customers well and makes the interaction a friendly one, which encourages the buyer to return. The personal connect also allows for experiences and requests that would not be possible elsewhere, such as the customer calling up the store owner and requesting for certain items to be kept aside for himself. 

- Digitised Experience

What is remarkable to note is how the Kirana stores have rapidly adopted new technologies such as digital payments and contactless delivery to ease up the buying process, particularly in a post-Covid world where customers are reluctant to handle cash or cards. The adoption of POS machines and UPI payments by even tiny stores in small towns has enabled a safer shopping experience and also furthered digitisation more rapidly.

Overall, consumer expenditure at Kirana stores has gone up by around 40% since lockdown began in March.

How Kirana Stores are Making Waves in Post-COVID India

To understand the exact impact of the Kirana stores in post-lockdown India, EY conducted a survey across metro and non-metro cities. The survey found that 20% of Kirana stores have started using online platforms to get assistance with deliveries and have a steady supply of goods coming in, while 40% state that they would like to partner with online platforms to help them grow further. Furthermore, 79% of Kirana stores in non-metros and 50% in metros are seeing new customers come in post-lockdown, which indicates a renewed trust in hyperlocal communities. The need to adopt new technologies to improve sales and supply chain management was also recognised; 58% of traders in metros and 46% in non-metros are convinced that digitisation is now a must for them. 

In response to this boom in Kirana's growth, the Indian government is drafting new e-commerce policies that will help these stores integrate better into the online ecosystem. Once these policies are in place, Kiranas will be given special packages of incentives to handle both online and offline sales. Moreover, corporate giants like Amazon, Flipkart, and Reliance are now taking an interest in Kirana stores as potential fulfillment partners for their grocery divisions, such as Flipkart’s onboarding of over 50000 Kirana stores to deliver to 850 cities ahead of the festive season. 

As India struggles to recover from the blow dealt by the lockdown, Kirana stores have emerged as the unsung heroes helping a country with its daily needs. As storeowners adapt to changing consumer behaviors by adopting technology while continuing to provide the personalised Kirana experience, they could very well emerge as the hubs that strengthen the FMCG distribution network and help the industry recover sooner. 

 

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FMCG Trends for 2021
FMCG Trends for 2021
 

As India prepares to enter 2021, there are some good tidings. Going by the latest reports, the economy is in the revival mode. With vaccines to combat COVID-19 a reality – although mass availability is some way off – hope abounds that the pandemic may be brought under control, sooner rather than later. 

All of which augurs well for the FMCG segment, which is India’s fourth-largest sector, employing three million-plus people. In the Rs 4.0 lakh crore industry, household and personal care items comprise around 50 percent of FMCG sales. While the urban segment contributes around 55 percent of the total FMCG revenues, the market in rural regions is expected to record faster growth. As semi-urban and rural India grows at a robust pace, FMCG products already account for half of the total spending in rural areas.

Significant Facts and Figures

Despite the pandemic’s impact on consumer spending behaviour in 2020, the situation is expected to turn around in 2021. Currently, most households remain wary about what they purchase and the frequency of purchases. In 2020, lockdowns and other pandemic-related restrictions meant people preferred purchasing essentials online, including FMCG goods, rather than visiting brick-and-mortar stores. 

The possibility of vaccines being available in India at some point, however, will lead to increased sales from conventional outlets such as local markets, hypermarkets and kiranas, among others. But digital will continue being a parallel purchase mode because both urban and rural people have developed a degree of comfort regarding online orders. 

The biggest benefit of online shopping is that it can be done from the safe confines of homes without worrying about social distancing norms. As per a Nielsen Global Connect report, online shopping has seen an increase of more than 20 percent.

Meanwhile, an intriguing fact – rural markets performed relatively better than urban ones after the coronavirus outbreak. Data analytics firm Nielsen noted that in June 2020, there was a strong bounce-back in sales of FMCG goods across rural and semi-urban markets even as bigger cities saw a decline.  In 2021 too, the sales revival in Bharat may continue outpacing that of India. 

Partly, this is attributed to the severity of the pandemic in urban zones whereas Bharat faced relatively less stringent lockdowns. Also, the reverse migration of workers to their native places would have increased rural demand. Though most workers are said to have later returned to the cities, some preferred to stay back. These trends could continue to play out in 2021. 

Deploying Digital

Given the pandemic-linked disruptions to supply chains, FMCG players deployed digital technologies in a big way to drive BCPs (business continuity plans). Having learnt the benefits of e-commerce, FMCG entities are expected to maintain their digital presence even after normalcy is restored and COVID-19 comes under control. The shock of the pandemic has made it clear that an omni-channel approach of physical plus digital sales is the best way to drive BCPs in case of any future disruptions. 

In 2021, FMCG companies will need to invest in tech tools that enable e-ordering, e-invoicing as well as e-collections via digital payment platforms. Innovations in digital would be the way forward in overcoming sudden disruptions in supply chains. Keeping this in mind, a global food company is aiming to create a mobile application that could serve as a digital sales model. Rather than sending its reps into the market, it is seeking to find solutions allowing retailers to place orders directly via WhatsApp, mobile or an app. 

A Deloitte Consumer Tracker survey indicates there is a rising shift towards BOPIS (buy online pickup in-store), besides the growth in pure-play online purchases and deliveries. The main motivators: safetyand the option of browsing through entire product portfolios more efficiently from the comfort and convenience of one’s home. 

Moreover, even as most economies continue facing headwinds and muted consumer demand, the FMCG sector will see sustained growth in select segments. For instance, consumers are raising spends on health, hygieneand nutritional products,including packaged goods. As people prefer staying indoors to avoid the risk of infection, e-commerce is their first choice in purchasing products. 

The changing consumer patterns are due to mounting awareness about immunity-boosting products and those deemed safe, against the backdrop of coronavirus concerns. Accordingly, companies would need to tweak their product portfolios and distribution strategies. 

As we welcome 2021, the focus on consumer data, behaviour trends and digitalisation must continue. In the months ahead, demand-driven supply will count more than supply-side drivers. In the post-COVID era, consumers would undoubtedly continue calling the shots in driving FMCG sales. 
 

 

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COVID-19 Impact: APAC Beauty and Personal Care Industry Innovate To Survive The Pandemic?
COVID-19 Impact: APAC Beauty and Personal Care Industry Innovate To Survive The Pandemic?
 

The outbreak of COVID-19 has further heightened consumers’ awareness of sustainability and health.

Growing Consumer Interest in Sustainability and Health 

According to Mintel’s Global COVID-19 Tracker, 87 percent of Indian consumers have indicated that environmental issues have become a higher or lower priority for them – second only to eating healthily. Meanwhile, Mintel Global Consumer research shows that 78 percent of South Korean consumers would like to see more innovative environment-friendly products, and 90 percent of consumers in Japan think it is important to manage their emotional wellbeing.

Therefore, how to share and showcase sustainability initiatives and precisely respond to consumer’s health needs is one of the most important factors for brands to engage consumers now and in the years to come.

Haircare, Clean and Green Beauty Drive Innovation and New Experiences 

Consumers are always ready to embrace new concepts and experience new products, regardless of how the market changes. China’s haircare market has maintained steady growth over the past five years with a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 4.8 percent, according to Mintel research. 

Haircare products’ import value in the first half of the year increased by 21 percent, compared with the same period the previous year. Interest in haircare is continuously growing among Chinese consumers, with many haircare brands taking inspiration from the skincare industry and innovating around textures and ingredients.

Moreover, Mintel Global Consumer research indicates that 75 percent of consumers in Australia and New Zealand love trying new experiences. As competition for clean and green beauty continues to grow, especially from Western markets, ANZ beauty brands should work harder for their consumers and lean into expertise to stand out in the congested beauty market, rather than just focusing on clean or proving dermatological efficacy or safety.

Angelia Teo, Research Manager, Mintel Beauty & Personal Care, Asia Pacific, said: “The beauty and personal care industry in Asia Pacific has taken a hard hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumer attitudes and behaviours have shifted as a result and the industry has faced unprecedented challenges, but also opportunities. Innovation is also flourishing in the sector. In our annual Asia Pacific Beauty and Personal Landscape, we’ve focused on the evolution of consumer trends and market opportunities for brands.”

 

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Global Activewear Market to Reach $353.5 Billion in 2020
Global Activewear Market to Reach $353.5 Billion in 2020
 

2020 has been a rollercoaster year for a good number of industries and activewear is no exception.

According to the research data analyzed and published by Comprar Acciones, the market is estimated to be worth $353.45 billion in 2020. It is projected to grow at a 3.7 percent CAGR in the period between 2020 and 2026, to reach $439.17 billion by the end of the duration.

For the key players in the industry, the challenging year has left little option but to adapt. One of the recent trends for top activewear players is a shift to direct-to-consumer sales.

According to the NPD, online sales of activewear will account for 40 percent of all sales in 2020, a new high.

NIKE - For Nike, the top sportswear brand globally, there was a 75 percent increase in online sales during its fiscal Q4, which ended in June 2020. At the time, the brand closed 90 percent of physical stores. For the first time, e-commerce revenue accounted for 30 percent of its total revenue.

During the three-month period which ended on August 31, 2020, Nike’s online sales rose once again, this time by 82 percent. This took place although retail outlets had reopened.

Thanks to the surge in e-commerce, the company offset losses as annual sales only dropped by 5 percent. From $39.1 billion in fiscal 2019, it dropped to $37.4 billion during fiscal 2020 according to its earnings report.

Total revenue for fiscal Q1 2021 amounted to $10.6 billion, with $1.5 billion as net profit. Despite having shed over 40 percent in March 2020, Nike’s stock is up by 40.79 percent year-over-year (YoY) as of December 11, 2020 and 35.80 percent year-to-date (YTD).

 ADIDAS - At the height of the pandemic, Adidas closed down over 70 percent of its retail stores. As a result, its revenue for H1 2020 sank by 27 percent to $9.81 billion.

During the three-month period which ended on September 30, 2020, its revenue amounted to $7.01 billion. Operating profit fell by 12 percent during the quarter to $934 million while net profit totaled $677 million.

Despite the overall drop in revenue, Adidas online sales increased by 93 percent in Q2 2020 alone. In April and May 2020, growth accelerated at a triple-digit rate. During Q3, online sales surged by 51 percent.

PUMA - On the other hand, Puma’s operating profit had grown sevenfold and its annual sales had doubled in the six-year period leading up to 2020. However, during Q1 2020, its net profit fell by 61.6 percent YoY to $39.1 million against $1.4 billion in total sales. E-commerce sales for the period rose by 40 percent. By Q3 2020, however, the situation had improved with sales rising by 13 percent to $1.87 billion and operating profit by 17 percent to $223 million. Notably, direct-to-consumer sales grew by 60.9 percent during the period.

Overall, Puma saw total e-commerce sales for the first nine months of 2020 grow by an impressive 66.5 percent.

UNDER ARMOUR - For Under Armour, the three-month period which ended on September 30, 2020 saw wholesale revenue drop by 7 percent to $830 million. However, like the other activewear giants, the company saw direct-to-consumer sales rise by 17 percent to $540 million. Its revenue for the period was $1.43 billion with $38.9 million as net profit.

US Athleisure Items to Account for 31 Percent of Apparel Sales in December 2020

Besides embracing direct-to-consumer sales, dominant sportswear brands are also capitalizing on the thriving athleisure market.

According to NPD, athleisure items like sweatpants and sweatshirts are projected to account for 31 percent of total apparel spending in the US during the 2020 holiday season. Comparatively, the segment had a 26 percent share in the 2019 holiday season.

OLD NAVY -  According to the company’s earnings report, Old Navy had an increase of 55 percent in the activewear segment. The reason for this was that more customers wanted comfortable clothing as they spend more time indoors.

ATHLETA - Athleta, Gap’s brand for female workout clothes, similarly recorded an increase of 35 percent in net sales. On the other hand, Banana Republic, famed for work apparel, had a decline of 34 percent in net sales.

ABERCROMBIE & FITCH - Abercrombie & Fitch has also experienced success with Gilly Hicks, which sells women’s loungewear and bras. During the most recent quarter, it saw a double-digit increase in sales as online sales soared over 100 percent.

In a bid to get a share of the pie, Kohl’s is planning to launch a brand known as FLX for active apparel in 2021.

The US athleisure market is estimated to reach $105.1 billion in sales in 2020 according to Euromonitor and Coresight. Compared to 2019, that would be a 9.2 percent decrease, attributed to the pandemic and reduced in-store shopping. However, the two forecast a rebound in 2021, projecting that the sector will grow by 7.9 percent YoY.
 

 

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Snacking Becoming A Larger Part Of Consumer's New Normal
Snacking Becoming A Larger Part Of Consumer's New Normal
 

Snacking around the world, which was already a rapidly increasing behavior, has only accelerated as consumers spend more time at home. At the same time, the majority of respondents see snacking as a growing part of their everyday lives in the future

Almost 9 in 10 global adults (88 percent) say they are snacking more (46 percent) or the same (42 percent) during the pandemic than before, with millennials and those who are working from home right now being especially likely to say they prefer snacks over meals (70 percent and 67 percent, respectively), says The 2020 State of Snacking Report by Mondelēz International and The Harris Poll.

The 2020 State of Snacking Report underlines the growth in snacking worldwide and how behavior, sentiment and routines surrounding food are being reshaped by COVID-19.

The report informs the company’s strategy to bite into the $1.2 trillion total snack industry as it continues to lead the future of snacking by delivering the right snack, for the right moment, made the right way.

“Findings from our State of Snacking report reinforce the key role that snacking plays in the lives of global consumers, the growing importance of snacking during 2020 and the moments of peace it provides as individuals and families stay home and continue to face challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dirk Van de Put, Chairman and CEO of Mondelēz International. “As we empower people to snack right, we are proud of the role we play in the lives of consumers everywhere by delivering sources of comfort, connection and community that are difficult to find in this year of isolation.”

“The results of our State of Snacking survey not only underscore the value snacking brings to families and individuals, but help us to even better understand the evolving needs of our consumers worldwide so that we can continue to adapt and offer them the snacks they want, where, when and how they want them,” Van de Put added.

Important Source of Comfort, Connection and Community

Comfort is the #1 driver of snacking this year, as more than half of global adults have been buying nostalgic snack brands from childhood (53 percent) and snacks that bring back good memories (59 percent) during the pandemic. 
Two-thirds say snack time is one of the few moments of peace (64 percent) and bright spots in their day (63 percent), including three-quarters of parents who are working from home (76 percent and 75 percent, respectively).

Snacking also offers bite-sized moments of satisfaction and peace, with a majority of respondents noting it has helped distract them from a trying year.

66 percent noted that “Snacking is one of the few sources of reward and satisfaction in my day,” while 65 percent believe that snacking has given them much needed moments to themselves over the past few months.

Health and Wellness Remain Top of Mind

As snacking increases, so too does the focus on healthy products and ingredients. More than half of global adults have relied on snacks for nourishment during the pandemic (54 percent), attesting that snacks have been nourishing to their body, mind, and soul during these strange times (64 percent).

A majority are also more mindful snacking at home, saying they are more focused on the snacks they eat these days (57 percent), and that they have more control over the portions they eat because they are snacking at home more often (66 percent).

Changing Purchasing Behaviour

Virtual snack shopping has reached a tipping point, with almost of half of respondents buying online

Half of global adults say they have started to buy snacks online more often than they do in-store or offline (47 percent), with 7 in 10 planning to continue shopping for snacks online once the pandemic is over (69 percent).

A majority say the pandemic has opened their eyes to so many more ways to get snacks than they knew existed before (57 percent), including 3 in 10 who have discovered snacks to try on social media (28 percent).

 

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How The Indian Mattress Industry Is Coping With COVID-19?
How The Indian Mattress Industry Is Coping With COVID-19?
 

Necessity is the mother of invention, no doubt this is the hard time and the time which will lead to new possibilities, innovation, and development in this field. This pandemic COVID-19 had completely turn-around the global economy. From the local to international business, each field of the service provider is facing the impacts of this epidemic. The Indian mattress industry has also not untouched by its impact. Though the mattress industry had been waiting for the silver lining since the last year and now dark clouds of the pandemic had made the vision smoggier.

As per the recent announcement, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman may announce the stimulus for the hard-hit sectors of the economy due to the COVID-19 situation. According to media reports, the government is looking at the stress in various sectors including, the health and allied sectors. The mattress industry may get a silver lining over this dark cloud, impacts are visible on the retail sector but the silver lining has shown some hope through e-commerce. As per the belief of humanity where there’s a will there's a way, similarly, the Indian mattress industry is coping up with covid-19 and diligently working to mitigate its impact.

Here is a SWOT Analysis for a better understanding of this matter.

S- Strength

Indian mattress industry’s strength is that it is aware and understands the need of the consumer and works accordingly. Following are the focus points which work as strength for the industry.

The industry is very conscious about safety, health, and hygiene. Factories and offices are taking preventive measures to maintain proper safety and hygiene.

Evolving preferences and tastes of consumers strengthen the demand for mattresses and bedding products.

WFH culture has somehow strengthened the market as people tend to work for more hours and with discomforts but by buying proper mattress line they have increased the demand and taken care of themselves.

Lifestyle change is a root of several diseases such as arthritis, backache, spine, and joint-related problems which drives demand for better quality and comfortable products.

W- Weakness

Indian mattress Industry may dive into deep loss if the retail sector stays in bad condition for longer. The industry believes in to find and look for ways to turn a weakness into an opportunity. So, the industry is doing it in the following manner.

The shift in consumer preferences is one of the major weaknesses but again the industry has taken this as an opportunity and this change in preferences has led to progression and impacted the quality of the mattress positively.

Though retail is restricted due to a pandemic but e-commerce is showing a ray of hope which is not only convenient but also correct as per government restriction and appropriate according to the need of an hour.

O- Opportunities

Following are the opportunities for the Indian mattress industry-

With the help of extensive and in-depth ortho and body-needs-based research, mattresses are diversified as per the need of consumers.

Through Technology, the uniqueness of mattresses has been maintained such as protection from dermo-allergies.

The Paradigm shift towards modern orthopedic mattresses, attract consumers for their health and durability perspective.

GST factor has also formalised the economy and it shows a dynamic shift in business from unorganised to organised providers.

Government initiatives for housing for all also contributed by giving a boost to mattress consumption and the industry as well.

An increase in consumerism, demand, and consumption of comfort by consumers of this age i.e. millennials and generation z give a spike to the modern market

T- Threats

Elements which are coming up as a threat or challenges for the Indian mattress industry are the following-

Bleeker outlook of consumers on their financial conditions is a big threat. To deal with financial stress, the mattress companies are exploring EMI options for not only industries but also for smaller standalone.

Lack of consumer awareness and transportation is also a major threat because long-distance warehousing of these items becomes infeasible. Though the industry is dealing with these challenges by shifting from retail to e-commerce.

Conclusion

During these corona times, the utmost priority of the Indian mattress industry is to stand shoulder to shoulder for spreading awareness, comfort and to provide safe & sound sleep to buyers.

 

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Healthy, plant-based snacking: Emerging snack trends in India
Healthy, plant-based snacking: Emerging snack trends in India
 

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has led to a shift in consumer behavior even when it comes to their snacking preferences. This resulted in overnight innovation in the snack food market, which comprises salty snacks, confectionery, baked snacks, and frozen snacks. The need to eat healthy food, environmental concerns, convenience, affordability, and at the same time trying out something unique are the factors that would drive the growth of the snacking industry in 2020.

Many emerging markets rise to the top of those with an increased appetite for snacks. Seeing sales growth in non-essential categories, like snacks, is a good indicator that consumers in these countries are ready and able to spend beyond the bare necessities, marking an incredible opportunity for FMCG companies in these markets, despite the pay-cut or job loss because of the COVID-19.

Here are some of the trend spotlights:

Healthy at convenience

Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, stroke, and heart attacks are estimated to contribute to 73% of all deaths. Governments around the world have implemented taxes, campaigns, labeling, and advertising reforms to help consumers make healthier food choices. And, COVID-19 has also made the urgent need of shifting towards healthier snacking options. People are becoming mindful snackers and are also looking for clean labels. Companies are in the process to adjust their action plans in addressing these rapidly increasing consumer needs. The good news is, this healthy food trend is creating new opportunities within snacking and adjacent categories.

On-the-go snacking products

Portability has become one of the main criteria of consumers, who are either working from home or leading a busy schedule. However, on-the-go snacking could be a concern when it comes to sustainability, due to their disposable nature and use of excess packaging. But, many companies are dealing with this major concern to shrink by deciding to produce minimum packaging waste. They have introduced recyclable and biodegradable packaging solutions. Many companies have been urging the consumers to send back the wrapper or the bottle of their company’s location and for that, they are attaching an envelope with their address mentioned in it. It has been seen that almost 40 percent of wasted fruit and vegetables are “imperfect” produce that has been turned away by supermarkets for not complying with cosmetic standards. As a result, snacking companies are also working to reduce food waste. For example, an emerging snacking brand in the UK launched a new range of crisps made from surplus fruit and vegetables, as it aims to give value to oddly shaped, discolored, or blemished fruits and vegetables.

Plant-based snacking

There has been a rise in plant-based diet among consumers in the past few years and the snacking sector has also modified their ingredients according to the consumers’ growing preferences. The global plant-based snacks market was valued at USD 34.69 billion in 2019 and is forecast to reach USD 73.61 billion by 2028, according to Future Market Insights. From vegan jerky, almond milk yogurt, to vegan protein bars, the plant-based snacking market is going through a plethora of innovations to cash in on the trend. They are targeting health-conscious consumers.  Conventional crisp-making methods, such as deep-frying, have been replaced with a trend for popped and puffed crisps. Popped and puffed snacks often use ‘healthier’ ingredients such as seaweed, lentils, chickpeas, and seeds.

Way forward

The FMCG landspace is going through a major transformation in the past few months. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and even after the pandemic subsides, the trend of healthy eating is going to stay for a longer time because consumers have understood that nothing is precious than their wellbeing. The vending industry is one of the most affected industry because most of the snack vending machines are set up either in offices or metro stations. Though metro stations are operational now, many offices are still shut. According to a report by ResearchAndMarkets.com, the global snack food market is expected to grow from USD 210.4 billion in 2019 to USD 215.9 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 2.7%. This low growth is down to an economic slowdown across countries affected by Covid-19.

 

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How E-commerce Furniture Industry has changed during recent times?
How E-commerce Furniture Industry has changed during recent times?
 

In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic has managed to transform how people live, shop, and interact with others. They are cautious about being socially active and disclaimer to follow social distancing, using sanitizers, wearing masks, etc. have somehow become a part and parcel of life now, gradually preparing everyone to brace for the ‘new normal’.

While the pandemic has affected business operations in almost every industry globally, e-commerce platforms are adopting new technologies in order to keep up with consumer needs and offer a hassle-free shopping experience. In India, many e-commerce furniture platforms are witnessing huge shifts in consumer behavior and frequently changing business trends. Let us explore how this pandemic is changing the e-commerce furniture industry.

COVID-19 shifting consumer behavior

According to an IBEF industry research report, Indian e-commerce was expected to grow to USD 200 billion by 2026. However, the lockdown, followed by unlocking phases saw the market landscape and demands of costumers indicating a huge rise, signifying that the sector will hit expected figures much sooner. Here are some basic consumer behavior changes that have been reported in the last few months through different surveys:

  • 8 in 10 buyers have switched their shopping habits
  • Over 70% of people are ordering products online that they were purchasing normally from stores
  • Approximately 5 in 10 shoppers hesitate to visit stores now
  • 80% of retailers believe that the virus spread has a deep impact on customer response
  • 30% of businesses expect that the pandemic will cause their e-commerce establishment to grow

Among all this, a major setback being observed is a pause in production and diminished labor force after the lockdown. Some believe that these changes are temporary; with time the community will move swiftly beyond the survival mode and digital adaptation will bring huge transformations in the coming years.

New emerging world order in retail

Brands can no longer wait for the lockdown to be lifted completely and rely entirely on offline presence. They have to adjust to new norms of online marketing, a perspective that can increase sales and convert buyers. Retailers switching to online platforms should upgrade to an omnichannel ecosystem and propose innovative shopping experience by interpreting new buying behavior, and reallocate resources. So far, Coronavirus has disturbed the entire structure of how things were working conventionally. Like many others, the situation with the furniture industry is also changing.

Shutdowns, slow manufacturing, dump inventories, etc. in countries like China, Italy, and India during this pandemic have become common. Luckily, things are getting back on track as every country is recovering at its own pace from the crisis. India has stopped using, buying, and collaborating with Chinese products to benefit local brands while championing the ‘Vocal for Local’ initiative, part of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

E-commerce: A boon

E-commerce is now being widely considered a blessing during this pandemic. Companies that have an established online portal for furniture shopping gained huge benefits in fulfilling customer needs. Those who recently invested in digital platforms with an online presence are also trying to survive. According to some market survey reports, almost 33% surveyed said they avoid offline stores, while a significant percentage said they’ll avoid such stores in the future.

This is the time furniture brands, manufacturers, and retailers need to develop an effective supply chain response to alleviate risk and face any interruptions in the future.

Good time to make an online presence

The seriousness of the virus has urged people to stay home, leading to an increase in online sales. In the future, a boost in e-commerce growth rates is expected as online marketplaces will be less impacted than offline retailers. According to the SaaS platform provider, Quantum Metric, online sales increased 52% compared with the same time frame a year ago. Additionally, the number of online shoppers has increased by 8.8% since the pandemic began, pointing towards the increasing presence of online customers.

Be it a furniture brand or a retailer, it’s important to ensure that the website is equipped with features that can help in connecting the gap between online-offline like customization, 360-views, high-quality zoom-in facility, detailed shots, and much more.

Technology is boss

These days, technology is enabling working-from-home, impacting communication with friends, colleagues, and family, and becoming an integral part of online shopping. The latest addition is augmented reality (AR), an important component of online shopping through which buyers can make decisions from the comfort of home.

Alternative to the offline furniture market

The growing concerns around COVID-19 in India and other countries have induced big changes for customers and businesses. Every seller is seeking to provide a better customer experience and showcasing their products through virtual formats. Digital activities like podcasts, webinars, virtual product tours, showroom presentations, etc. have entered the realm of ‘new normal’ in the world, marking a tipping point for the adaption of e-commerce.

What’s next?

Today, we've learned that technology has made lives easier and better during this challenging time. With unlocking, the demand for furniture, appliances, electronics, etc. began to increase. However, people are spending money carefully and avoiding crowds, resulting in more online purchases.

In a nutshell, technology and the COVID-19 pandemic have affected the global economy considerably. Every business around the globe is unfolding to accept this situation, and websites are taking over offline stores. Thus, the only available option for business survival during such times is to prioritize digital merchandising, stay strong, and mark an effective online presence.

 

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How to Start a Successful Online Gaming Website
How to Start a Successful Online Gaming Website
 

Have you been bitten by the digital bug? Are you looking to translate your current skills and knowledge into the virtual world? Perhaps you have grown disheartened with the current state of affairs within the traditional retail marketplace. These are some of the most compelling reasons why the online community holds a wealth of opportunities.

This is particularly the case if you have experience with online gaming platforms and you are a budding developer. However, there is a major issue that needs to be overcome. While you might very well have developed some of the most exciting games, these will never appeal to the audience if they are not promoted in the correct manner. So, what are some of the steps that you should take if you hope to reach your intended customer base? How does website design come into play and why does partnering with an e-commerce platform often represent the best choice? Let's take a look at these questions to get a better understanding of what is in store.

A Picture Speaks More than 1,000 Words

The online community is a very visual world. Some of the most successful gaming websites are understandably associated with a clear and attractive layout. So, be sure to take a look at portals such as comeon casino India and others. What do they all share in common? You will likely notice a handful of characteristics including:

  • A clear and concise layout
  • A compelling call to action (such as to sign up or to play for free)
  • Quick navigation between pages
  • A mobile responsive website design

We need to keep in mind that it only takes a matter of seconds for a visitor to decide whether or not she wishes to explore your website in greater detail. So, first impressions are incredibly important.

Why Leverage the Power of an E-Commerce Provider?

Of course, many game developers are not entirely familiar with the world of enterprise e-commerce. This is why working in synergy with a reputable provider is often the best way to take the guesswork out of the equation. Furthermore, the utilities and tools supplied by these platforms are much more functional when compared to those associated with free hosting services such as WordPress.

E-commerce providers can likewise offer a host of ancillary benefits such as:

  • A centralised means to monitor your ongoing marketing campaigns.
  • Drag-and-drop website templates.
  • Secure point-of-sale systems.
  • The ability to accept a host of different payment options.
  • 24/7 customer support if you happen to run into a problem.

Although a quality e-commerce provider will require some type of paid monthly subscription, the fact of the matter is that this small financial commitment will ensure quality results.

On a final note, creating a successful gaming website will take time, effort, and patience. This is why you should always be realistic with your expectations. Results will undoubtedly follow in the near future.

 

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What the future of personal care industry will look like?
What the future of personal care industry will look like?
 

The personal care industry is itself undergoing a makeover. The evergreen segment has witnessed many high-profile acquisitions last year. Thanks to the technology and product innovations, the sector is on a roll since virtual try-on and online marketplaces have entered the picture. As per a report, the global skin care products market size was valued at 134.8 billion in 2018. It is now expected to expand with a CAGR of 4.4% from 2019 to 2025 due to the rapidly growing global cosmetics industry. Rising demand for sunscreen, lotions, and face creams is further projecting affirmative outcomes.

According to Zion Market Research, the global beauty industry is pegged to reach $863 billion by 2024. The craze to look flawless is one of the biggest driving forces of the market which, despite being highly saturated, is proving to be one of the best investment bets for market players. However, increased awareness and emphasis on health are driving favorable figures this year.

Here’s how the future of the personal care industry will look like:

‘Hygiene’ to get due attention

With a clear focus on health in the years to come, the industry is expected to move towards hygiene and personal care items. Besides, health experts have repeatedly urged the populace to practice good hand hygiene since the coronavirus outbreak unleashed. The pandemic swelled the sales and prices of hand sanitizers across international markets with demand exceeding supply in the online as well as offline stores. The industry, which was valued at USD 2.7 billion in 2019, is now anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22.6% from 2020 to 2027.

Products with natural goodness

Skincare accounts for approx. 45% of the overall cosmetic product’s sales. Going by the survey conducted this May (by digital marketing firm Bazaarvoice and the online product review platform Influenster), two-thirds of the women want greater transparency when it comes to labeling clean products. It reveals a growing appetite for ingredient transparency as people are consistently refraining from using chemical, paraben, and sulfate-laden products. Users are gradually inclining towards brands that are using naturally sourced or plant-based constituents for skincare routines. The reason is that such products do not harm the skin anatomy while providing the power of antioxidant-rich superfoods.

Specific products for millennials and Gen Z

Rather than using the one-size-fits-all strategy, the personal care industry will see a segmentation targeting Generation X, Y, and Z as per their unique needs. Millennials and Gen Zers are trendsetters responsible for steering many revolutionary changes at various stages, be it against single-use plastic or rooting for workplace inclusions. Hence, addressing the skincare woes of this demographic becomes a necessity. We will see different products concocted to suit the distinct skin requirements of both generations.

More emphasis on marketing digitally

By this time, we all know how crucial social media is in bringing visibility and followership for a business. More than half of the world uses social media or networking platforms. Moreover, it allows companies to access precious data that contains information about customers' present buying behavior and preferences. The data enables brands to engineer a product and formulate the right products, campaigns, and messaging to attract or mold consumer’s opinion in favor of their new offering or an ingredient. Hence, we can expect digital marketing to take the lead over traditional forms in the years to come.

Gender-neutral products

Historically, women are seen as the face of beauty products. The trend is likely to change for the good in the future. We might bid goodbye to this era of gender-based biases as grooming is equally important to both the sexes. Today, leading cosmetics companies are roping in male ambassadors to market their products. Dismantling stereotypes, the lines between men and women will blur with the beauty and fashion industry becoming fluid with its approach. So, we may soon not see ‘For Women’ or ‘For Men’ tags below the packaging at all.

Eco-friendly Outlook

Research says that the vegan and environmentally sustainable market is set to reach USD 20.8 billion by 2025 worldwide. Consumers are trying to stay clear of goods that are sourced from unethical means and are embracing cruelty-free and vegan products. In fact, vegan products are gaining popularity because of their superior content.

Technology will be at the forefront of the personal care industry. With AI- and ML-integrated IoT devices being developed, data will take the centre stage in deciding the personal skincare routines for individuals based on their skin analysis. Personalization will rule the beauty industry with sensitive messaging and sans creating the divide based on cultural diversity. The omnichannel approach will seamlessly integrate experience and sales for both customers and retailers. The future of the personal care industry is indeed open, exciting, and rife with new opportunities.

 

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How maternity fashion has evolved in India
How maternity fashion has evolved in India
 

Today, maternity clothing is much more reflective of personal style and differs from person to person. The baby-doll dresses of the '60s to sheer ensembles worn by modern celebrities, the maternity fashion has changed over the years.

Being a woman takes a lot of coconuts. But we understand the need to be comfortable and confident, no matter what changes your body is going through. These days there is no need to conceal your bump and women wear fashionable maternity clothes that flatter your shape throughout your nine months of pregnancy. We all want maternity look like Anushka Sharma, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Blake Lively, and Angelina Jolie while taking a stroll in the streets or dipping in the pool. 

We are here to sort your maternity wardrobe by putting these trendy, flattering, and unique options together that’ll help you maintain your personal style throughout your nine months.

Night scenes

Eye-catching prints and patterns will lend a playful feel to your maternity wardrobe. Your growing shape can let you carry off maximalist motifs like wide stripes, intricate prints, bold animal designs for the night party scene. Keep a bold Lipper and accessory understated.

10 to 6 sorted

Whether you choose primary brights or pretty pastel, stick to just one striking piece and team it up with neutral tomes of effortless elegance while at work. During this time, every woman needs a few cool cover-ups in their wardrobe for work. Front open, biker jacket, cape, or blazer can work with myriad outfits and will be on high rotation in your line-up of maternity looks.

“Over the years, the trend of maternity wear has changed with more and more women wanting to flaunt their bump rather than hiding it. Earlier, the mindset was to hide the bump by wearing loose and bigger size clothes which have now changed and women want to be more fashionable be it at work or outings. During pregnancy women go through a lot of changes and dressing well helps them gain more self-confidence,” shares Master Franchisee Seraphine India, Rajat Kapoor.

90’s style

If you ask any pregnant woman what is the one maternity piece that she can’t live without, the answer will definitely be denim overalls. They never went out of style, even princess Diana herself wore one. This trend is timeless and really compliments maternity wear in so many ways. You can choose a short or a long one with a shirt underneath and some cool kicks or even a long-sleeved one for a full denim look.

Active wear

The mommy-to-be should always feel the optimal comfort and light support while exercising during pregnancy. The active wear during maternity must fit well, flatter your body, and is perfect for growing bump. The London-based maternity brand, Isabella Oliver offers a wide variety for the mommy tribe to look chic and relaxed at the same time while they workout.

Go casual and breezy

At the time when your body is changing month-by-month, shoes, bags, and jewels offer an easy way to tap into new season trends. Whatever trimester it is, the right finishing touches can take a look from simple to standout. Jeans and lower are slightly difficult at the time of growing bump but brands like Seraphine which is even Royal’s favorite, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and adored by celebs like Angelina Jolie, Jennifer garner offers a wide selection of breezy and casual yet stylish maternity staples. Go for a flattering wrap dress with an adjustable belt which can also be helpful in nursing later.

 

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How COVID 19 has impacted fashion retail?
How COVID 19 has impacted fashion retail?
 

The CoronaVirus pandemic has had sweeping repercussions on all sectors of the economy worldwide. However, the sectors that will be extremely hard hit are the ones that come in the category of non-essential spending. Design Apparel and footwear definitely come in this category. At the Milan Fashion Week this February, Giorgio Armani chose to live-stream his new collection rather than invite visitors – a direct offshoot of the rampant spread of positively tested cases in Italy. Let us look closely at the UK retail sector, since the UK is a country that attracts billions of tourists from across the globe every year; London is known to be the hub of cultural and commercial activity with maximum retail sales in the European region. It is now estimated that the apparel sector in the UK will be the worst hit with a decline in spending by 1/5th or 20.6 % less than the usual spending. Sales of clothing and footwear in the UK alone are expected to decline by GBP 11.1 billion, which is the equivalent of US $ 13.06 billion.

In other words, it is the equivalent of the combined clothing sales of the 3 market leaders – Primark, Marks & Spenser and Next. All 376 Primark stores spread out in 12 countries have been closed until further notice. Primark – owner, ABF (Associated British Foods) stated that this would account for a loss of some US $ 751.5 million of net sales per month. Nike, Gap and H&M are temporarily suspending online operations and have closed down their retail outlets in an attempt to curb the spread of the lethal Corona virus. 

Asia, which is mainly the hub of production for garments and footwear has exhibited a knee jerk reaction and is predicted to go through some devastating consequences in so far as its fashion and design industry is concerned. Manufacturing units that deal with materials, which were up until now being sourced from China, are in a dire situation.

The Indian government has given strict directives saying that the workers cannot be terminated nor should there be a reduction in their wages. The partial lockdown of factories in Bangladesh has had enormous ramifications; the 1000 factories which have been locked down are the source of livelihood to 1.96 million workers, reporting a loss of a business to the tune of US $2.67 billion in cancelled orders from retailers and brands, which have witnessed a rapid plummeting of sales and have more recently closed down stores in the US and across Europe.

The virus has coerced the world’s fashion capital New York to come to an abrupt halt. The US jeans giant Wrangler has extended its store closure until 31 March. In Mexico and Central America, the factories are shutting down on account of retail stores suddenly closing their shutters in response to the primary need of the hour – social distancing. Mexico, which had already lost significantly to the US market in the last decade, has predicted a decline in exports by at least 10 percent as its factories, which include fabric and denim giants with the likes of Kaltex cut down on capacity.

The wedding season in India begins in October and continues till early spring. For many, the wedding season goes right up to April. Everyone who is part of the fashion industry looks forward to this season. All the interconnected chains involved like the fashion designer, craftspeople who do the zardozi and dabka embroidery, the daily wage workers etc know that this is their time of the year to make a neat sum that shall support them for the rest of the year. But the Covid-19 and the measures to curb its spread like social distancing have dampened the spirit and sentiment of the wedding market big time. Manish Malhotra, TarunTahiliani and Sabyasachi have shut operations. India Fashion Week that was scheduled to be held in New Delhi from March 11 to March 15 has been postponed. Valmort Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week has been postponed from April to June, given the gravity of the current crisis. It is unlike anything the world has ever witnessed.

It has been forecast that the pandemic is going to peak in April with most stores remaining closed till the end of May. Non – food spending will start to recover only in June but a more regular pre-Corona outbreak spending in the apparel industry is expected to come about only by October 2020.

What has been experienced by the design industry worldwide, in the last two months, is just the beginning of a ripple effect. The COVID-pandemic will alter the complexion of the supply – production chain dynamics. There is, however, no need to panic – it is estimated that shopping online will replace in store shopping, in a huge way, especially for the big brands and international labels.

But before we even talk about the revival of the fashion industry, we need to commend the willingness of some of the biggest names in fashion in Italy and France to step up to the challenge – brands like LVMH and Coty have steered their production lines to manufacture sanitiser in the form of hydro alcoholic gel along with the production of masks. Chanel has contributed its services by moving to production of  masks and gowns while Armani to make surgical Overalls. Prada is contributing by making facial covers  for donation.H&M is working to make personal protective equipment for hospitals in Europe.

These gestures are what make the fashion and design industry problem solvers and come together as one unified global conglomerate ready to wage a war on the pandemic.

 

 

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Industry analysis of maternity clothing in India
Industry analysis of maternity clothing in India
 

As millennial women become moms, there is a significant shift in how they pursue their pregnancies. Years ago, pregnancy belly was a thing to hide under oversized clothes and dupattas, but not any more. The women becoming mothers today are confident of their bodies, they are choosing when to have their children and they are also enjoying the pregnancy and motherhood period. They do not merely depend on traditional wisdom but strike a balance with research and are fully aware of their situation as young moms. This shift is also seen in their choices that they make as expectant or nem moms- their dressing sense, their purchase behavior and how they wish to raise their children.

According to reports, the maternity wear industry in India had estimated at Rs 2,000 crores in 2017 growing at a CAGR of15-17% per annum. Among the apparel segments, innerwear appears to be a potential growth category across all categories. Maternity wear have made persistent inroads in India over the last few years, segmenting into pre-natal and post-natal clothing and accessories. Besides, women in the country have also started accepting maternity wear not as a luxury, but as a basic need. They believe in the idea of pampering oneself during the most beautiful period, i.e. motherhood.

Trendy mother on the go

Pre- and post-pregnancy is a period when a woman's body goes through tremendous changes. With these constant changes in woman’s body size and shape, appropriate maternity outfits are a must-have for every mom-to-be to ensure the level of comfortability. Women don’t have to compromise on fashion in order to have a comfortable pregnancy. While many brands have realized this gap and have launched a host of maternity apparel, this category is still fairly small in India, but picking up at great speed.

Innovation in maternity clothing

Maternity wear can be divided into two major categories- pregnancy and nursing wear. While they can be one or both, nursing wear allows women to comfortably work (at home or otherwise) while being able to nurse comfortably or pump. A lot of women need to be in friendlier clothes when they spend hours away from their child at work and need to pump at office. Having nursing friendly attire can make this much easier. There is also a plethora of variety in nursing wear i.e. bras to tank tops, sleep bras to shapewear, nursing pads, comfortable underwear etc. available, considering the changes a woman’s body undergoes post-pregnancy. The intent is most important to bring the ‘comfort factor’ which fits the changing needs of the mother’s body and skin-like feel of the fabrics.

Prominent factors behind the growth

Most pregnancy wear focuses on comfort and functionality but that doesn’t restrict to only pregnancy or nursing wear. Most of these apparel can be worn well after this period as well, the only differentiating factor is the comfort that these attires bring along which becomes a significant purchase driver due to pregnancy and nursing stages. This growing awareness is primarily from the market in the West, penetration of social media, nuclear families, higher discretionary spending and high disposable incomes have led to the growth of the maternity wear segment in India. Some other significant factors facilitating this trend are financial independence, emergent women workforce and affordability, among other things. Also, smaller family sizes have made each pregnancy special for today’s mothers, and they would like to live to the hilt during this time. Other factors like influences from the big screen and social media have also added to the growth of this segment.

The surge in the graph

Such upswing in the revenue graph indicated that the maternity care products industry in India is transforming drastically from a small-time interest market into a growing commercial sector. The market which was earlier unorganized has now turned into an organized segment primarily concentrated amongst the giant retail stores and leading manufacturing brands who are willing to expand their operations and capture the untapped market. The industry is further expanding by adding several other baby-care needs such as diaper bags, nursing pillows, baby apparel, baby accessories, dinner sets, baby bedding and blankets. The overall per capita spend on mom, and child care has grown primarily due to emerging categories in the market, and the price has not deterred the movement. On an average, the mass market, which is 52-53 per cent of India’s population is spending 1-1.5 lakh in 4 years of parenting and childcare when they’re raising a kid and living through the pregnancy journey. These are just ballpark figures which have led the mom and the childcare market to be as large as a US $ 74 billion in India today between products and services put together. This is growing at about 30-35 per cent on a year-on-year basis.

Conclusion

The market of maternity wear looks quite lucrative, holding immense potential of providing better choices of apparels and essentials for new mommies to make their motherhood most memorable. Moreover, it also empowers pregnant and breastfeeding mothers to make them feel confident, beautiful, and happy.

 

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40% of consumers are planning to increase online spend on apparel: Facebook-BCG Report
40% of consumers are planning to increase online spend on apparel: Facebook-BCG Report
 

The COVID-19 pandemic has created multiple fundamental changes in consumer behavior, some short term while some longer lasting than others. In order to equip businesses with the necessary knowledge to build for new path-to-purchase journeys,Facebook along with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) came out with a consumer sentiment survey, titled ‘Turn the Tide’, which aims to serve as a reference point on consumer insights, trends, and guidance for the industry, brands, and agencies as they begin to negotiate the commencement of operations. Now, Facebook and BCG have delved into how the spending sentiment is translating differently across categories, and provides recommendations for businesses to build for new path-to-purchase journeys.

Apparel, a popular product category has witnessed weaker consumer spending sentiment due to the financial uncertainty amid COVID-19. According to the report, Apparel is one of the ‘shrinking’ categories as consumers facing or expecting a crunch in their income increasingly prioritize essential goods and services. Additionally, the survey conducted by Facebook and BCG has noted that as consumers are not stepping out of their homes as often, it is bound to have an impact on social occasion clothing requirements.

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Here are the key highlights:

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the socio-economic fabric of India in the following ways:

  • Focus on health & safety (a 120% spike in online searches on health and immunity in India. 49% consumers intend to buy more vitamins, herbs, health supplements, etc. in the coming days)
  • Social distancing and restrictions on movement
  • Income uncertainty leading to weak demand
  • Re-calibration of consumer priorities leading to weaker consumer spending sentiment for discretionary categories like apparel

7 consumer trends will have an impact on the Apparel category:

  • Reversal of Past Trends (Trends that might be seen as temporary)
    1. Trading down and bargain hunting: 32% consumers are planning to trade down while 40% consumers are expecting discounts/ promotions during apparel shopping
    2. Shopping for utility: The number of consumers who shop due to functional reasons are expected to rise significantly
  • Acceleration of Existing Trends (High-potential permanent shifts in behavior)
    1. Embracing digital services & experiences: Digital influence in apparel sales to go up to60-65%
    2. Accelerated adoption of e-commerce and O2O: 40%of consumers are planning to increase online spend on apparel
    3. Strive for health and wellness: 1.4xrise in time spent on fitness apps, and an increase indemand for active wear/athleisure
  • New Habits (Stickiness of change is yet to be determined)
    1. Remote way of living: 79% consumers are unwilling to go out of their homes, except for work, negatively impacting the social occasion clothing requirement
    2. Superior hygiene and clean living – a new norm: Consumers want retailer to focus on high standards of store hygiene post the pandemic (57% globally) 

In the pre-pandemic scenario, the Apparel category in India was growing steadily and consistently. During 2015-2019, the apparel industry grew at a CAGR of 13%, with 90% of sales being driven via the unorganized sector. 67% of shopping was done through modern trade channels, as compared to just 7% via online channels. Although small, the online channel is growing fast, the online channel grew at a CAGR of 34% from 2015-19.

The new consumer path-to-purchase is dynamic, and filled with opportunities:

Pre-Purchase

Purchase

Post-Purchase

Digital Proliferation with more functional shopping

Expectation of delivering core shopping experience while meeting changing needs

Opportunity to strengthen advocacy to build aspiration

 

The Facebook-Boston Consulting Group recommendations to help brands recover and win through the new normal include:

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Pre-purchase

  1. Leverage digital capabilities: Nike brought alive its digital capabilities by live streaming workout videos,training programs and expert tips from trainers
  2. Build social connect via influencer engagement
  3. Create personalised engagement through seasonal/promotion led campaigns
  4. Drive digital retargeting
  5. Prop up right proposition in messaging: Recognizing consumer needs, formal wear brand Fable Street pivoted to no stain clothing toindicate longer duration clothing

Purchase

  1. Win online by reimagining pathways and selling models
  2. Bring alive experiences withassisted shopping: Luxury fashion house Burberry leveraged AR/VR for virtual try on and purchase
  3. Replicate in-person experiences: Prada used sales associates drivenassisted shopping for product recommendations
  4. Re-vamp in-store experiences and institute hygiene &safety measures
  5. Optimize portfolio for value creation
  6. Relook at the Media Mix Model by aligning with the changing landscape to build efficiency in acquisition

Post-purchase

  1. Strengthen consumer engagement through loyalty programs, incentivizing social peer recommendation: Shoppers Stop delivered e-Gift voucher allowing consumersto engage with their loved ones
  2. Drive value by repeat purchase and consumer up trade, re-target existing consumers: Lime Road directly offered gold membership with a certainamount of purchase
     

 

 

 

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Retail Trends to Look Out for in the Gaming Industry
Retail Trends to Look Out for in the Gaming Industry
 

Whilst bricks and mortar videogame stores used to be the big earners, now online subscription models are where major retailers have focused their attention.

Although retail in the gaming industry used to be based around nothing more than casino gift shops and videogame purchases, the state of the market today is radically different. Online gaming retail accounts for a huge, and fairly young, section of the market. Whilst money to be made from consoles was once an enormous money-spinner for gaming companies, now tiny add-on costs are stacking up to create huge profits. The gaming industry is a rapidly changing one. Here are some of the trends that are on the rise right now.

Peer to Peer Retail

There is more of an appetite than ever for video gaming content, with users paying subscriptions to watch their favorite gamers at work.

There is more of an appetite than ever for video gaming content, with users paying subscriptions to watch their favorite gamers at work.

The peer to peer retail market is likely to continue to grow over the next year, with streaming services such as Twitch gaining popularity. Currently, many users sign up to watch their favorite players demonstrate exactly how to win a game of online poker, or how to defeat a boss on a tricky level. To someone who isn't familiar with the service though, it could be confusing understanding how it generates income.

The opportunities for money-making here are simple; advertising and subscriptions. In the subscription model, users can pay an $8.99 premium to remove all advertisements from their account. Some popular content creators also charge a small fee for extra content, usually $4.99 each month. Advertising is a little less straightforward. Twitch charges companies to place adverts on its homepage and between videos. As an incentive for these adverts to appear in a user's content, Twitch gives each user who reaches $100 worth of 'advert viewing time' per month, a portion of the proceeds. This sharing the wealth model provides Twitch with a stable income, advertisers with access to a unique demographic and content creators a small cut as well.

Game Subscriptions

Much as Twitch operates a largely subscription-based service, so too do many of the game company giants. The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly, the technology for games that worked perfectly as simple CDs in the early 2000s has become far more complex. Now in 2020 games are absolutely huge, require enormous amounts of storage space, and are far too complex to fit onto half a dozen CDs, let alone one. The larger games that were released in the late 2010s as hard copies proved this point, as many bugs were flagged up after just a few weeks of general release. To combat this issue, the ability to download a game and receive regular patches and bug fixes has become the norm.

The second reason that gaming as a service has become popular, is that it is a lot simpler to encourage customers to spend more money. In order for consumers to 'upgrade' their gaming experience beforehand, they would have to go to a game store and purchase a 'stuff pack'. This was often around the $20-$30 price bracket, which was a considerable expense. Now consumers have the option of buying just one item from that stuff pack, for closer to $2, an amount that many people will part with without a second thought. These micro-transactions are quickly becoming an enormous money-spinner for gaming companies.

Cross-Screen Gaming

Cross screen gaming is perhaps less an emerging trend and more a lesson learned. Over the last five years, companies chose to invest a lot of time and money into making their games playable across multiple platforms, perhaps Xbox, Computer, and Mobile phone. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these efforts have not landed well with consumers. It turns out that most frequent gamers use one or two platforms alone to play, generally a console or PC. Although they may well own other devices that are capable of gaming, these are more often used for watching content; for example phone and tablet.

There are a couple of exceptions to the rule of course. Some consoles have incorporated mobile phones as handsets for their games, to allow more players to join in if a household doesn't have multiple controllers. These 'party' games are certainly niche, but a nice that might be worth exploring further. The most useful thing to be taken from this cross-screen experiment though is the voracious appetite for gaming videos. Twitch is further ahead than perhaps anyone with that, but that's not to say there isn't room for competition.

 

 

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How COVID has impacted luxury retail?
How COVID has impacted luxury retail?
 

The novel Coronavirus has dramatically changed things overnight. The pandemic has presented a paradigm shift in consumer behaviour, whether it is with regards tothe daily lifestyle or spending on luxurious goods. Covid-19 has slashed revenues in half for most brands, but the luxury industry still remains hopeful that Chinese consumers will return to their previous levels of consumption soon after the outbreak stabilizes. The pandemic may bring a major change in the consumers' mindset and the value systems that underpin their luxury buying decisions.

According to the recent report by Bain & Company, global luxury sales could drop up to 35% by the end of 2020, this impact may be very subjective in regards of the country or the target population.

Change in Luxury Consumer Behaviour

Brands will focus on keepingthe millennials and Gen Z, who are already quite tech savvy, engaged through the digital platforms; fromshowing off their new collection to unravelling their couture designs. AI will step in to create more personalised experiences for different brands. Online buying will be more attractive in the future. This slowdown is apt for luxury brands to reinvent themselves to digitize their processes and enhance their systems and technology. This will allow them to develop operational efficiencies and provide personalised experiences to the consumers.

Luxury Brands entering into the cycle of innovation

One of the key drivers for brands post the pandemic would be to dive back into the business in full swing. In order to do so, brands will have to revamp their strategies by exploring new product categories at a cheaper price point, or revitalise their brands to bring in new strategies. Completely diversification would be a global trend due to the heightened omni channel approach that brands are already beginning to embrace. The global luxury consumer will see a new era, where luxury brands will explore markets with dual strategies; both at an accessible premium / entry level price point as well as a point where luxury will become more and more exclusive. The middle market consumer will drive sales for brands playing at the lower level whilst niche luxury consumers will become more conscientious towards their purchases.

Based on several factors most brands would adapt to these changes. However, certain brands which come from the old heritage luxury segments, for example, Chanel, Cartier, Patek Philippe and so on, would adopt a restricted approach. They may choose not to completely indulge in too many extensions or offerings post the pandemic, but rather adopt a more minimalistic and conscientious approach to attract their consumers, andconnect with them emotionally. Luxury is all about emotional connect and in order to do so, brands have to steer clear from all activities which signify aggressive sales tactics. Their approach will be to appeal to their consumers by talking about what they are doing to take care of their employees, their consumers and the brand as a whole.

When compared to the heritage brands, modern luxury brands like Armani, Versace, Jimmy Choo, etc, may have a different approach altogether.Theymay introduce varied offerings to keep their consumers interested in them and attract them with new line extensions and products, probably at a cheaper price compared to the previous collections.

The strategies that may be adopted depend on the country of origin of the brand, the type of brand DNA, and the perception it has in the market. Most of all the brand will only go as far as they know would be acceptable to their target consumer. They may not indulge in exploring several opportunities or new endeavours to excite consumers, and rather, focus on the “less is more approach,” as that is what luxury is all about.

A new Era of Phygitization (Physical + Digital)

Post the pandemic, the luxury consumer experience will be like never before. People will want to get back to the brick and mortar retail after over usage of digital platforms in the luxury buying space. However, the prolonged pandemic / lockdown phase has forced brands to explore and adapt to new technologies. Means such as AI technology, easy chat and online interaction options are being widely considered in the luxury consumer service space. A lot of these trends will continue post the pandemic for a very long term and some of them might end up becoming permanent means to keep the consumer-brand connect alive and relevant.

Brands are constantly updating their social media and other digital platforms, the way they would change store windows to adapt to seasons. There is a constant dialogue between the brand and the consumer today, whether it is about their workmanship, their story telling, how they are taking care of their employees and of course, safety measures during the pandemic. All of this is being done through the language of social media, and much of it is being highly appreciated by the ever-curious luxury consumer who wants to be connected with their favourite brands every step of the way.

Brands which can successfully adapt do this change, are the ones that will emerge stronger post the lockdown, and suffer a much lesser impact than others. 

 

The author of this article is Ms Smita Jain – Director, MGLUXM, S P Jain School of Global Management.

 

 

 

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Managing the Commercial Impact of the Coronavirus: Implications for the Sports Entertainment Industry
Managing the Commercial Impact of the Coronavirus: Implications for the Sports Entertainment Industry
 

With pandemic affecting everything around the world, and various governments forcing several restrictions on how to conduct oneself or a business, irreparable financial losses are being faced by businesses. Sports industry is not different. The global value of the sports industry is estimated at US$756 billion annually and COVID-19 has impacted this projection in more ways that one. To safeguard the health of athletes and others involved, most major sporting events at international, regional and national levels have been cancelled or postponed – from marathons to football tournaments, athletics championships to basketball games, handball to ice hockey, rugby, cricket, sailing, skiing, weightlifting to wrestling and more. The Olympics and Paralympics, for the first time in the history of the modern games, have been postponed, and will be held in 2021.

The Sports Industry is a major contributor to social and economic development. Its importance to facilitate coaching for aspiring sportspersons seeking guidance through training and coaching,  to nurture budding talent for all their recognition/laurels/achievements is recognised by people and the governments. Community Sports, for instance, present ample opportunities for the general public to have interaction and participation in events with established sportspersons. The training by trained coaches/trainers helps amateurs sharpen their skills and professionals could move on a well guided direction to enhance their ranking.

However, because of COVID-19 all the training and activities at the community sport centres has hit a break. Suddenly, the need to follow law of the land has risen for getting things back in action and re-think community sports in the new normal world around us. In view of the above, number of associated stakeholders, big or small, are facing newer challenges to ensure their ROI considering their legal positions on contracts/agreements (be it land owners or event organizers as none had perceived such situation and the absence of fall-out/termination and force majeure clauses), permissions considering health and safety guidelines, controlling expenditure on existing manpower, training and development, marketing/publicity expensing, cash-flows etc. Therefore, there are much strains and many obstacles on a promoter’s lap that need to be countered to mitigate risks in future.

Like many other natural calamities and pandemics the world has seen in past, cautious measures are required for starting, stabilising and growth in this industry. The focus, henceforth, may largely be on contracts/agreements, all-round training and development of employees, health and safety concerns for all, appropriate insurance to mitigate perceived losses (man, material etc), dos and don’ts in the complexes, detailed standard operating procedures, obligations and responsibilities of all/associated stake holders.

In India and with missing sponsors and media, the private operator’s day revenue is clocked by utilising available facilities on “Pay & Play”, “Training & Coaching” and “Corporate Days/Events” (involving various sports in an arena where multiple sports activities can be conducted). The more organised operators do have live streaming of events on Facebook/Instagram in addition to making photographers and videographers available during the event to derive a marginal added advantage on their price-tags and by seeking a minimum guarantee on attendees. The sponsored events by corporates are few though. 

The industry itself may be in new territory with newer paths to follow but with right strategies. With regulatory authorities/Governments freezing activities of contactable sports and permitting few non-contactable sports like Badminton, Table Tennis, Tennis only for single participation and Golf following safety protocols/physical distancing as of today, one may hope to see opening of team sports and contactable sports soon to save the industry from bigger losses. 

Sport is a major contributor spelling objectives and consequent advantages. Covid19 pandemic in the world has necessitated physical distancing and other safety protocol measures. The outcome is a disruption in routine life-style and that includes sports and physical activities. Many individuals are not able to actively participate in their regular individual or group sporting or physical activities outside of their homes. Under such conditions, many tend to be less physically active, have longer screen time, irregular sleep patterns as well as worse diets, resulting in weight gain and loss of physical fitness. The idea of sports is to go out in open and play for being physically and mentally active. This cannot be achieved in a closed door atmosphere and/or by use of electronic devices. It is important to maintain physical fitness, maintain endurance to be alert and swift. It is agreed that the concept of adapting to an online training session is prevalent these days but is useless for any aspiring youngster and a professional. This may be good for stretching, meditation, yoga and dance classes. 

The transformation, therefore, becomes important aspect in these defied conditions. Following recommendations seek support on safe re-opening of sporting events and conduct tournaments in order to maximize benefits that sport and physical activity can bring in the age of COVID-19 and beyond.

➢ Governments should work with well-regulated Sports Complexes under controls of Sports Authority of India, National Sports Academies and Private Operators.

➢ These may collaborate with health and care services.

➢ All centers must have appropriate and competent staffing for better results.

➢ All schools and civil society organizations representing various social groups should support physical activity at large under the protocols and progress recorded.

➢ The Governments (Center and/or State) should also provide stimulus package and overdraft facilities with long repayment period like being done for Center and State-regulated Sports Complexes/Stadia.

At the end, India needs to progress all-around at this stage. There should be financial build-ups and physical abilities improved in all segments for better outputs. All operators following SOPs/protocols may be recognized, ranking given, allocation of schedules with the expectation of results may be assigned to be progressive. These can be controlled by periodical checks/visits/progress. This is the only way forward to keep the Sports Industry healthy and competitive.

The article has been authored by Karan Bhalla, Director, Sports Maidan 

 

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The Fashion Ecosystem: A climatic take on Sustainable Fashion
The Fashion Ecosystem: A climatic take on Sustainable Fashion
 

Sustainable fashion is a well-structured philosophy and manoeuvre that promotes environmental and social responsibility, working hand-in-hand with fashionable and awe-worthy designs. It is a well-known fact that the fashion industry deals with a complex supply chain which includes production starting from yarn, which is then woven into fabric and then cut, and it is ultimately followed by being sewn into clothing. This process is indispensable its productivity extends across the globe.

Essentially, ‘Sustainability’ in the field of Fashion entails an array of diverse divisions and sub-divisions inclusive of social as well as ecological integrity. This article speaks about the climatic take on sustainability, bearing in mind that the fashion industry is a massive contributor to land, air and water pollution. ‘Fast fashion’ as a concept brings in mass production of clothing, where the designs go straight from the ramps to the showcases in designer stores. The ‘wear to discard’ approach is becoming increasingly popular due to a new trend coming into the fashion space every second.

Today, however, consumers are practicing mindful purchasing with a majority of them seeking awareness to meet demands. They partake in the race of apparel companies and industries who are transforming and practicing business models for the smooth flow of manufacturing processes and standard levels.

If we talk about global luxury brands like Gucci, they have already contributed effectively to reducing the environmental impact of their production processes. Their latest report showcased a 21 percent reduction in hampering the environment through new processes that have been adopted by the company on a global scale.

The luxury brand is forward-thinking in its strategy of generating a constructive and pragmatic change for our planet and its people. Gucci has formulated a game plan which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which seems to be a commendable approach towards sustainability.

A generalized platform is needed to help fashion answer the call to increase sustainability and productivity simultaneously as currently, the fashion industry is responsible for 20 percent of wastewater and 2-8 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally, with the possibly ascending by as much as 50 percent by 2030.

Coming back to the climatic take on Sustainable fashion, today, designers are focussing more on an 'eco-friendly change' approach that essentially reduces the number of microfibres that are later released into the environment. By using sustainable processes and practices which lead to a decreased strain on planet earth would help to inform others how we can carry fashion with sustainability.

Let's talk about some global fashion designers who are following the legacy of sustainable fashion and its approach. Now when you think of ethical luxury fashion, Stella McCartney is the name that individuals are becoming increasingly familiar with.

Materials used in her fashion house include ethically sourced wool, organic cotton, and recycled textiles, excluding fur and leather.

Another name is Katie Jones, who is a UK based knitwear fashion designer. Her brand practices sustainability as well as encourages social and environmental change. Her designs are playful aesthetics which are based on the "Waste Not" approach. Her production house turns the apparel and materials into colored textures that are fun while being wearable in all kinds of settings.

Like these international brands, homegrown brands like Label Varsha partaking in Indian ethnic wear, promote ethnicity and sustainability, using some of the most breathable cotton fabrics.

Now, if a designer wants to bring the change and add their name to the list of sustainable fashion designers here are some points that will help them achieve their goals.

  • Love and respect for nature- Always look for the strategies, production processes, and transformation that protects and serves sustainable materials as much as possible. These can be traceable and sourced from renewable sources, which are present in abundance.
  • Respect and love people- Whether it's consumers or farmers who help to grow crops and buy products, all are playing a significant role in the supply chain, one must ensure that they get positive impact and resources you are providing to them.
  • Respect and love for animals- In today's modern era, not all brands are vegetarian. Some processes involve animal lives, try avoiding those, and adopt cruelty- free methods for your production.
  • Sustainable solutions- Ensure that the brand follows circular solutions and principles which involve methods of regeneration along with restorative production processes.

Last but not the least, environmental safety is our responsibility as individuals and the movement to promote sustainable fashion can also start on a personal level. We must think about how one can contribute to the scene set in front of them and bring about a revolution.

When these basic ideologies are set in place and motion, processes and operations work exceedingly smoothly. Brands hold on to the weightage of the profits they are making and turn a blind eye to the irreparable impacts those profits are making on our ecosystem. Once the foundations are set in place with these ideologies, sustainability can come into vision.

 

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[Post Lockdown Strategy]: How footwear retailers are coping with post Covid impact?
[Post Lockdown Strategy]: How footwear retailers are coping with post Covid impact?
 

The outbreak of Covid-19 had a great impact on every sphere of life. The Coronavirus is indeed a health concern that is and will continue to impact buying patterns and business execution in the coming weeks and months. Since Covid-19 has been hitting the country with its global impacts, it’s for sure the most difficult and the trickiest time for the retail sector as the footfall at stores has dropped in leaps and bounds because people are staying indoors. They are advised about avoiding public places and encouraging social distancing. The government is also coming up with orders of nationwide lockdown. Retailers are also shutting their stores to prevent further outbreaks. Therefore, e-commerce has become the solution to the problems of so many out there and is seeing an upsurge in traffic. People from affected areas have been talking about the changes in the lifestyle, the opinions and reactions brought about by the Covid-19. It has resulted in many traditional offline stores to launch their collection online-to-offline.

 The footfall at the physical retail stores is unendingly decreasing due to Covid-19, following the instructions and guidelines from the government, the stores are operating under lockdown and therefore customers are heading towards online purchase more. So certainly, this is an interesting time for e-commerce to boom. Other countries such as Vietnam and Russia have also seen their populations turning to e-commerce more often to shop – with an increase of use measured at 57%, and 27% respectively. Walmart saw a 160% growth because of its’ standalone grocery app called ‘Walmart Grocery’. This could be good news for Internet usage is up 50% in some parts of the world as more aspects of our daily lives have moved online. Post lockdown also, traditional store customers will postpone purchases and the impact of COVID-19 will continue to boost the e-commerce sector as consumers will prefer to shop online. 

 Because of this pandemic, one needs for short term measures to understand consumer behavior pattern and to ensure business continuity. Liberty is the homegrown brand of the country, being one of the oldest and responsible brands, the brand itself says – “we care about people”, we have been very present at our all digital mediums, interacting with people on their well being, sharing powerful positive information, contributing to mankind’s help during the crisis, throughout the crisis.These attributes add up a lot of stabilizing/reforming the emotional connection between the people and the brand. We have been very natural and responsive as a brand towards society.

 So, in this crucial phase, Liberty Shoes is doing what we always skipped with an excuse on “lack of time”, we are improving the UI/UX of our websites to give our browser the best experience, improving on SEOs as the current and coming time will incline more towards the digital dependency, we are setting our foot more firm in the digital domain. 

Social media/influencer marketing tools are the mediums we are strengthening more. OOH medium is certainly not at all where we can look at, Cinema ads are again in questions of its survival. Print media used to be one of the most reliable media for us to reach out to the masses, but the challenges are different now and they need to be addressed differently.

 Personalized communication with consumers are also taking place, using the CRM database, we are reaching out to our consumers, to know their wellbeing, this will also add up to the main communication strategy at the moment.
 

Stopping this pandemic may require few steps like repeated shutdowns of the retail outlets which would save lives but would also hit the social well being in terms of lost jobs and livelihoods. Therefore, it’s high time for retailers to adopt adaptive business practices at this crucial stage. So the organization is buckling-up accordingly. We are keeping low on the marketing budget for obvious reasons. We are keeping a tight check on the market, keeping all our marketing tools ready for the year, but to launch any sort of significant marketing activity, we are adapting to wait and watch for the next quarter at least. Meanwhile with the introduction and focus on #AtmaNirbharBharat the future holds a great opportunity for the various Indian artisans and the Indian factories to grow in leaps and bounds. As of now, planning strategies doesn’t make any sense as the situation unfolds over the next few weeks, with some relaxations in the lockdown we hope that the situation finds a balance for running the operations efficiently and productively.

 

 

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How Fashion has Changed in the wake of COVID19?
How Fashion has Changed in the wake of COVID19?
 

The pandemic has had a deep impact on fashion and the art of dressing up. As much of the world shelters at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, pyjamas are undoubtedly becoming the new fashion trendsetter of the time, masks have become prominent to most wardrobes, and gloves seem next on the list. 

The coronavirus has brought the world to a standstill as we've only seen in apocalyptic movies before, but it is impossible to disregard the profound effects it is having on industries such as fashion either. Though there has been an undeniable fall in purchasing power and a change in buying habits, perhaps the most visible change the pandemic has triggered in fashion has been in the form of trends and new movements.

It is all about “home fashion"

Now that we are almost solely spending time at home and have embraced the home office life, it is comforting to say sitting at your desk in a restricting suit, or belly-cutting jeans has been forsaken for all things comfy. Clearly cognizant of this preference, fashion and retail brands have been launching collection, all endowed to our new way of life. Also, owing to the rise of videoconferencing and Zoom calls, we have seen a mullet-like approach in our regular outfits. Rather than “business in the front, party in the back,” we are witnessing the business on the top and casuals on the bottom. Such a new trend has been coined “top dressing” where you wear something smart and formal from the waist-up while anything goes underneath.

Masks, the new 'it' accessory

Nowadays, there is something without which nobody can leave their homes, it isn’t the wallet or the key. We all have a new priority-the Mask. Not only it is necessary for preventing the further spread of the virus, but they also cover half of our faces, so people would probably prefer something more aesthetic. The masks were already prevalent in Japan and Korea; however, recently, it has unavoidably and swiftly gained acceptance in the rest of the world. These days, the pictures of daily life, either on the front pages of the newspapers or on social media, demonstrate people trying to hide and protect themselves from their microscopic organism enemy. Immediately after the urge for the masks arose, fashion rushed to meet the need, as fashion always does. There appeared masks with various patterns and forms, for the ones who want to protect themselves but also to make it fashion.

 Back to Ecommerce

In a country where ecommerce penetration is still quite less, implementing omnichannel for fashion retailers was a mountain to climb. Ecommerce relies a lot on data, and while a true omnichannel setup would have taken considerably longer time to show benefits, the Covid-19 might have just reduced the timelines considerably.

Significant shifts in consumers’ preferences

Social distancing has underlined the importance of digital channels more than ever, and the lockdown has lifted digital as an urgent priority across the entire value chain. With shops closed around the world, consumers are moving to online. There is a common perception among masses that offline retail can become breeding grounds for transmission of the virus. According to several reports, the virus can survive on most materials for a few hours to a few days. Hence any online package reaching you at ambient temperatures is less likely to have the virus which makes ecommerce safer. Therefore, a strong online presence is a key to brands' survival now and their success in the future. Apart from that, the pandemic is also adding values around sustainability into sharp focus, emphasising discussions around materialism, over-consumption, and immoral business practices. An extensive drop in consumer spending on apparel will result in massive inventory build-ups.

Increase in conversion rate 

Due to the permission grant for ecommerce of non-essential items in Lockdown 4.0, fashion ecommerce spiked up almost immediately. If we do not look at marketplaces and focus on brand ecommerce, the pre-COVID conversion rate on an average would have been 1.5 to 2%. Now, the conversion rates have shot up to 3% on an average, which means for the same marketing spends; brands are getting larger revenue and conversions.

If these numbers are to be looked at, we do foresee a surge in ecommerce for fashion retail in the next few months. A very pertinent problem with ecommerce is the availability of options for shoppers and hence the need for offers and discounts. While many brands earlier proclaimed not going down the route as a reason for not venturing into ecommerce, almost everybody is now aligned to the fact that the discount is well compensated by scale, reduced operational costs and reduced manpower costs involved with ecommerce. Ecommerce has for long been considered to be another outlet by most fashion brands, but now ecommerce is being moved to an equal business vertical.

Conclusion

An excellent indicator of the fact that for fashion retailers, omnichannel or a greater focus on ecommerce might be the way forward, is that even during the lockdown, there were multiple instances when ecommerce for non-essential items were considered ahead of opening up for shops. It is true that e commerce poses its own set of challenges but with the right approach, proper implementation of the business logic and smart logistics, ecommerce might provide the right fuel for most brands to survive and flourish. Also, if we look according to the re-shaping of fashionwear, then the Great Depression and World War II transformed people's wardrobes; COVID-19 unavoidably will become a new trendsetter, but it is up to designers to lead this change.

 

 

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IS FAST FASHION THE WAY FORWARD?
IS FAST FASHION THE WAY FORWARD?
 

The Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic has seen a lot of changes in the ways several industries function. It has either brought new changes, or accelerated processes that were in the works already.

The Fashion Industry has been criticized time and again for its unsustainable ways, it’s hard-headed labour consumptions, and the pollution it causes. It is said to produce 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions along with being the second-largest consumer of our world’s water supply, according to the World Economic Forum. Owing to ‘Fast Fashion’ being all the rage, the production of clothes has almost doubled since the year 2000.

Fast Fashion is rightly termed as being an antithesis to sustainability and implying that the two may go hand in hand could be considered as equivalent to putting lipstick on a pig. These superficial changes are deemed as an attempt to disguise the undesirable nature of Fast Fashion, and the ramifications of it being a go-to for consumers all around the world.

This widening or magnified version of the Fast Fashion industry works on boundless growth, and anything in excess cannot be advantageous for the sate the world is in as of date. Keeping all this in mind, consumers have begun rethinking their consumption patterns while confined to the four walls of their homes, realizing how much, or rather little, we need for survival. When a limited set of resources is available at hand for individuals who are usually used to being able to satisfy all their demands and meet all their wants, the ‘new normal’ is quite the alteration.

Instead of popularizing ‘Work From Home Styling’ and ‘Tips and Tricks for the best Quarantine Look’, numerous fashion brands are shining a light on more serious issues like sustainability being a need of the hour, not only keeping in mind the losses faced due to the pandemic crisis, but also the fact that Climate Change is still a very real and apparent issue we are facing. Fashion is an extremely powerful component of our daily lives, empowering individuals every day to showcase emotions and dialogues through colors and patterns alike.

Sustainable fashion is using materials and other avenues in a manner where ‘ecological integrity’ comes into the frame, rethinking the system we work in today and call for an alternative shift to ‘slow fashion’. Slow Fashion is a movement based on the principle of sustainability, where homegrown fashion houses focus more on emotional, ethical, and ecological qualities and prefer them over uniformity and blandness. Slow Fashion respects the cultural diversity, the limited and unlimited resources at our disposal, and the ecological framework of the world we live in.

Glaring realities of greed, overconsumption, superficiality, and a ‘wear to discard’ approach have become apparent and allowed consumers and brands to reflect on the true meaning and power of fashion, and what people can do to help make the future, post-COVID-19, better.

Brands have now begun a more inclusive and compassionate approach, where they address issues as such, while homegrown labels and retail stores have taken to digital platforms for their brand’s survival post lockdown. The work of artists is being showcased and appreciated, and the world seems to shift its focus from capitalist greed to appreciation.

A reshaped narrative where ‘how’ replaces ‘how many’, is what can be expected post lockdown, where the ‘new normal’ becomes a thing of the past and where we look forward to relating the clothes we wear with the historic and cultural aspect that is their essence.

The article has been penned down by Yashraj Bhaiya, Director, Label Varsha

 

 

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The Impact of Covid-19 on the Fashion Design Industry
The Impact of Covid-19 on the Fashion Design Industry
 

The CoronaVirus pandemic has had sweeping repercussions on all sectors of the economy worldwide. However, the sectors that will be extremely hard hit are the ones that come in the category of non-essential spending. Design Apparel and footwear definitely come in this category. At the Milan Fashion Week this February, Giorgio Armani chose to live-stream his new collection rather than invite visitors – a direct offshoot of the rampant spread of positively tested cases in Italy. Let us look closely at the UK retail sector, since the UK is a country that attracts billions of tourists from across the globe every year; London is known to be the hub of cultural and commercial activity with maximum retail sales in the European region. It is now estimated that the apparel sector in the UK will be the worst hit with a decline in spending by 1/5th or 20.6 % less than the usual spending. Sales of clothing and footwear in the UK alone are expected to decline by GBP 11.1 billion, which is the equivalent of US $ 13.06 billion.

In other words, it is the equivalent of the combined clothing sales of the 3 market leaders – Primark, Marks & Spenser and Next. All 376 Primark stores spread out in 12 countries have been closed until further notice. Primark – owner, ABF (Associated British Foods) stated that this would account for a loss of some US $ 751.5 million of net sales per month. Nike, Gap and H&M are temporarily suspending online operations and have closed down their retail outlets in an attempt to curb the spread of the lethal Corona virus. 

Asia, which is mainly the hub of production for garments and footwear has exhibited a knee jerk reaction and is predicted to go through some devastating consequences in so far as its fashion and design industry is concerned. Manufacturing units that deal with materials, which were up until now being sourced from China, are in a dire situation.

The Indian government has given strict directives saying that the workers cannot be terminated nor should there be a reduction in their wages. The partial lockdown of factories in Bangladesh has had enormous ramifications; the 1000 factories which have been locked down are the source of livelihood to 1.96 million workers, reporting a loss of a business to the tune of US $2.67 billion in cancelled orders from retailers and brands, which have witnessed a rapid plummeting of sales and have more recently closed down stores in the US and across Europe.

The virus has coerced the world’s fashion capital New York to come to an abrupt halt. The US jeans giant Wrangler has extended its store closure until 31 March. In Mexico and Central America, the factories are shutting down on account of retail stores suddenly closing their shutters in response to the primary need of the hour – social distancing. Mexico, which had already lost significantly to the US market in the last decade, has predicted a decline in exports by at least 10 percent as its factories, which include fabric and denim giants with the likes of Kaltex cut down on capacity.

The wedding season in India begins in October and continues till early spring. For many, the wedding season goes right up to April. Everyone who is part of the fashion industry looks forward to this season. All the interconnected chains involved like the fashion designer, craftspeople who do the zardozi and dabka embroidery, the daily wage workers etc know that this is their time of the year to make a neat sum that shall support them for the rest of the year. But the Covid-19 and the measures to curb its spread like social distancing have dampened the spirit and sentiment of the wedding market big time. Manish Malhotra, TarunTahiliani and Sabyasachi have shut operations. India Fashion Week that was scheduled to be held in New Delhi from March 11 to March 15 has been postponed. Valmort Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week has been postponed from April to June, given the gravity of the current crisis. It is unlike anything the world has ever witnessed.

It has been forecast that the pandemic is going to peak in April with most stores remaining closed till the end of May. Non – food spending will start to recover only in June but a more regular pre-Corona outbreak spending in the apparel industry is expected to come about only by October 2020.

What has been experienced by the design industry worldwide, in the last two months, is just the beginning of a ripple effect. The COVID-pandemic will alter the complexion of the supply – production chain dynamics. There is, however, no need to panic – it is estimated that shopping online will replace in store shopping, in a huge way, especially for the big brands and international labels.

But before we even talk about the revival of the fashion industry, we need to commend the willingness of some of the biggest names in fashion in Italy and France to step up to the challenge – brands like LVMH and Coty have steered their production lines to manufacture sanitiser in the form of hydro alcoholic gel along with the production of masks. Chanel has contributed its services by moving to production of  masks and gowns while Armani to make surgical Overalls. Prada is contributing by making facial covers for donation.H&M is working to make personal protective equipment for hospitals in Europe.

These gestures are what make the fashion and design industry problem solvers and come together as one unified global conglomerate ready to wage a war on the pandemic.

The article is written by Dr. Jitin Chadha, Director of Indian Institute of Art and Design

 

 
 

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The Transformation of Indian Biscuits Industry
The Transformation of Indian Biscuits Industry
 

India is one of the largest biscuit manufacturing countries after the US and China. While the country is one of the largest biscuit consuming nation, per capita consumption is still very low at 2.1kg – compared to Ireland, which is the highest at 21.76kg. The market for biscuits and cookies in India has come a long way accounting for about 72 per cent of the sales in the bakery industry. Increasing consumption of packaged and convenience foods, the availability of a variety of biscuits and an increase in disposable incomes have provided a major boost to the industry.

According to Market Outlook report, India's biscuit market stood at $3.9 billion in 2016, and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.27 per cent, in value terms, between 2017 and 2022, to reach $7.25 billion by 2022.The demand will be driven by factors like taste and preference, demand of convenience food, concern for health and wellness as well as shift towards premium biscuits such as sugar free, oats, wheat and multi-grain biscuits among others. 

Indian biscuit market: History and current scenario

In past, biscuits in India were made by using ordinary flour, sugar and saturated oil and underwent industrial procedures of molding, baking and cooling. However, with an increase in the disposable income as well as changing tastes and preference of people forced the biscuit manufacturing units to come up with a new range of biscuits. This challenge was met well with the innovation of salted biscuits which reduced the amount of sugar put in the batter by adding more salt. Other changes made in the production of biscuits were thinner crusts and addition of digestive ingredients to make them more nutritious.

Currently the biscuit industry is made up of the organized and unorganized sector with renowned brands dominating the market share in the organized sector. On the other hand, the unorganized sector consists of small bakery units, cottage and household type manufacturing and packaging units that help them distribute their goods in the surrounding areas. Self-managed and focused product lines plus less expenditure on marketing are the factors that contribute to the growth of the unorganized sector. 

Embracing innovation to overcome challenges

Demand for healthy biscuits is increasing due to the active lifestyle of consumers who are looking for convenient eating options. Currently, India has 64 percent of its population in the working age group which makes millennials the driving force behind modern consumer trends. Millennials carefully read nutritional values on packages as well as grab snacks at least two times a day.

This is why the biscuit industry must pay close attention to the recent trends and opportunities which can help it produce exactly what is in demand. Biscuits are broadly categorized in the following segments like Glucose, Marie, Cream, Crackers and Milk but most consumers have already tasted these which is why companies are increasingly innovating with new flavors and ingredients to fuel the interest of consumers. 

As per past developments, biscuits have transitioned from light to high fiber to multi/whole grain and oats ashealth conscious consumers want biscuits with high nutritional value. This has made manufacturers use more fibrous and nutritious ingredients like oats along with reducing the amount of artificial colors and preservatives and avoiding high fructose syrup completely.  

Another variant for health-conscious consumers are the low sugar or sugar-free biscuits that help with weight management, cholesterol management and more. Such low sugar, and even sugar-free biscuit options, however, do not compromise with taste as they contain healthy replacements such as honey, coconut, fruits, dark chocolate, etc. 

Furthermore, brands are going one step ahead by experimenting with delicious yet nourishing exotic fruits and nuts. Hazelnuts, figs, pears, bananas and many such ingredients have been emerging in popular biscuits across the country, elevating the biscuit eating experience for consumers. Since fruits and nuts are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, these biscuits are perfect for new-age consumers who want health with taste. 

The article has been authored by Amrinder Singh, Bonn Group of Industries

 

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How will COVID 19 have a larger impact on the luxury market?
How will COVID 19 have a larger impact on the luxury market?
 

Over the years, with more and more consumers increasing purchasing power and accepting their zest to shop luxury items, the entire industry has witnessed a mammoth change. Aspirational buyers have turned into regular consumers thus ensuring an increase in the consumer base for globally. However, with the current situation and lockdown being witnessed PAN India and globally, few sectors of the luxury segment that were yet to venture into the e-commerce segment, have seen their peers see an increase in sales. This has been true in the initial COVID 19 announcement day as during times of distress people do resort to shopping as a therapy and as a way of staying positive.

However, with PAN India lockdown even though e-commerce segment have witnessed an upsurge in their sales the luxury market is witnessing a little set back as consumers are prioritising necessary goods as per government guidelines. Globally some of the companies are going ahead and even creating jobs for their countrymen, to work as delivery guys in the time of COVID-19.

It is true that apart from the essential/ necessary goods platform, the e-commerce for other goods/ luxury products are currently facing a situation that is not so favourable due to lockdown that is being witnessed PAN India. However, once this is over, and when situation normalises, e-commerce will still play an important role in reaching out to consumers who would be sceptical in immediately physically visiting malls and showrooms/ markets. The percentage of such sceptical consumers will be quite large as the consumers of today’s age are very well versed and are well equipped with the norms of safety and precaution. The e-commerce segment of luxury goods will also find that they have developed consumer bases who are finally embracing the concept of luxury shopping even during normal times. It is very similar to tasting the sweet nectar of enjoying authentic luxury goods in order to understand how even shopping online for luxury goods can be fulfilling.

This realisation itself will drive a lot of companies to finally take the leap of faith and venture into the e-commerce industry post the COVID -19 months. Many of the companies thought that physical stores/ showrooms are the only future for business sustenance and the global boom of e-commerce platform will not last much longer. However, with the outbreak of COVID – 19 and the relentless support of the e-commerce sector, both companies/businesses and consumers have understood that e-commerce sector will flourish manifold along with physical stores and showrooms.

Apart from this, even the players in the auto industry will also understand the importance of digitalisation. The luxury auto market will also witness a major shift in the consumer attitude wherein they will be more open to the concept of purchasing luxury vehicles online. However, currently the entire luxury industry as a whole is witnessing a standstill due to the state and nationwide lockdown.

This has led the companies to understanding the importance of virtual consumer experiential marketing. Thus, with virtual consumer experiential marketing becoming an important aspect for companies, e-commerce linked with Social Media cites like Instagram will also help in tapping into consumers who are way more active in SM handles than on any other platforms.

Influx of social media marketing has led to a digital revolution where almost every industry is fighting to gain attention from its targeted audience. From apparel to electronics, from telecom to travel, and from food & beverages to entertainment, every industry is finding out ways to tap this niche market which is not only huge but also effectively priced. So, its obvious for the automobile industry to enter the world of social media to be able to connect with the digitally awakened generation.

Before the advent of social media, vehicle dealers have depended on costly and ostentatious TV advertisements to help in gaining popularity for their brands.  However, now with digitalisation, social media is basic in the effective advertising in the automobile industry. What’s more, it additionally deciphers that better the vehicle brand does its social media advertising, the higher its odds are of beating the competition. Any car dealer or manufacturer who isn’t using this platform into their business is doing noteworthy harm to their business’ targets.

With advanced showcasing strategies readily available, car dealers and manufacturers will have better chances to win their prospects’ attention. However, while talking about the auto industry it is important to understand that vehicles are high-contribution and high-speculation items, so one must give various touch points to their customers. Thus looking at all sectors, it would be rightly said that post COVID -19, the industry as a whole will witness an increase in sales of luxury goods via the ecommerce segment as well, thus making both luxury and digital platforms to function as feel good items and authentic platform of purchase respectively.

The article has been authored by Jatin Ahuja, Founder and MD, Big Boy Toyz

 

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Why are offline stores still the king in footwear retail?
Why are offline stores still the king in footwear retail?
 

How many of us have attempted to buy shoes from an e-commerce platform and been sorely disappointed because the size doesn't fit, or the shape doesn't complement our feet or the heels are not up to the mark? Of course, it might take you a few attempts of shopping from different brands to figure out what fits you and suits you best. However, when it comes to footwear, these are some of the reasons why offline stores are still the king when it comes to retailing shoes.

Footwear customers in India who have essentially focussed on value and durability for generations are now evolving to buying shoes that look stylish, expensive and are still comfortable. As a result, they want more from their retailers in terms of style options, modern in-store experiences and a variety of fast-fashion brands to choose from. Various studies have shown that customers are wary buying shoes online without trying them on and getting a feel of the product.

Some of the leading retailers are focused on developing their in-store shopping experiences and offering value-added services while competing with online retailers. These include services such as 3D foot-scan for customized in-soles, Foot Spatorelieve for aching muscles and Shoe Spato that keep footwear as good as new. When customers walk into a store, they are giving in to the experience of being pampered and assisted in their choices. A patient salesman who doesn't mind spending time helping you make the right decision in terms of look, comfort and fit cannot be replicated in the digital world.

On the back of this demand, many of the major footwear brands are opening flagship stores to target more customers in larger cities and smaller towns.

Here are some retail trends that drive customers to offline footwear stores:

Brand Experience – Customers do have their favourite brands when it comes to footwear as their products and in-store experiences tick off their checklists. Brands, on the other hand are characterised by how they make the customer feel as soon as they step into their store. This partnership between customers and brands is like any other partnership — brands need to be up to date on customers’ expectations and customers need to be satisfied with their product choices. The onus of driving this offline demand rests on how brands make their customers feel in their stores. While most retailers understand the delicacy of this partnership, some still grapple with strategies that will help them meet the ever-changing demands of the customers.

Adding Value - Customer retention for offline footwear stores hinges on strong customer relationships, which in turn helps amp up their sales. Customers trust these brands with their money and time because they add value and advice that no online channel can replicate. A repeat customer is far more valuable than a new customer. Only those customers that have formed a comfort zone with a brand and its stores repeatedly visit their favourite stores.

Everything In One Place - When customers walk into a store, they have the entire display of products on offer and can easily make a choice by comparing their favourites. Also, regularly changing in-store display shelves and windows brings in repeat customers who look forward to and track new arrivals coming in. A brand that keeps its marketing strategy fresh in its stores will likely not lose customers to the e-commerce platform. 

The article has been authored  by Mayank Lakhani, Director, Lakhani Infinity Footcare

 

 

 

 

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Decoding the impact of Coronavirus on the retail sector
Decoding the impact of Coronavirus on the retail sector
 

When the COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire, governments have no other better options than lock-down to counter the pandemic. The global economy is struggling between the devil and the deep blue sea, and small businesses are the worst hit. Retail, especially the physical retail is one of the worst hit sectors as the lock-down will be continued till mid of April. Though convenience and departmental stores are exempted from the lock-down, their footfall falls to a great extent. But, apparel, jewellery, mobiles & electronics, sports goods, and many other retail segments are completely closed in the wake of the ongoing health emergency.                  

Covid Impact

The economy was already in the slowdown phase for the last couple of quarters, and it had experienced the slowest growth in the last six year, when it grew only at 4.7 per cent. In such a challenging scenario, things become further aggravated when coronavirus spreads the tentacles in Indian markets. With every passing day, the crisis is mounting like never before and its impact can be seen everywhere. According to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), besides the direct impact on demand and supply of goods and services, decreasing cash flow is another big problem for the businesses. On the one hand, retailers are missing items in the inventory, on the other hand, amidst reduced cash flow, managing salaries of the employees and clearing payments of small vendors and artisans, further increasing their worries.  

As all the manufacturing activities in the retail sector have come to a standstill under the lockdown state, things will take at least 30 to 45 days to get normal after the current shutdown. But, if the lock-down is extended for another two to three weeks, the after-effects will be very critical for the small players in the retail sector. So far, the seriousness with which government, healthcare sector, and police administration are working to combat COVID-19 pandemic, most of the industry experts expect that the situation will improve within a fortnight, but citizens too must have to follow the guidelines issued by the health ministry to countervail this disease as soon as possible. 

Reforms to mitigate the loss

Recently the Ministry of Finance and Reserve Bank of India have also taken some crucial decisions to mitigate the ill effects of the current pandemic on the Indian Economy. Rs 1.7 lakh crore spending plan is announced by the government to improve the health of the economy curb the impact, RBI also comes forward as a frontier to support the country’s economy with a host of measures. The reverse repo rate was cut by 90 bps to 4 per cent and a moratorium of three months of EMIs on all outstanding loans is also announced by the Governor of RBI. But, these are short-term measures; there is also a need to make some adequate structural changes in the economy.

In many product categories, India’s retail sector depends on imports from China and European countries. Under the Make in India programme, there is an urgent need to focus on strengthening the manufacturing sector of the country, and there should be minimum dependence on foreign manufacturing. There is a close connection between retail and the manufacturing sector, and to protect the former, the latter should be equipped with advanced infrastructure and friendly policies.

The article has been authored by Puneet Jain and Yatin Jain, Directors, ODHNI
 

 

 

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[COVID 19 ]Impact on the Indian Footwear Industry and Way Forward
[COVID 19 ]Impact on the Indian Footwear Industry and Way Forward
 

The coronavirus has sent markets tumbling, as its ramifications to a swath of businesses and industries become more apparent. The cascading effect of the coronavirus is crippling the footwear industry too. Besides, the outbreak has led to the complete lockdown with the closure of malls, theatres, educational institutes, gyms and several tourist sites, thereby leading to a significant fall in economic activity. 

According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the coronavirus outbreak might cost the global economy $1-2 trillion in 2020, where several sectors are already feeling the pain and footwear industry is no exception. The pandemic has come up with fresh challenges for the country's economy, causing a severely disruptive impact on both demand and supply-side elements that has the capacity to derail the growth story.

Impact of Covid-19 on Indian Footwear Businesses 

 The virus is taking a massive toll in the economic front, shutting down businesses, curbing international travel and impacting production lines of major global businesses. For India, the trade impact of coronavirus is said to be around 348 million dollars. The list of top 15 most-affected economies due to the COVID-19 outbreak includes India too. If we look at the footwear industry in the country, the major brands have shut down their stores, and some of them have also delayed their new collection release. All this has come in the part as the public health officials have encouraged social distancing and the limiting of non-essential interaction in large groups while COVID-19 cases and death tolls rise. 

  Being the epicentre of the virus, China is also a major supplier of raw materials and components. The shutting of factories and production in China has wreaked havoc in the supply chain, leading to a sharp increase in the prices of various items. Due to this shutdown, the leather shoe market in India is facing the challenge. Agra, the city which is known to be the largest footwear hub in India, has been affected drastically. Leather shoes worth over Rs 3,000 crore are exported to European countries from Agra every year. The city is the largest footwear hub in India, and the industry is adversely impacted as manufacturers imports several components such as laces, shoe lining, buckles, ornaments, insoles, outsoles, cellulose board, shank board, foam and packing material from China. But due to this outbreak supply from China has dried up, it has affected manufacturing here. Apart from this, other Indian footwear brands have also hit hard due to a decrease in sales, both offline and online. 

Global Impact 

The impact of coronavirus in the economy has been felt globally. According to Moody’s Investors Service report, coronavirus will likely depress global growth in 2020 below 2.5%, the recessionary threshold for the world economy.  

There was an ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China with which the footwear industry was already dealing. The trade war got on fire with the spread of the coronavirus in China, prompting quarantines and shuttered factories. Matt Priest, president and CEO of the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America, told CNBC in an interview, that U.S. footwear imports from China just had their worst January in more than a decade The 15.7% drop was also the worst year-over-year decline in four years. Also, 70% of shoes sold in the U.S. come from China, according to the industry organization. It has more than 500 members, including Walmart, Nike, Crocs and Steven Madden. Many shoemakers had already started to diversify their supply chains and reduce their reliance on China as a result of the higher tariffs.

 Footwear companies such as Adidas and Puma are also experiencing major effects due to the coronavirus headwinds. Most of their stores have been closed in the virus-driven countries. It lost sales of $50 million to $60 million due to the outbreak. Other luxury labels are predicting serious blows to their sales too.

 Hope is the Way Forward 

 The world is facing the worst epidemic industries have ever experienced. Everyone is in hope to get out of it, and things will bounce back to normal soon. The business has literally come to a standstill, and everyone is bleeding in an already challenging business scenario. The time is challenging for not only footwear but across industries. Even if the Covid-19 cases decline, the recovery will still take at least 8-10 months.

The article has been authored by Ambud Sharma, CEO, Escaro Royale

 

 

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5 Keys to provide great Luxury Customer Experience
5 Keys to provide great Luxury Customer Experience
 

In today’s competitive world, undoubtedly, consumer is the king and companies need to exceed consumer expectations to create loyal customer base. Technology driven global leaders such as Apple and Amazon have raised the bar of consumer purchase experience by providing excellent customer service, convenience, vast variety, on-time deliveries, free returns and what not. Luxury industry is no exception to this phenomenon and increasing consumer expectations from luxury brands makes it imperative for them to understand consumer psychology to thrive in the dynamic luxury retail environment.

For luxury brands and retailers, understanding the luxury consumer journey is most important to be able to deliver best to these well-versed, discerning consumers. It is about knowing what exactly your consumer wants and being able to provide that and much more.Luxury retailers must work to make consumers’ shopping experience a seamless journey. Every time when consumers interact with luxury brands, it is important for retailers to make them feel delighted. This will create customers for life and maximize customer lifetime value for luxury brands. Just think about the last time you stayed in a luxury hotel or shopped at a luxury store or took a ride in luxury sedan or visited a gourmet restaurant or ordered something on a luxury portal. You will certainly have some memory about how you felt about the entire experience. Did you loved the experience or hated it? Was it worth your time and money?

Happiness research reveals that retailers need to trigger emotions of shoppers not just during the time of actual purchase but also during pre-purchase and post-purchase phase. It requires putting the customer at the center of the entire consumer purchase journey and providing flawless experience across all touch points.Personal relationship built on trust should be at the heart of every customer transaction.

Here are 5 keys to provide great luxury customer experience:

  • Hyper-personalization: Luxury companies should use technologies like artificial intelligence enabled consumer data analysis to improve hyper-personalization in terms of product, promotion and shopping experience both in-store as well as online.For example, luxury Brands like Gucci and Valentino are using AI which help sales associates to recognize customers, greet them by their name and provide personalized recommendations based on consumers’ preferences and past purchase history. Sephora also uses AI technology to allow users to upload their picture and virtually apply makeup and visualize how products would look on them. The chosen products can simply be purchased via mobile, thereby making the whole purchase experience seamless, convenient and highly satisfying.

Similarly, live chat can provide real time assistance to the online luxury buyers making them feel important. Such engagement willboost consumers’ confidence in brand and refrain them to move to competitors’ brand. A recent study has found that shoppers who are engaged through live chat are 4.73 times more probable to convert and they can spend nearly 60% more than those who are not engaged.

Note: Technologies like AI and live chat are providing a new opportunity for luxury brands to offer better and seamless customer experience both online and offline.But, at the same time, technologies such as block-chain should be used to ensure data integrity and privacy.

  • Unified customer insights: Luxury companies should draw unified insights related to consumer profile from all channels such as social media platforms, brick and mortar stores, online stores, website, etc. This will help them in providing unmatched customer experience. For example, omni-channel brands are using online consumer behavior to make decisions regarding their in-store assortment. A Nike concept store in Los Angeles has furnished bright-colored products in their store based upon the data acquired from consumers’ digital footprint.A 360 degree view of customer insights across touch points will permit luxury retailers to develop more captivating, discerned offers and deliver more meaningful customers experiences.

Note: Luxury retailers need to consciously invest in data driven analysis of in-store purchase behavior which will be the key in providing better customer experience in the future.

  • Customer feedback: For luxury companies, it is very important to get honest customer feedback regarding service, product assortment, physical environment, salespersons’ attitude and overall consumer experience. For instance, once a consumer is through with the purchase and making the payment or is checking out of the hotel, he/she should be requested for feedback preferably on a platform which is easy to measure. (Since most of the times either luxury brands don’t have consumer data or even if they have, it is in the form which cannot be measured and so it is useless). This will help brands to gain valuable customer insights and accordingly design strategies to provide frictionless consumer experience in the future.

Note: Luxury brands must quickly act based upon customer feedback as if they will not care about their customers, they will lose their customers forever.

  • Invest in customer service training: Regardless of the growing ecommerce business, physical stores and sales associates remain central to the success of luxury companies. Luxury sales associates have the power to transform transaction-led business into emotion-based relationships. As per a recent research by US based Luxury Institute, more than one-third of affluent consumers globally reported helpful sales associate as a prime reason for buying a particular luxury brand. More than 50% of opulent consumers mention product-related expertise as a key characteristic required by luxury sales associate followed by trustworthiness, courteousness and helpfulness.

Note: No matter how significant technology becomes in providing superior customer experience, role of sales associate will always remain most important.

  • Building micro-moments: Luxury brands claim that they are in the business of creating dreams and making them true. Therefore, brands must surprise and wow their customers again and again. Marketers must amaze their consumers by doing something which they least expected. For instance, sending a small gift with a hand written note wishing them on their birthday or giving a little freebie with their order just to make them feel special or simply inviting loyal customer to an exclusive VIP sale to make the customer feel part of the elite community.

The article has been authored by Sheetal Jain, Founder & CEO, Luxe Analytics

 

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Top 6 Consumer Trends in Mattress business
Top 6 Consumer Trends in Mattress business
 

Indian consumers usually have a habit of going to store and feel the mattress by touching or sitting on it. This is how they decide the comfort level of mattress and take their decision which makes the offline mode of distribution more popular. Branded mattresses are broadly sold to two end users viz. residential and institutional. Growing housing demand has been increasing the sales of mattresses in the residential market all over the country. Whereas institutional demand is thriving owing to an increase in construction, real estate, and tourism & hospitality sector that requires hundreds of beds and mattresses. Hence, both residential and institutional demand is growing in India with the rising awareness regarding mattress types and brands.

 Increased demand for customisation

The Indian market is observing an increase in the demand in customised mattresses, and major players in the market have already started to level-up their games.  Today, mattresses come in all shapes, sizes, and designs to suit windows, yachts, bolsters, and for added products like L-cushions, chair cushions, and T-cushions.  A fact about the Indian mattress industry is that 30 percent of the customers in India go for customised mattresses, whereas this number is only five percent for the customers abroad. Typically, Indian consumers get beds made from carpenters. Owing to the highly fragmented furniture market, size standardisation becomes an issue. Another factor is that customisation isn't expected in just dimensions, but also on the consumer's preferences and body condition. Hence, even mattress materials and layers are being customised to suit customer needs. Lastly, Indians are largely driven by their belief in Vastu and its rules, and accommodating their beds according to it requires customisation. 

 Spring mattresses

And this will be dominated by those going on vacation or business trips. When Indian consumers travel abroad, they are exposed to international levels of sleeping comfort of the finest innerspring mattresses. These experiences remain with them when they come back, as they hope and search for a similar experience back at home.

Spring mattresses should have died in the 80's, like parachute pants and leg warmers, but they have remained popular because of their low-cost and high-profit margins (100%+). They also need replacing every 3-10 years which is great reoccurring income for Sealy, Serta, Simmons, Spring Air etc.With about 70% of the global population in developing and developed countries preferring to sleep on spring mattresses, this will give the manufacturing and acceptance of spring mattresses the much-needed thrust it needs in the Indian market.

 Demand

2016-2022' gives an in-depth analysis of mattress industry in India. A mattress is a large pad for supporting the reclining body, used as a bed or as part of a bed. Home and decor industry, being an important part of any nation's lifestyle is growing at a rapid pace to meet the demands and tastes of variety of people. Mattress, which plays an important role in consumer's lives worldwide, just used to get ignored in India. However, people are now getting informed and educated which has increased the importance of mattresses among Indian consumers. The growth in mattress market is largely led by the domestic factors such as increased income levels and also due to infrastructural development in terms of increased number of residential units and inflating number of hotels in the country. The organized mattress market encompasses of three types of mattresses namely Coir, PU foam and spring mattress. Indian consumers usually prefer a coir mattress or a foam mattress but the demand is now changing towards spring mattresses. Globally, majority of sales is in the spring mattress segment while in India the spring mattress category is at a nascent stage.

 Functionality over Product

Generally, manufacturers are solely worried about the capitalization of their investment. Consequently, marketing is directed at promoting the product rather than promoting healthy sleep. This year has seen a gradual shift is this approach.

Due to the changing trends in the relationship between the manufacturer and the consumer, there is more emphasis on the promotion of a healthy sleep. In the future, mattress companies will not only convey the functional features of the product and focus on brand-building, but will also attend to the positive impacts of a good night’s sleep. Popular brands have realised that what is currently being done is not enough, and hence, will invest more on PR and marketing initiatives, conduct seminars and conferences in an effort to educate the public on the subject. This will help bring about a change in the mindset of people.

 Growth In Mattress Market

The India mattress market has witnessed a growth in recent years on account of rising penetration of organized sector in mattresses segment fueled by  rising demand of good quality mattress by upcoming foreign players, rising health consciousness and entry of new  players in organized segment of mattress industry. The growth in mattress market has been largely led by the domestic factors such as increased income levels and also due to infrastructural development in terms of increased number of residential units and inflating number of hotels in the country. The mattress market is comprised of large companies, with Dream Mattress,  Kurlon, and Sleepwell being dominant players in the organized sector of mattress market in India. According to the research report, due to the aforementioned factors, the India mattress market will grow at a considerable CAGR rate thus reaching over INR 100 billion by 2020.

India Online Mattress Market

The consumers previously prefer going to the retail stores to buy mattresses so as to ensure quality and comfort. However, with services such as immediate return, discount offers and cash on delivery, the consumers are gaining confidence on online retailing.

The major players in the online mattress market of India are Pepperfry, Housefull.in, Urban Ladder, Mattress manufacturers,€™ exclusive websites and others.Owed to the demographic dividend such as rising young population, rising standards of living, the demand for mattress from e-commerce portals is expected to witness an uptrend. The India online mattress market is booming consistently and is pegged to become INR 290 crore market in FY 2020. The players in organized sector should streamline supply chain for both good quality raw material and delivery of finished products to ensure minimization of risk. Additionally, new players should be to cater to the most of the catchment area and should focus on expanding their outreach to Tier 2 and Tier 3 regions of the country. However, lack of awareness, immature franchise models and non standardization of mattress and enhancing competition are few of the major challenges which will affect the growth of this industry in the future. 

The article has been penned down by Pankaj Gupta, Director, RP Foam Home India ,PVT. LTD  

 

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Go Private, and Label It Right!
Go Private, and Label It Right!
 

India has become a growing hub of private labels across different categories. Naturally, it becomes a level playing field for private brands with voluminous growth opportunities. Business owners have significant scope to experiment and diversify their product categories. One of the most prominent reasons for retailers to include private labels in their retail strategy is the extreme profitability and high discoverability of these brands, obtainable at zero marketing and distribution costs. However, there are some factors that business owners and category heads must consider before putting their innovation cap on.

Indian Consumer Demographics

India has the largest population of youth in an ageing world. By 2022, the average median age of India will be 28. So, what would that mean for private brands? The millennial mindset is futuristic and aspirational. Brands need to offer authenticity and value-based products to this demographic. Furthermore, businesses that are currently present in the offline store fronts will also need to establish an online presence, as half a billion population in India is internet-savvy.

An Alternate Choice

In popular opinion, private labels are often considered as the cheaper alternative of premium brands. Consumers associate product pricing with the quality to understand brand importance while making a purchase. This is where the retailers will have to tread carefully with the low price strategy for their private labels. Particularly in the high involvement category, the consumer might not be able to substantiate the quality of the product based on the price alone and will, therefore, continue opting for national brands.

The Relationship Factor

Researchers have found that store brands have a favourable impact on the retailer’s image and vice versa. Private label brands that gain certain popularity among the buyers can enhance the credibility of their retailer. Similarly, a retailer’s image can influence the buyer’s purchase behaviour towards their store brands.

Packaging: The Real Hero

It is safe to say that innovative packaging is the only tool that brands need to market their private labels. Premium packaging is what sets PLB a class apart from national brands. Big retailers are already relying on cutting-edge packaging to enhance their brands. The biggest IP of any private label is its bouquet of distinguishable characteristics and innovative packaging is the best way to ensure that. Experts claim that the following elements of premium packaging should be taken into consideration while designing a product – convenience, consumer health and wellness, eco-friendly packaging, durability and technical design innovation.

Now that we have covered the scope and challenges involving a PLB, let’s dive into the most trending product ideas for starting a successful line of private labels:

Product Ideas

There are many reasons why private labels are the cornerstones of any retail or brand marketing strategy. One in particular is that private labels are getting picked up from shelves faster than ever and are beating premium brands in that order. However, many products end up being a ‘hit and miss’ opportunity. The following list is ideal for both big and small businesses that aspire to launch their private labels.

Here then are some of the most trending ideas to get you started:

1. Cosmetics and Skin Care: If you are betting big on private labels then you might as well go all out with your line of cosmetics and skin care products. The Indian market is the most ideal space to establish a private label in this segment. The margins are insane and most cosmetic products that are out there are not suitable for the Indian complexion. The scope for customisation and innovation is abundant in this category. Examples of products you can launch in this category include cruelty-free makeup, vegan makeup, charcoal-based beauty products, essential oils, etc.

2. Organic and Eco-Friendly Products: The gen-next is well and truly aware of what they want and brands are paying close attention to that. For instance, with the massive outbreak of wildfires and global pollution crisis, people are becoming environmentally conscious. The coming era will be dominated by eco-friendly and organic products and it will be a sure-shot win for your business in the times to come. Examples of products you can launch in this category include water bottles, organic food, reusable bags, bamboo toothbrush, compostable plates, etc.

3. Fitness and Wellness: The fitness retail industry in India is currently valued at USD 2.6 billion. The market size is estimated to reach a massive USD 6 billion by 2023. This projection reflects a strong growth opportunity for players in the fitness and wellness market. Examples of products you can launch in this category include food supplements, keto snacks, yoga accessories, active wear, etc.

4. Terrariums: City life entails a hassled and congested world where household plans and herbs offer a soothing ambience to calm ruffled nerves. Nowadays, people feel inspired to grow greenery around them in the form of mini gardens, desk plants and household decor.

5. Packaged Food: It’s been done time and again and then some more. The most plausible and doable items are in the packaged food category. With the right packaging and labelling, these products can not only be scalable but also desired by a majority of consumers. The market size of packaged food is the third-largest in India. Examples of products you can launch in this category include organic baby food, custom sweets, matcha green tea, snacks, etc.

6. Apparel and Accessories: The clothing industry has already garnered success in the private labels segment. Both online and offline retail businesses have successfully launched their private line of apparel. The average Indian closet has about 100 clothing items and customers love discovering new brands that help them stand out. There is plenty of scope for businesses to diversify into the fashion and apparel line of products. Ideas that would work in this category include cotton shoes, hiking boots, maternity clothing and lounge wear, etc.

These product ideas are among the many that businesses are currently exploring for their private labels and so can you. If you are an innovative entrepreneur who also possesses the tactical know-how, the sky is the limit for you.

 

 

 

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How to Automate the salon operations to increase productivity?
How to Automate the salon operations to increase productivity?
 

The salon business is a part of the beauty industry, and this business also gets heavily influenced by the changes in the fashion industry. To become successful in this industry, you need to know the current trend of the market and adopt new technologies. In this process, automated software can help you manage multiple aspects of your business and increase productivity with less effort.

Here are some strategies you can take to increase the productivity of your salon business:

Schedule appointment digitally

In this busy world, people appreciate any effort you take to make their work easier and faster. Thus, an appointment for beauty care can save everyone’s time. An automatic appointment scheduling system can help you with this task. Salon management software handles this task without anyone’s intervention. Since this avoids human interaction during booking, it reduces many manual errors, which usually take place during the booking process.

Use mobile apps

There are a few salon management software that let you build custom apps for mobile devices. These apps help your customers in experiencing instant service. Beyond booking an appointment through the mobile phone, you can also provide your users or customers with the latest news in the fashion world, pictures of the latest trend, and so on. This technology helps you build intimate relationships with the customer.

Manage your workforce

Being a successful entrepreneur, you need to know how to manage your employees. Assigning the right task to the right employee will allow easier attainment of customer satisfaction. Manual management and schedule creation can cause conflicts and confusion. A good software package for schedule and knowledge transfer can allow you to manage your assets more optimally.

Campaign management

Campaigning your product & services is the easiest way to gain new customers. It spreads your business to a new dimension covering your niche and beyond. If you wish to gain dominance, you ought to give a little more than your competitor. Technology can be your advantage in attaining that dominance. A salon management program also helps to overlook the digital campaign. You can easily promote your business in cyberspace with the help of this program. This automation also allows you to save money as you can start and manage your campaign without hiring a campaign management team or a strategist.

Inventory management

As a businessman, you must have all the up-to-date knowledge of the inventory. You must know what products are in stock, and what product you need to order for future consumption. Over-procurement can result in your cashflow bundled up with your inventory. Under-procurement can lead to an inability to satisfy customers. Thus, you need to be perfect, which might be impossible. Therefore, automating your inventory management process will give you sustainable results. In a few packages, it also forecasts seasonal trends and helps you manage your inventory in advance.

Bookkeeping

Accounting is a big part of every salon. You need to keep track of your income and expenses. In the case of employing helpers, you also have to keep track of their salary and schedule. Salon management software can automate this task. With the help of the POS system, you can digitize your sales. These programs are so simple that any can operate them, allowing you to employee low-level employees with ease for managing your saloon.

Customer relation & communication

In a salon business, the satisfaction of the customer defines success or failure. It would help if you never overlooked this aspect. Deploy the CRM system of the salon management program to get direct feedback from the customer. It also enables you to reply to them intuitively. With excellent customer satisfaction, you can run your salon profitably.

Even though automation helps you in multiple ways, it does not guarantee success. You have to work passionately and stay with the trend to achieve success.

Here are some other strategies you can adopt to gain success in the salon business:

Follow the latest trends: There are always new products & beauty treatments coming to the market. As a successful entrepreneur, you need to know what is trendy and what your customer might want to have. Understanding their requirements will help you establish your business.

Improve skill: If you want to remain successful in this market, you have to learn new skills as new technologies are shaking up the traditional methods. You can always serve them better with your updated knowledge.

Build a brand: People always follow the brand. So, if you want success, you have to build your brand. Deploy your website and create a catchy logo for your salon. Build up a reputation and followers. You cannot build a brand in a day.

Discount: Offering discounts to regular customers is a strategy to retain them for a longer period. A long term customer means sustainable income opportunity, along with word-of-mouth marketing. Thus, you should never let go of this opportunity.

Products: Selling customized beauty products can be a big part of your salon revenue. Many salons make a big chunk of money by selling their beauty product to the customer. You can also develop your beauty product and sell it to your customers, or endorse any quality brand. 

Last but not least, the salon business heavily depends on the employees. Therefore, keep them happy and offer them incentives for good work.

About the author

Shrushti K. Chaware works as a Digital Marketing Executive, at SoftwareSuggest. Well-Versed in Technical Niche’s, always curious to explore new stuff. Currently working on some popular keywords like Applicant Tracking System & Salon Software,  When she is not working hard at work, she can be found writing, reading or just wandering.

 

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How Streetwear, a global fashion movement has become a part of mainstream fashion ?
How Streetwear, a global fashion movement has become a part of mainstream fashion ?
 

Back in 2016 Hypebeast, an online media company and e-tailer with ‘sneakerhead’ origins shook up the fashion business world when it filed for an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

This led up to the pivotal moment for streetwear to break into the mainstream in 2017. With the highly hyped and coveted Louis Vuitton X Supreme capsule drop and the Carlyle Group buying a stake in the Streetwear behemoth, effectively valuing Supreme at $1 billion, venture capitalists went into a tizzy looking for the next billion dollarbrand. With the inclusion of skateboarding in the Olympics from this year, brands at the intersection of skate and fashion have been sought out.

In a 2018 report, Bain & Company credited streetwear as a growth driver for luxury sales with a 25% jump in luxury t-shirts sold!

Streetwear’s position as a commerce driver was cemented.

Today, you can’t talk about streetwear and not mention the exponentially growing secondary market called the ‘Resell Market’. This segment has probably titillated VC’s the most. The space is dominated by StockX, which counts Eminem and Mark Wahlberg among its investors, Goat with Ashton Kutcher as one of its investors, Grailed and Stadium Goods, which received an undisclosed amount investment from LVMH.  Investor interest in streetwear saw a collective investment of about $179.8 million between 2017 – 2018 into streetwear’s leading online marketplaces like StockX, Goat, Grailed, Stadium Goods and Highsnobiety, according to fashionista.com.

And what we found really interesting was the blurring of lines between retail-resell-investment-streetwear.

But what is streetwear?

Streetwear is probably one of the most misunderstood categories. Some people think streetwear is clothes found on the streets a la Fashion Street, while others think all graphic tees & hoodies are all streetwear.

Sure, Streetwear is t-shirts, hoodies, sneakers and the like but as Bobby Hundreds of the OG Streetwear brand, The Hundreds, says, ‘without community’ streetwear is just fashion.

Stussy

A lot of streetwear culture was born out of functionality, ground up, from small communities. Shawn Stussy and brand Stussy are often credited with creating the genre of streetwear and are often quoted as the best streetwear brand of all time. A major influence on streetwear’s aesthetic comes from skate culture. Skaters in the west coast had their own distinctive style and their assertion of being misfits. Ripped jeans, shoelace for belts, graphic printed t shirts were their pledge of allegiance to the culture. Brands like Supreme, Vans, HUF and Thrasher catered to this community, providing them tees, pants, skate decks, accessories, heavy rubber sole sneakers and media.

Streetwear has since gone on to include hip hop, sneaker culture, street art, military aesthetic, Euro-street, Japanese fashion and continues to expand its influence and inspiration. 

A critical component of streetwear is its ‘Drops’ culture. ‘Drops’are product launches, where unlike the usual spring- summer, autumn-winter fashion season, limited edition streetwear and sneakers, are brought to market and sometimes even just one style!

India has a sizable community that is into streetwear, in the range of 4 – 5 Lakh Gen Z and millennials, at the very least. Oversize fits, logo t-shirts, chunky ‘dad’ sneakers, snapback and bucket hats, long sleeve tees, coach jackets, tactical apparel, fanny packs (bags meant to be worn around the waist but often slung over the shoulder), slides with interesting socks, tracksuits, Yeezy, Jordans and Nike SB’s are some styles that form part of the uniform of this crop of cool folk that are part of India’s bubbling streetwear community.

We’ve seen an interesting mix of consumers – there are Gen Z consumers who love streetwear inspired luxury or street-luxe. Then there are those wholove the‘hype’ i.e the hottest, most valuable drop, almost treating streetwear as an asset class. Hype products are usually celebrity driven or collaborations or extremely limited quantities that are impossible to ‘cop’ at retail. And there are those who are far from the hype but love stories streetwear brands tell. There are also fashion folk who appreciate the silhouettes and designs of streetwear and participate in global trends here in India.

Daily paper

Streetwear has literally shaken up the fashion business with brands like Stussy, Off-White, Heron Preston, A Cold Wall*, Les Benjamins, Daily Paper being touted as fashions new heirs.Streetwear has always been around, it is the fashion expression of youth culture. It will continue to own its space. What is clear is that streetwear is not just a trend, it is a category – a category of clothes and shoes that have baked in cultural codes and are worn to announce your affinities.

About the author:

Bhavisha is Co- Founder, Capsul. She is a former National Speed Skating Champion, got initiated into street culture at an early age. After spending 10 years at PUMA across diverse markets like India, Turkey, Russia and Ukraine, during which time she worked with youth culture creators in India from 2010 - 2014 and on a Russian sneaker collab for PUMA Suede’s 50th year, she came back home to India to start Capsul. While at Capsul, she has been a consultant to brands like Budweiser, Air Canada, PUMA and has been quoted as one of the voices of streetwear India in Hypebeast, Verve Magazine, The Economic Times, to name some. She has an M.B.A. from the Asian Institute of Management, Philippines and an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Mumbai

 

 

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4 Luxury Marketing Strategies to win New Age Consumers in 2020
4 Luxury Marketing Strategies to win New Age Consumers in 2020
 

Luxury consumer behavior is transforming significantly due to changing consumer’s demographics,lifestyle, values and interests. Over the years, the meaning and definition of luxury has evolved. Today, luxury is no longer restricted to ‘elite few’ rather more and more consumers are trading up to purchase these products. New-age buyers save every month to buy new Mercedes Benz or new Gucci bag. This market segment spend lavishly when they have money, without much consideration about their debt levels.Marketers cannot ignore them as they provide better lifetime value and loyalties.

Luxury market which has traditionally relied on a sense of ostentatiousness and splendor, need to align itself with the values of new generational cohort. There has been shift in luxury consumption from conspicuousness to personal fulfilment. For millennials luxury is more about experience and authenticity rather than just flashy brand logos.Brands should create marketing strategies by keeping in mind, buying patterns, media habits and psychological motivators of today’s luxury consumers.To remain relevant, luxury companies should reinvent themselves. They need to clearly define what they stand for and what their core values are?They should ask themselves, are the 4 Ps of marketing still relevant? Or it’s about the 4 Es: Environment, Experience, Emotion and Ecommerce.

Environment: Luxury warrants a psychological cost categorized as “guilty pleasures” which might lead to negative emotions after the purchase. Therefore, growing number of people are buying sustainable luxury products to experience “guilt-free” enjoyment. As per a Neilson survey performed with 30,000 consumers in 60 countries across the globe, 60% of global consumers were willing to pay extra for sustainable products. This new perspective and consciousness toward others will shape the future values of luxury industry.Luxury brands along with consumers can no longer overlook sustainability.Brands are expected to regard environmental sustainability as a core pillar of their strategies. Brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Stella McCartney, among many others,have taken pledge to go cruelty free in all future collections.They are continuously reviewing their value chain to make it transparent and are shifting to plant based alternatives.

Remember: Young consumers look for luxury brands that don’t just elevate status but really touch their souls and help them to create connection with the wider world.

Experience: Luxury has always been about the best quality, the finest materials and greatest savoir-faire.However, there has been paradigm shift in the expectations of the new consumers. They want to feel special, wish to get personalized treatment anddesire to obtain immersive experience during their complete shopping journey. The entire experience of purchasing luxury goods is as important as the product itself.Luxury brands need to continuously create new experiences and wow moments for their customers. This is an amazingway to build a story in consumer’s mind- a story that you want customers to take home with them and cherish forever. For instance, Tiffany is opening its first café ‘Tiffany Blue Box’ in London to provide a way to its customers to immerse themselves in the world of Tiffany.

Remember: You must focus on delivering customer experience and not just products. Make your consumers part of your story, clearly communicate the value proposition to them and they will become yours forever.

Emotion: Neuroscience reveals that decision to buy a luxury item is overwhelmingly emotional. For today’s consumers it is not enough that a luxury product is well-crafted with great history and heritage. They cherish products which are authentic with unique and intangible quality of truth.Each promotional campaign must express truth which breathes life into the brand, conjuring perceptions of genuineness and endurance.  New generation value the opportunity to interact with the brand and become part of the brand. Through evoking emotions of pride and awe, luxury brands can build deeper connect with their consumers.Brands must think genuinely about what their clients actually care for and go an extra mile to make them live it.The ability to engage, empower and innovate is a crucial factor for becoming successful luxury brand.Gucci has launched a call center in Florence to give consumers a direct seamless connection to the Gucci community throughout the world anywhere and anytime. It enables consumers to interact with call-center assistants over phone, email or live chat and build personal relationships with assistants, similar to brick and mortar world.

Remember: You must build emotional relationship with your clients both offline and online to win them.

Ecommerce: Being a high involvement product, in-store shopping has been the way to shop for luxury brands. These high-end brands have been really slow to embrace ecommerce as a distribution channel. However, nearly 80 percent of luxury sales today are ‘digitally influenced’. Consumers hit one or more digital touch points in their luxury shopping journeys. Online luxury sales is projected to reach $70 billion globally by 2025. As per recent Euromonitor International Report, luxury goods sales are growing nearly three times faster online than in physical retail. Therefore, traditional luxury brands cannot ignore digital platform today.These brand are now trying to catch up with the changing buying patterns of the affluent consumers. Brands from Burberry to Louis Vuitton, all are making efforts to provide a consistent brand experience both in-store and online. The major challenge for all these brands is to maintain the perceived cache of luxury in the digital world.

Remember: You cannot afford to work in silos today. The combination of offline and online is the way forward.

Today, the rule book for what it means to be a luxury brand that is loved by its customers has profoundly changed. It’s no more just about making the finest product. It’s also not just about the brand repute that has been built over years. In my opinion it is about really aligning with a sense of deeply held values to create an authentic brand that connect with consumers.

The article has been penned down by Dr. Sheetal Jain.  She is founder & CEO of Luxe Analytics, a luxury market consulting firm based in New Delhi. She is an experienced luxury industry professional credited with conducting India's first quantitative study on luxury consumer behavior. Her research work has been published across several international and national refereed research journals, books and other reputed publications. Jain has been widely covered across print, electronic and digital media as a thought leader in the luxury domain.

 

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How These On-line Brands Are Winning the Game of Athleisure?
How These On-line Brands Are Winning the Game of Athleisure?
 

Until few years back, classifying ‘sportswear’ as ‘fashionable’ was an unfathomable concept. Today, however, there is a drastic shift in consumer behaviour; therefore athleisure or athletic casual wear is becoming mainstream fashion. In fact, it has started dictating market trends in an unprecedented manner, as the result, unconventional categories such as gym attire (yoga pants, leggings,sweatpants) have started taking over the mainstream apparel sector.

 

If we look at numbers, data and analytics company GlobalData had forecasted 9% percent growth in the global athleisure market in the year 2019. The company also projected that the category will continue to outperform total clothing and footwear market owing to consumers’ desire to have multifunctional wardrobe. As per Deloitte India data, India’s athleisure market is growing at 18-20% currently and is expected to touch ₹54,000 crore, or roughly $8 billion, by 2020.

 

Apart from mainstream brand, so far the growth in this segment was largely driven by Indian celebrities; SKULT (By Shahid Kapoor, One 8( By Virat Kohli), True Blue( Sachin Tendulkar), HRX( By Rithik Roshan) amongst others are few examples of celebrities led athleisure fashion.

 

Although, today this space has been started penetrated by many start-up brands, causing escalated growth of the segment. Let’s caste light upon few such start-ups..

 

Mazeix

maz

Started by female entreprenure Manisha Gupta, Mazeix is the latest inclusion in this space. As per Manisha People started embracing sportswear in the late 90s when Bollywood brought a fashion revolution as Shah Rukh Khan rocked his tight hugging polo tees and Karisma Kapoor sizzled the screen in her trendy sports bra and leggings in Dil To Paagal Hai. But soon enough, the style statement faded. Since people started realizing that what’s meant for the gym must be worn at the gym itself, the fashion trend decelerated.

Highlighting the growth of this segment, she said “The Athleisure wear segment has evolved greatly, as people have cultivated a better understanding of the importance of marrying fashion with fitness. In 2019, the term ‘athleisure’ connotes a modern, refined and relaxed approach towards fashion that screams comfort and substance. The onset of international brands such as H&M, Zara, Superdry, Puma, Forever 21 in the Indian market  have created a space where consumers can now get the choicest apparel at the most feasible range.”

How Manisha started Mazeix? 

Tuna London

Tuina

Aarti Virwani is the creative director of Tuna London, started the brand with her husband Ajit Virwani back in 2016. Coming from a family that works in the fashion apparel industry, she was naturally inclined towards fashion and studied fashion from SNDT University. 

Sharing her journey Virwani she informs, “I and my husband are great fitness enthusiast. Being passionate about fitness, we had suffered a very unpleasing experience in our beginning years when we used to look at available sportswear fashion in the market. We observe the serious dearth of fashionable products catering fitness and that inspires us to launch Tuna London.”

Highlighting the initial challenges, she said,” Owing to high penetration of mainstream brands in this space, we were slightly apprehensive about our success. Distribution was yet another challenge for us because we did not have the bandwidth to start our distribution channel. Therefore, we resorted to social media which enables us to connect with our audience directly.”

With initial price point of INR500 Tuna London made its products from cotton lycra fabric due to which it is generating a lot of demand from international markets as well. The brand is completely designed and manufactured in India.

 

Kica

kica

Started by Aneesha Labroo, the brand started in 2016 when she came back India after earning a fashion marketing degree from the University of Pennsylvania. During her international stay, she learnt about the surge in fitness and health-related trends and behaviors causing spurt in the number of pop-up stores catering active wear.
 After conducting a full marketing study on the activewear market and available brands, she identified a gap - stylish and high quality products at an affordable price point. Thus, she observed a huge opportunity a good, affordable, Indian activewear clothing brand. And, this how kica was born.

Proyog

Started by Malika Baruah and Dave Banerjee, the brand caters modern age yoginis, Proyog. Started in 2015, Proyog is committed to designing and manufacturing super-specialized yoga wear.  The brand USP is sustainable active wear solutions. Proyog products are made using HYPERBREATH™ fabric which they have developed and trademarked after extensive research. 

 

 

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How Furniture Renting is on Rise?
How Furniture Renting is on Rise?
 

For Indians, renting is not new concept; we have been renting things for decades now. However, until few years back, the renting business was restricted to high value items such as house, wedding attire including jewellery amongst others. But, now there is a growing trend of renting low valued items such as home appliances and regular- use furniture. Furniture is one category which is getting maximum traction as far as renting is concerned. The growth in this segment is mainly attributed to influx of working class and growth of student community in top eight cities. Also, evolved consumers like to experimentation with furniture from time and again. In order to cater the demand, companies such as Rentomojo, CityFurnish, Furlenco, Rentickle, GrabOnRent, RentOnGo, Pepperfry, Fabrento, Guarented, among others are doing their best to appeal metropolitan way of life.

Let’s caste light on key elements pumping growth in this segment..

Market Size

As per industry data, the furniture business in India is growing at a healthy rate during 2017- 2024, and this market is expected to increase by $800-850 million from current size. Speaking on market growth, Sidhant Lamba, Founder, Fabrento said, “The current market size for furniture rentals is estimated to stand at a significant amount of 1-1.5 billion dollars in India which will only continue to increase as more and more people become aware of the option of rentals and choose this cost-effective and hassle-free way over shelling out big bucks to buy bulky furniture.” Fabrento was founded by Sidhant Lamba in the mid 2016 with the support of the Continental group.

Speaking about the same, Ashwin Venkatraman, Chief Operating Officer, Furlenco, said, “Urban millennials are practical. They believe in living in the moment and are not interested in owning expensive things. For them, it is important to be smart and live a life that prioritises their comfort. And subscription as a way of life suits that mindset.”

Furlenco is an online-only furniture company catering to the lifestyle aspirations of contemporary urban Indians. From a handful of orders in the first year to having furnished about 90,000 homes, Furlenco has grown from strength to strength. The company aims to achieve a subscription revenue of INR 2000 crore by the year 2023. 

Category Segmentation

Indian furniture renting market can be segmented on basis elements including type of furniture, tenure, business model and region. In terms of furniture category, sofa, wardrobe, bed get maximum traction.  As per TechSci report, ‘Bed’ category acquired the majority share in 2018 and the trend is likely to continue in the forthcoming years as well. This is primarily due to the factor that bed is the primary requirement of customers moving to new places and rest of the furniture items in the category are generally add-ons. In recent past, kids’ furniture category is also picking up as many renting companies are expanding their product range.

 On the basis of tenure, the market can be segmented into upto 1 year, 1-2 year and over 2 years. Among them, 1-2 year is the preferred duration of renting by the youngsters, as indicated by the report.

Behavioral shift

Speaking on behavioral shift, Vineet Chawla, Founder, Rentickle, said apprised,” There has been a major shift in consumer mindsets from owning to renting of various products. While sharing economy has been made popular by large global companies like Uber, Air B etc, today the rented products categories has expanded to garments, accessories, high end motorcycles and even DSLR cameras.”

A closer look at the industry data reveals that home furniture segment, so far, is the largest contributor, closely followed by office and institutional segment such as hospitality, healthcare and so on.

Echoing with Chawla, Neerav Jain, Founder &CEO, CityFurnish, “Today’s generation is more evolved and adapt to the modern lifestyle than its counterpart. With unique and individual preferences, this set of people are opting for modern furniture and flexible usage and hence, makes for an important category to the retailers.”

A recent PWC study suggests that the shared economy in India is valued at $1.5bn with future projections of $10bn by 2030.  The market is vast for more innovation and players to make renting a complete alternate to buying and furniture rental will be a mainstream category in another five years.

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Start-up Indian Beverage Brand Stories You Should Know About
4 Start-up Indian Beverage Brand Stories You Should Know About
 

Gone are those days when India beverage market was all about ‘tea’. Until a decade back, tea was considered as commoners’ drink, and coffee was positioned as a drink for upper sophisticated class. Cola and other soft drinks were catered to youngsters.

Well, these are the notion belongs to yesterday. If we look at recent data, India maintains a market size for organic packaged food and beverages of US$54.6mn in 2017, which is 0.1% of global category sales.

Today, beverage market is bifurcated into various segments starting from whiskey, wine & cocktails to health drinks & powdered juices amongst others. The Indian beverage market is comprised with plenty of options & variants for alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic lovers catering all kinds of tastes & preferences. Owing to astonishing growth in this vertical, the start-up scene in this space has been mature drastically.

Let’s shed light on few promising startup stories which are redefining Indian beverage market

Rage Coffee

Started by Bharat Sethi, a serial entrepreneur who have built two successful ventures in past. In fact, he started his first business at the age of 16. Seeing the shift to coffee for many people around me, as their go-to beverage inspires Bharat to launch Rage Coffee. Speaking on same he said, “I wanted the idea to mature and I started collecting data, doing surveys and quickly established a growing demand for this gap. Having built consumer brands & online marketplaces from scratch over the last 8 years, I obviously wanted to get more data, understand my audience more and that’s when started talking to shoppers in retail outlets.” As of the brand is present in about 300 outlets locating at Delhi, Pune, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Hyderabad & Bangalore. As of now, the company has raised small investment from RannvijaySingha who’s joined the company as an early investor and brand evangelist.

The Good Life Company(TGL)

The Good Life Company is the fastest growing hot beverages startup in India. The inception of TGL Co. traces back to when TGL Co. co-founder Bhuman Dani, an MBA from INSEAD, walked into the East India Company store in London one day, little did he know that it would change his life. With no background in the world of speciality teas, this experience opened his mind to brews, blends and blades. But this appetiser only fuelled his thirst for more knowledge in this space. So he began his apprenticeship with Jane Pettigrew, one of the most renowned master blenders of tea in the world and learnt about teas, origins and influence of botanicals in creating the perfect blend.

At the same time, in another corner of the world, Shariq Ashraf, an MBA from Oxford University and a self-professed tea aficionado was inspired by another tea company. While travelling through Argentina, he came across “Tealosophy”. Its founder, Inés Berton, inspired Shariq with her enviable tea knowledge and he began to work towards bringing this spectacular range of speciality teas to India. They were creating the perfect business model, when these ‘brew-bros’ met at a Mumbai alumni event of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a leading global management consulting firm, where both had previously worked. Their shared love for tea and a passion to bring inspired brews to millions in India brought them together to create The Good Life Company or TGL Co. As of now,  has raised a primary investment of INR 8.75 Cr. & secondary investment of 7.75 Cr. through strategic investors.  In May 2019, thje company introduced 10 TGL products at more than 150 points of retail sales TGL products are also  available at Foodhall outlets in India.

SipWise

SipWise Beverages offers a range of juices to the millennials who might have wondered what if green tea became a juice or a healthy herb turned tasty. Founder Harish Mohan feels that there are huge opportunities for product category creators in India. Mohan got inspiration to launch SipWise while he was at Duke University where he got exposed to a range of functional beverages. This exposure made him realize humengous gap in the Indian market for beverages that could offer value beyond cola and fruit pulp based drinks. Mohan started SipWise with a vision to offer a health drink which is an amalgamation of age-old herbs and natural ingredients. With the support of R & D team based out of South India, his dream for Sipwise Beverages was born.As of now, the brand is available via modern trade channels including Nature’s Basket, Star Bazaar, Big Basket and Grofers, mainly in 4 cities-Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, and Goa.

Epigamia

Launched in June 2015, Epigamia has more than 21 different types of products and is available across 10,000 touch points, including modern trade chains like Reliance Fresh, Godrej Nature’s Basket, Future GroupFoodhall, Big Bazaar, and Hypercity. Ecommerce platforms, including Big Basket and Amazon. With this investment, Epigamia looks to scale pan-India and enter 50,000 stores in the coming years.This year Actor Deepika Padukone joined Epigamia a partner and strategic advisor. In an interaction Rohan Mirchandani highlighted, “We don’t peg ourselves to the strictly yogurt category only but rather see Epigamia as competing in the massive Snack market, estimated at >25,000 Cr across India.” He highlighted that his company could launch plant-based beverages in the future that would additional part of existing yougurts and smoothies.

 

 

 

 

 

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How these Hygiene Start-ups are Making Periods Less Boring?
How these Hygiene Start-ups are Making Periods Less Boring?
 

Globally, Feminine hygiene market is expected to reach over $36 billion (approx. Rs. 2.40 lakh crore) in the next six years, with India comprising of only 1.5% of this market. A survey reveals that 80 percent of feminine hygiene products sold are sanitary napkins. While the market has been dominated by disposable sanitary napkin sales, there is an increasing trend of use of products like tampons, menstrual cups, period pain relief roll on which is a good sign in respect to positive healthcare for women. Understanding the importance and criticality of feminine hygiene, more and more companies are coming with new and innovative products. All these factors can significantly contribute to growth of the industry and lead to more adoption of women hygiene products through educational, awareness and marketing efforts. So far, brands such as Whisper, Carefree amongst others hold the largest market share. However, this place has been started populated by many unique start-ups which boast be better than any leading brand in terms of their product offerings. Let’s hear from them..

 Heyday

Started by Delhi based entrepreneur, Deepanjali Kanoria Heyday is an eco friendly brand which hopes to revolutionize the sanitary napkin segment. Kanoria was

 working as a financial consultant at Ernst & Young in New York when it dawned upon her that she had the scope of influencing positive impact beyond the conference room at a client site.

“The idea of finding sustainable solutions to everyday problems always fascinated me and being educated at all-women's institutions, I was more inclined to helping women overcome problems they faced in their everyday lives through the means of innovation. Upon returning to New Delhi and researching about various industries, I found that the Indian sanitary napkin industry was highly monopolised and hadn't seen innovation in the past decade,” informed Deepanjali.

The materials used in the commercially sold conventional sanitary napkins were all synthetic and pose a threat to the body and the environment relentlessly. Creating a prototype with all natural elements was an exciting challenge.

“We did not use any synthetic raw materials and steered away from cotton too as it utilises 26% of the world's pesticide content which is very steep and again harmful. We zeroed down on bamboo and corn fibre used in seven super absorbent layers of our patented fibre to produce an end product with a soft and smooth finish that was tested to be completely biodegradable and organic,”.

Highlighting the initial hiccups, she said “We faced numerous challenges in terms of product placement as retailers were not sure if a new product would sell but we overcame that issue with time as more retailers believed in our product proposition and saw the off-take value.”

Being a startup, the company had little funds that could spend on marketing. Hence, as the part of strategy the company constantly tried to reach more women to choose this affordable sustainable menstruation option. Today, Heyday products are available on all leading markertplaces and modern traders including Spencer's, Godrej Nature's Basket, Guardian Pharmacy, Health & Glow, Le Marche, Modern Bazaar amongst others.

Sanfe

Started by Harry Sehrawat, Sanfe was started from the realization of the fact that more than 50 percent of women have to suffer from UTI caused by dirty public washrooms. Though the company does not make sanitary napkins as of now, but offer gamut of products catered to female hygiene especially in those days.

Speaking further, Sehrawat said, “The problem was unidentified to us till one of our friends got infected with UTI during a mountain trip. The urge and motivation to solve the problem led us to our entrepreneur journey and the development of our first product. This led us to think more about the issues around feminine hygiene and the taboo surrounding it. It motivated us to innovate more solutions which can help women live a quality life.”

The company has received funds from HPCL (Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited) at an initial stage of our start-up. This has supported them in their research, innovation and product development. The start-up is also planning to raise another round of funding for product portfolio expansion and international expansion. As of now, the company is retailing via retail platforms such as Apollo, LeMarche along with all leading market places and its exclusive webstore.

Peesafe

Started by Vikas Bagaria, Pee Safe was earlier known for selling Toilet Seat Sanitizer Spray has recently made its foray into India’s fastest growing sanitary products segment (expected to reach a value of US$ 992.8 Million by 2024 as per IMARC Group) with 100% organic cotton, biodegradable sanitary pads. The brand has witnessed an unprecedented growth of 200% in FY18. Pee Safe has already raised $2 million from a group of investors and aims to become a 1000 crore brand within five years. Pee Safe currently owns more than 90% of the market in the Toilet Seat Sanitizer Category.

 

Started in 2017, the company has raised $2M already.  The company aims to set its niche in offering biodegradable sanitary pads in pocket friendly prices. Speaking on same, Bagaria said, “At the moment, the manufacturing cost of organic cotton and biodegradable pads is much greater than manufacturing plastic ones. Our target audience is people who care for their bodies and the environment and the pads are priced accordingly at Rs. 299 for a pack of 10 wrapped individually in disposable bags.”Peesafe products are  currently present at 3000 offline stores pan India including modern trade, general stores, pharmacies etc. along with leading marketplaces.

The Other Players

There are many other brands which are engaged in making, low-cost, biodegradable sanitary napkin brands, primarily catered to rural women.

Saathi pads in Gujarat:  

Saathi began in 2015, when its four co-founders Kristin Kagetsu, Tarun Bothra, Amrita Saigal, and Grace Kane - graduates of MIT, Harvard and Nirma University - came together on a mission to create fully eco-friendly, compostable sanitary napkins using locally sourced banana fiber from the state of Gujarat, where Saathi is based. 

Sakhi by Vatsalya Foundation:

Spearheadeded by Swati Bedekar, Vatsalya Foundation started making low cost biodegradable sanitary napkins after realizing that the village women would use a leaf with mud which was tied around their waist. Synthetic cloth pieces, or any cloth pieces which were not even clean, were used. Bedekar developed started manufacturing unit with the initial help from government’s tribal department.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Five Digital Trends Driving FMCG Consumption
Five Digital Trends Driving FMCG Consumption
 

Digital revolution is driving the FMCG consumption in India. A report from Nielsen, called the “The Nielsen Future Opportunities in FMCG E-commerce” has indicated the online growth of FMCG products is surpassing offline growth in India. According to Nielsen data, the Asia Pacific region is expected to provide some of the biggest growth opportunities for online FMCG over the next five years:43% of the region’s consumers already using e-commerce platforms for home delivery of products, and a further 15% indicating better internet connectivity would increase their propensity to shop online. 

 

If we look at the India story, the Indian e-retail market has grown three times in the total FMCG retail sales in the last two years. As per industry data, 40% of FMCG purchases in some select categories will go online by 2020. Understanding the gravity of the matter, a session took place at Indian Retail and E-retail Congress (IReC) 2019 titled FMCG: Harnessing the Digital Potential, which casted the light on leading trends of which are driving FMCG sales via digital channels.

 

While opening the session, SushantRabra, Partner Digital Consulting Services, KPMG, sheds light on key highlights including digital commerce has started contributing 6-7% of many FMCG companies in India. Online is an emerging channel, which cannot be ignored and is poised to grow 2X and 3X depending upon the company and the category. Digital is a crucial growth driver for top-line as well as bottom-line.

 

However, managing this digital transition from offline to online is proving to be a challenge to many companies. Industry veterans who were also the part of panel, had to strike out trends in the online FMCG space while speaking at IReC2019, which recently concluded in the capital city New Delhi.

 

Social E-commerce

 

Social platforms such as Instagram, Facebook amongst others are becoming integral part of human life. Speaking on same, Ashish Jain, Head – Digital and eCommerce, Godrej and Boyce, said, “When everything is changing people are subsequently going to products from social media platforms, it is the one trend which is clearly coming out, for instance, Instagram could a good platform to feature food product along with the recipe.”

 

Jain further adds that digital has empoweredbrands to serve niche set of consumers, for example, if the company is looking to serve only 100 customers across India who could be an ideal clientele to  consume those sort of products and services, it is made possible through digital channels by catering to those individual entrepreneurs and brands. Therefore, the whole landscape is changing where the entire  consumption scenario is changing and is now largely driven by digital influence.

 

Data Exchange

 

In the era of tech innovation timeframe for farm to fork cycleis reducing drastically, but that is creating its own set of challenges. Speaking further on same, Sameer Shaikh, AGM, Regional Head-Buying & Merchandising, Bigbasket, said,“Due to social influence, people now have easier way of expressing themselves and at times feedbacks can be negative also, forcing us to take prompt action.” No doubt, digitisation has widened the scope of data exchange and feedback exchange from customers, which ultimately helps us in improving our product and services.

 

Changing Retail Shelves

 

Due to lot of data exchange, companies are now experimenting with newer products which were never there on traditional retail shelves. Speaking further on same, Sharad Sharma, Head of eCommerce, Havells India, said, “I have seen the industry for a decade now. In last few years so much has happened in this space and primarily driven by the consumers. So, I will keep consumers in the centre of all the activities happening around. When I say consumer they are driving not only the tractions but also putting the pressures on organisation in terms of changing the products they offer to customer.”

 

Due to digital influence customers are able to collate data and customise their product and services as per the need of customers. This change is driving consumers and organisations to different directions. Therefore, a lot of product innovation is happening.

 

Going further, Sharma adds, “Seamless experience is once such thing which is demanded by the customer as they don’t care about channel of purchasing. Whether online or offline, they are looking for same kind of experience without any pricing difference.”

 

Technology-first Approach

 

Digitisation is forcing the companies to adopt a digital-first approach.Speaking on technology deployment, Anil Bhavnani, Director BPO and Digital transformation, Pfizer said, “I represent pharmaceutical company and the part of much regulated market. Consumers are very important part for us where we are looking to embed technologies such as chatbots. We aim to leverage technology in order to make entire experience more seamless. “

 

Having said that,Bhavnani also stressed that the company is also looking at middle or back offices to see where they can put their digital wing forward. The company is trying to bring automation in its finance and accounting processes.

 

Exploring the Unexplored

 

Digital has really changed the entire game of customer service. Speaking further on same, ShikhaLal, Director – Quality Capabilities & Digital Transformation, Unilever said, “Ofcourse, ecommerce is a huge opportunity. In fact, our 5.4% global turnover comes from ecommerce and we really hope to increase the number.”

 

Lal also adds that ecommerce comes with its own set of challenges including managing counterfeits and ensuring sustainability since it requires a very different kind of value chain, including primary packaging with a viable range of innovation.

 

Echoing Shikha, Anant Goel, co-founder and CEO–Milkbasket, said, “Digital is creating an unknown territory for us. Nobody knows how this market is going to evolve in the times to come; what would new convenience parameters that customers are looking at; and what would new products that customers might want?

 

Moreover, there is a prevailing fear of disruption in business model, since it is still an evolving model. Digital is a six to seven hundred billion dollar market, which is largely untapped and comes with huge challenges.  It has created a huge consumer base, which is growing continuously and everybody is looking to acquire that.

 

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How Ethnic Brands are Getting a New Avatar!
How Ethnic Brands are Getting a New Avatar!
 

With changing lifestyles, India is becoming the hub of global fast fashion brands. Despite this fashion revolution, there are many women in India who are still traditionalists at heart, and prefer ethnic wear. Even the millennial,who drive the maximum consumption of fast fashion tend to opt for ethnic at festive occasions or family functions. Moreover, there is a fair share of working women who find ethnic wear more comfortable for day-to-day wearing.  Though, the Indian fashion market has become crowded,ethnicfashionhas shown no sign of fading; in fact, the market is growing like never before.

Let’s shed some light on some interesting trends in this space.

The Humongous Size of the Ethnic Market

According to Technopak, ethnic wear is the single biggest category in women’s wear segment with a share of 71 percent. Moreover, this segment is transforming itself from the unorganised sector to large retailers and companies.

Speaking further on the market, Puneet Jain and Yatin Jain, directors Odhni, said, “On looking at the market’s performance closely for the past five years, it has grown tremendously. Particularly the luxury and designer ethnic wear segments have seen a steep rise with the growth of middle class and working  women. Presently, the ethnic wear market is pegged at 82,000 crore and is expected to grow to Rs 1, 26, 210 crore by the end the current year.”

The growing popularity of Indian and western fusion wear and e-commerce bandwagon shopping are few reasons behind its impressive growth.

Odhni was launched in 1999 at the time when the market was running out of trusted and reliable ethnic brands to cater to the enormous demands from the rising middle class. The founders, aka entrepreneurs, Anju Jain and Shashi Jain, started Odhni from 500 sq. ft. store in Pitampura, New Delhi to meet the demands of contemporary Indian women – educated, confident, and fashion-savvy. Later, the venture was joined by brother-duo Puneet and Yatin Jain; the aspirational businessmen who helped Odhni to become one of the leading players in ethnic wear market in Delhi in short of span and time and that too, without any external funding.

 Conscious is the New Trend

To match up with evolved consumer behavior, ethnic brands are transforming and becoming more conscious towards many things like making environment-friendly product, chemical free dyes and material, and so on.Today, people have become aware about environment like never before, thus, conscious fashion is the latest trend in the ethnic space.  Ancestory,a latest brand from Future Style Lab in the ethnic space promotes conscious fashion. The brand offers a variety of fashionable clothing, home decor, footwear and accessories, all of which is constantly evolving and in line with international trends, and yet rooted in Indian heritage and crafts. Presently, the brand is retailed via six exclusive stores.

Speaking on same, Manjula Tiwari, CEO, Future Lifestyle said, “There is a growing consciousness among the consumers about the impact of fashion on environment. Consumers are now–more than ever–educated and curious about the quality and contents of the fabrics and materials used to create what they wear. On the supply side, however, there are not enough brands catering to such sensibilities, thereby offering a huge market opportunity. But, further down, the creation of slow-fashion is a time consuming and expensive process, with slower fashion churning out what most Indian consumers don’t want; they are used to with fast-fashion brands. It’s the fine balance a brand creates that keeps it going.”

Fusion Remains the Hot Favorite

Fusion wear has really revotionalised ethnic fashion. Fusion is nothing but westernisation of Indian wear, which has so far been well received by Indian women.  Speaking on the same, SandeepKapoor, MD, SHR Lifestyles Pvt Ltd, said, “Today, we have a huge population of working women as against times when women were usually homemakers.  These changes together have led to an evolution of fashion to suit their changing needs. Influence of western elements in Indian ethnic wear is vivid in a woman’s wardrobe today.”

Therefore, fusion is becoming the obvious choice of young India. Launched in 2009 by Sandeep Kapoor and Sheetal Kapoor, Shree is a women's ethnic wear brand with offline and online presence. Recently, the brand has raised Rs 80 Cr from Alpha Capital.

Ecommerce Push

E-commerce companies such as Myntra, Jabong, have infused a lot of growth in ethnic space. Anouk, AKS Clothing, Varanga are amongst few brands, which started their journey from one of these platforms, and become highly successful today. For example, AKS Clothings, an online apparel brand of Yuvdhi Apparels Pvt. Ltd which was started in 2014 by an enthusiastic and energetic fashionprenuer Nidhi Yadav, has crossed to Rs 100 cr revenue mark in the Q3 of fiscal year 2018-19.

Clearly, ethnic fashion is here to stay. However, the brands need to ensure that they stay relevant to modern India whether it is distribution or product choices.

 

 

 

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How lingerie segment is adopting new age innovations?
How lingerie segment is adopting new age innovations?
 

The Indian innerwear segment has witnessed a holistic boom in the last few years. The evolution of inner wear from merely a necessity to a fashion commodity has resulted into the emergence of innovative inner wear production and marketing trends. Today, people look at inner wear as a commodity of comfort and optimum functionality.

Speaking about the current scenario in the Indian innerwear market, Yogesh Kabra, Founder of XYXX Crew, said “The times have changed and innerwear is no longer just an item of utility anymore. It has evolved to be an essential fashion commodity. With the improving economic condition of the country and increasing purchasing power of the Indian consumer, the Indian innerwear market has become very competitive, where it offers a wide range of innovative products in dynamic fashion trends. Customers are now aware of the styling, designs and colours that they prefer in the innerwear segment.”

Value for money

An Indian consumer is much more informed and aware of his rights today. He knows which product may cost what. He does not mind paying extra for a good quality product. He may be ready to pay for a luxurious pair of boxers that may cost somewhere between 1000-3000, but it should look and feel worthy of it. Quality and comfort make the most important factors when it comes to the inner wear segment. An informed consumer can differentiate between quality products and decide where he wants to spend his money.

Emerging categories

The impact of social media is such that it has led to inner wear segment’s shift from a necessity to a fashion essential. Due to easy internet accessibility and influencer marketing, people are far more aware about the latest trends and tips than they were before. Today, you do not need to buy a fashion magazine every month to stay up to date with fashion trends. In fact, fashion is on the tips of your fingers that is in your phone. With social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook flooding with fashion feed, everyone has the access to a free fashion guide. If you witness an influencer sporting a pair of boxers with trendy prints, you are sure to purchase them, even if you don’t actually need them.

E-commerce over retail

Thanks to increasing internet accessibility and rise of ecommerce businesses, retail marketing is losing its charm in India. From a pin to a plane, everything is available on thousands of websites. You don’t need to step out of your house or even use hard cash in order to make a small or huge purchase. Online shopping is not only for metro cities, but is also profoundly popular in remote areas. An ecommerce business can reach the remotest areas where retail cannot be imagined. Additionally, retail takes a lot more investment compared to an online business, which relatively requires lesser labour and infrastructure.

New Fabric Trends

Sharing his thoughts on the new fabric trends in India, Yogesh Kabra says, “The Indian innerwear market invests a lot in the research and development of the product that can offer the best to its consumers. For instance, XYXX Crew imports micromodal fabric from Austria which is three times softer than cotton. We ensure the comfort of our consumers and that’s one of our strategies to retain the customers.”

 

 

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How home-grown cosmetics looking at larger market PEI?
How home-grown cosmetics looking at larger market PEI?
 

Cosmetic market across the globe is an interesting model to know. The cosmetics or beauty products industry in the world is one sector which remains resistant to the ups and downs of markets.

Coming to the Indian cosmetic market it is flooded with valiant international players who initially did not offer much scope for the domestic manufacturers as far as the high end or luxury products were concerned. However it is the middle segment, the affordable range that is protected with domestic manufacturers who do not offer much scope for imports of other nation’s products. Some of these brands include MATTLOOK, ADS, Wet & Wild, Miss Claire and Glam 21.

Also as the economy is growing, concurrently the income is rising too which is accelerating the living standards. There is a penchant for anything related to fashion which is becoming imperative to possess to be a part of the social circles and hangouts. It’s not just the celebrities, A- listers or the page 3; even the middle class women want to be in the same boat and want to replicate the trend. They do not want to get spotted wearing the same clothes, shoes, bags or watches and make-up is no exception!

Although there is an increase in income but the disposable income is not increasing at the same rate making expensive, high end and trending brands aspirational.

Growth in ageing population, usage of cosmetics by the youngsters is attracting domestic manufacturers to offer affordable price range but without compromising on quality.

Moreover students, housewives, young employees are increasingly looking for value for money products which provide a range of combined benefits of high priced premium products at a lower than premium cost. Domestic manufactures such as MATTLOOK, Miss Claire, Glam 21 and ADS are carving a niche by offering products with breakthrough technologies and radical effects. Besides the rapid change in market segmentation, cosmetic manufacturers have turned to product innovations and lower packaging styles for more placements in convenient stores and specialty stores to add more customers to their brand products.

The home-grown cosmetic brands are constantly innovating, keeping up with the trend and finding ways to bring down costs.

The market is driven by product innovations through new products or incremental benefits to existing products. Along with typical skin, lips and eye makeup, the newest trend is the blending of multiple benefits less than one beautifying product. And this too is available in the affordable segment.

The revolution of technology and internet advertisement is also facilitating to cut the other media expenditure for the domestic brand manufacturers, thus helping the cost saving.

So, advancement of technology and developed internet facilities has also made the customers more adapted for browsing their required products on line.  Brand owners have taken the route of internet of mobile digital ads to be more nearer to their customers all times. This is helping the customers to gain the information of new domestic products, brand variants, SKU launches and outlet locations. 

Apart from this customer can also compare the prices for different company’s products and reviews on the products which help the purchasing decision of the customer. 

So, the domestic players have a better understanding of the Indian market which is helping them expand rapidly. They know what to imbibe from the international domain. They are putting up a good show with a slew of market trends and striking a perfect product and price balance!

The article has been penned down by Mr Yashu Jain, Managing Director MATTLOOK Cosmetics

 

 

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How value retail is emerging as high profit business?
How value retail is emerging as high profit business?
 

A decade ago if a product was sold in the market at a discounted rate, it would arouse suspicions in the consumers’ minds. However today, this behaviour has changed with the emergence of the Value Retailing concept.

The buying behaviour for any segment can be divided into utility and luxury. Commercialization, however, offers the consumer a plethora of different options wherein goods bought for utility can also be categorised based on quality and price. The concept of “Value Retail” caters to this aspirational and pocket-friendly requirement of the buyers, bringing high street designs at affordable prices for the multitude while premium brands maintain their exclusive tag by maintaining presence in select areas. In this scenario, value retail stores meet their profits by virtue of large scale reach and unique target audience segmentation. What is noteworthy here is that value retailers manage to maintain quality products at affordable prices.

Shift in the consumer behaviour

The genesis of value retailing can be linked to market recession times where innovation was key to survive the market downturn. The recession had caused a shift in consumer buying habits triggering a negative growth in the retail sector. Consumers restricted their shopping budgets, and opted to buy goods at discount sales, and during promotional offers. As the world recovered from recession, the consumers who were used to buying products on discounts and offers still continue to seek the same. They preferred to buy quality items at prices that are comparatively less than branded ones. This helped in the resurgence of retail and larger format value retail concept stores. Today, value retailing is a big format store concept, where branded products and accessories are sold under best deals. Unlike premium brands which use 3x multipliers to recover their cost, value retailing use only 1.5x multipliers to provide the customers with maximum cost benefit. This concept is planned mainly for tier II and III cities wherein retail stores offer products with an inexpensive price tag.

Consumers, today, are seeking for options to reduce their apparel purchase expenditures demanding and expecting good quality at inexpensive pricing. They are seeking value. There is a noticeable shift in their shopping preferences with more importance given to product pricing. The success of the value retailing concept works on the approach of providing quality goods at factoryprices. The products on display in any value retail store are on par with the on going fashion for that season in any premium brand. The value retailers bring the latest trends and styles from across the globe and make it accessible to the tier-II & III segment. The market for the tier-II & III segment in India has been penetrated by a few players in the retail sector.

How to deal with the situation

The key to the operational success of value retail stores is the consistent product outreach & demand and managing supply chain. Since the stores cater to the tier-II & III segment, the product segment caters to the demands that are specific to the region. India being a multicultural land, different cultures have different festivities for various seasons, while South of India celebrates Onam, North India is celebrating Baisakhi. Adhering to the niche requirement, value retailers serve the segment with choicest goods that are the need of the hour. Adding more flavour, colours and joy to the myriads of festivities in India, making the most of the opportune moment.

Growth in the retail sector

The surge of ideas in the retail sector has brought an upsurge on the economic front as well. The retail sector in India contributes to 10% of the GDP. Until 2010, rural India was facing a lack of organised sector players. Retail in rural India largely comprised of local corner shops, owner manned general stores, convenience stores, departmental stores, hand cart and pavement vendors, etc. Lack of innovation and new-age infrastructure has hindered the rise of organised retail in rural areas.

India’s retail market is expected to increase by 60 per cent to reach US$ 1.1 trillion by 2020, on the back of factors like rising incomes and lifestyle changes by middle class and increased digital connectivity. While the overall retail market is expected to grow at 12 per cent per annum, modern trade would expand twice as fast at 20 per cent per annum and traditional trade at 10 per cent. Indian retail market is divided into “Organised Retail Market” which is valued at $60 billion which is only 9 per cent of the total sector and “Unorganised Retail Market” constitutes the rest which is 91 per cent of the sector.

Conclusion

Last but not the least, value retail does not mean that consumers have to compromise in terms of the shopping experience, ambience and customer service. Value retail offers the very same experience to shoppers who walk into departmental stores in Tier I cities.

As Sir Philip Green said, “People are always going to go shopping. A lot of our effort is just, “How do we make the retail experience a great one”.

The article has been penned down by Jay Prakash Shukla, Co-Founder & CEO, 1-India Family Mart

 

 

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How healthy 'Snacking' items are changing retail shelves?
How healthy 'Snacking' items are changing retail shelves?
 

It’s well said that “good health and good sense are two of life’s greatest blessings” and Indians today have increasingly become health conscious which reflects in the choices consumers make and the shift in dietary patterns, for example, choosing cholesterol free or low fat products over deep fried savouries. While Indians are known for their taste buds and there are ample options for snacking for Indians, ranging fromconfectioneries, biscuits and chocolates to bakery items, western snacks and the traditional home made savouries, but today, mellennials have realized the importance of adopting a preventive lifestyle over a curative one. In this mill run, the ultimate beneficiary is the food and drink market. Pallavi Gupta, Founder & CEO, NuttyYogi, asserts, “The consumers are now conscious and aware about the importance of healthy eating. Recent reports have also indicated that the organic packaged food market is slated to grow by 25 percent within the next 3-4 years. Currently, the urban consumer has not only adopted to healthier options when it comes to snacking but are also looking for gourmet or organic items to replace junk food from the palate.”

Market Status

Today’s hectic lifestyles leave no space for elaborate meals, thus paving the way for highly convenient, tasty and healthy snack food options that serve as both appetizers as well as complete meal solutions. Also, changed perception about packaged foods in the consumer mind has led to proliferation of healthy snacks market in the country. Arun Prakash, Co-Founder, Snackexperts, affirms, “Snacking is on the rise. Increasing disposable incomes, a need for convenience from fast-paced lifestyles and a cultural tradition of snacking between meals have fuelled explosive growth in this sector. Consumers’ changing dietary habits and willingness to try new things are pushing these numbers even higher.”

Consumers are more aware of the various options available and are easily bored leading to increased experimentation. Various startups too are bringing back the age old grandma’s recipes and tweaking them to cater to the demands of the millennials. According to IKON’s estimates, the savoury snacks market in India (branded packaged and unbranded packaged or loose) is ready to hit the Rs.1,000 billion mark by the end of the current decade, growing at a healthy double digit CAGR. Also, it has been observed that for the past few years the market is gradually starting to shift towards the organized segment, which holds almost 60 percent of the market and the remaining is shared by the unorganized market segment. However, Pranav Sharma, Founder & CEO, Poshtick, maintains, “The healthy savoury market, though evolving, still is in its nascent stage.Right now, it has a defined line where there are lot of new players and companies coming up and lot of existing players like Britannia and ITC who are making a shift from their normal categories and introducingthe healthy variant of their products. That really speaks about this evolving space.”

Factors Driving Growth

The increased emphasis on healthy lifestyle including healthy eating is already a new trend especially in North and West India. So, what exactly is leading to the growth in demand and also to an increase in the number of players in the segment? Jasmine Kaur, CEO, The Green Snack Co., informs, “The factors leading to these changes include customer demand for healthier packaged food options that taste good, premiumizationas a trend not just in snacking but across various packaged food categories, and ‎snackificationof meals (60 percent of our food consumption is in the form of snacks or mini-meals today).” Snacking has always been inevitable tendency of an average human being, whether its while working, while at home or on the go. This has not changed since decades now; what has changed is the lifestyle of people which have given a heads-up to the healthy munchies instead of deep fried, fatty savouries.Pallavi Gupta says, “More and more people are leaning towards holistic wellness in their lifestyle. It is a great opportunity for brands to bring special procured, processed and packaged items, consumable in small portions to cater to this need.”

Potential in tier-II and tier-III markets

With internet and mobile penetration in tier-II, tier-III and beyond areas, people have become more aware and conscious about health and fitness and “there are also reports which suggest that health and fitness is taken more seriously by people from tier-II and tier-III towns in comparison to the urban cities”. Also, due to very few players in the segment of healthy food and snacks, there is a huge potential in the sector.

Neha Thakker and Mahima Anand, Partners, Happy Belly, asserts, “Healthy snacking is definitely the new in-thing. Starting in a tier-II city like Pune, we realized that even though people aren't as aware or ready to invest in buying better snacks, it is at a place where it is getting there, so this is probably the best time to be promoting ourselves in a still growing, getting ready to explode market.”

Challenges &Road Ahead

The market for savoury snacks in India holds tremendous growth potential, though there always remain few challenges that still need to be addressed on the way forward. “Since, it’s the healthy snacks we are dealing in, we shy off using preservatives, etc., which makes the shelf life of the product really short. Also, we need to keep the product healthy as well as tasty. In order to sustain, it is important for products in this market to be balanced, wholesome, of good quality without compromising on the taste of snacks. Fads will come and go, but nutrition and taste will always go a long way,” maintains NehaThakker and Mahima Anand.

The snacks food industry in India is highly competitive and evolving. Consumers are always tempted to shift their choices and preferences whenever new products are launched or various marketing and pricing campaigns of different brands are introduced. Arun Prakash says, “India’s snack food market is growing at 25 percent CAGR, according to industry sources. While presently, unorganized market is dominating this segment, this scenario is expected to change during the forecast period of 2018-2024.”

 

 

 

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How franchise model is fueling growth in Spa Culture of India?
How franchise model is fueling growth in Spa Culture of India?
 

  When you feel washed out running around all week ‘Spa’ is one place which vouches ultimate  rejuvenation. In fact, there is a growing trend of saloons turning into spa centres in centre. If we can look at numbers, globally, Spa is thriving industry, according to a report published by leading market research agency Zion,  global spas and beauty salons market was valued at around USD 128.59 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach approximately USD 190.81 billion in 2024, growing at a CAGR of slightly above 5.80% between 2018 and 2024. Spas are continue to gain traction owing to rising standard of lifestyle and much evolved beauty treatments which are not available in salons.    

 India Picture 

 Through, Spa is an evolving industry in India, but it has long way to go if we compare it with mature markets such US, Europe. Highlighting the growth scenario in Indian Spa market Ritesh Reddy, CEO, O2 Spa said, “Globally it is $100 billion business while in India it is hardly a $200 million business but is expanding at over 40% year over year. Considering the fact that there were hardly any global players who have entered India and hardly any Indian players operating at scale I felt that it could be a great opportunity and the right field to enter.” 

 Reddy started his venture in 2008 after returning from US where he spent almost 11 years and observe the growth aspect in this business. Today, he operates 113 spas spread across 30 cities in India. “We currently serve over 45,000 customers every month and see a growth of over 35% YOY,” informed Reddy.   

 Sawadhee Traditional Thai Spa is a start-up in this segment. It is a standalone entity spread across 6000 sq.ft in the heart of South Delhi. Commenting on evalution of Spa business, Vibha Khanna Rastogi, Director of Sawadhee Traditional Thai Spa, said, “ Like every other business, the spa business is also evolving keeping in mind the customer of today. People are leading extremely stressful lives and are realizing the importance of taking time off to pamper themselves, and the spa industry is more equipped than ever before to cater to this need.”       

  Vibha got the idea to start a Spa venture when she and her husband both spa enthusiasts were scouting good standalone spa in Delhi which could provide with a complete indulgent spa experience.

    “Most of the Spas in Delhi (apart from 5-star hotels) are situated in busy markets, malls or by-lanes with cramped up rooms and do not give a sense of peace and tranquility, which is so essential for a good spa. So we decided to take upon ourselves to create a spa which provided such a wholesome experience,” informed Jain.        

 Operational hurdles  

 If you look at any business the most challenging part of any business is the number of things that cannot be standardised and spa business falls on the top of that order.  It is only category where there is a personal/physical touch between the customer and employee in any business. This itself is a huge huge challenge/responsibility as far as an organisation is concerned.  

“Installing very robust Systems and processes and also ensuring that the staff are continuously trained on right procedures and protocols for service delivery is critical. Considering the huge growth in the sector and also lack off too many organised players in this category it is typically for the small business entrepreneur it is absolutely unviable to invest heavily on training this I think is a huge operation challenge,” said Reddy.   

 Franchise ‘Connect’      

 In any evolved economy you’ll see a huge rise in franchising.  It’s a really beautiful trend that is catching up in India as well. For a new entrepreneur it is highly recommend to explore taking any franchise because you’re going to highly benefit from all the learnings and the dos and don’t‘s of business. 

 “However I recommend that whenever you’re making a decision of a potential franchise you should evaluate what value the franchisor brings to the table. Apart from being a recognisable brand they also must bring in very strong systems and processes, IT systems which would enable you to run your business in a seamless manner which is the primary purpose of taking a franchise,” said Reddy.  

Speaking further on same, Rastogi said, “Although franchising in the spa business has been on the rise, spa chains somehow have not been able to maintain very high standards of quality and uniformity. “

 

         

       

 

 

 

 

 
 

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How health supplements are changing conventional retail shelve?
How health supplements are changing conventional retail shelve?
 

Currently healthcare segment growth has started but hasn’t boomed yet. It has yet to come and that is expected soon. The way nutritional education in India will grow, the sector will grow accordingly. As per the figures revealed by FSSAI India's health supplement and nutraceutical industry is rapidly growing and is poised to be USD 10 billion industry by 2025. Due to exponential growth and rising per capita income the demand for health supplients is growing exponentially also such products are finding newer distribution channels which is far behind pharmacy chains.  

The market scenario

Still the nutrition education and awareness is very poor. Consumers are lured by various kinds of advertisement and compensated with various kinds of free sale schemes rather than giving them the right quality nutritional products. So many channels have been involved in between the manufacturers and consumers which is affecting the product quality.

Nutrimed Healthcare is one of the leading manufactures in healthcare segment s with whole range of products including infant milk formula, baby food cereals, child growth milk formula, pregnant & lactating mothers’ milk protein formula, sports & fitness supplements, whey protein/ milk based nutritional formulations

 Speaking on current market scenario, T.N. Tiwari, Founder and CEO of Nutrimed Healthcare said, “The online marketing is increasing to minimize the gap between consumers and manufacturers so that quality of products doesn’t suffer due to many middlemen.”

According to Tiwari, there are ample factors which are propelling growth in this segment. For example, there is a growing trend of education and awareness of nutrition as fitness supplements. Also, India being the capital for obese, diabetics & cardiac patients etc., new generation is afraid of these ailments and want to maintain their fitness. That is the reason there has been exponential growth in gyms, and more and more people are opting for fitness and wellness programs. And, people have improved purchasing capacity which in turn spurting growth in this segment.

Distribution challenges

Certainly the increased number of channels in retailing has their margins against their services. Now every manufacture have to think how to provide good quality product at cheaper prices to customers without any compromises. That is a challenge that almost every manufacture is dealing with. Speaking on same Tiwari said, “We too look forward to hear from someoneonthisissue. Fitness Supplements are going through online channel to safeguard the nutritional quality of the products and to avail them directly to the customers with minimal channels present between the manufacturer and customer.”

As per him infant nutrition and Baby food cereals are going through offline channels so far. Distribution can be scaled up if both above lines can be made strong enough to make our products presence everywhere. Nutrimed Healthcare is selling its fitness supplements majorly through our own ecommerce website. Nutrimed Healthcare’s e-commerce website started 4 years back and has customers throughout the country, in every nook and corner of India, with 1,00,000+ registered customers.

Sharing the sales split between online and offline Tiwari said, “We sell Nutrimed Healthcare Fitness Supplements mostly through online channels and also do contract manufacturing for many companies which is business through offline channel as well as offline distribution in different states through appointed dealers. Our split for Fitness supplements sale is 75% Online : 25% Offline.”

For Infant milk formula and Baby foods, the company is selling through offline distribution channels such as appointed distributors PAN India and regional MRs in various districts. “We are also doing export of Baby foods to many SAARC countries as well as doing contract manufacturing for baby foods and infant milk formula for many export clients from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Oman, Iraq, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Yemen,” as he shared.

Nutrimed Healthcare is listed on these marketplaces including Flipkart, Healthkart, Amazon, Paytm, Merricart.

The road ahead

Healthcare is emerging as one of the largest sectors in terms of revenue and employment. As per the report shared by ibef the Indian healthcare sector is growing at a brisk pace due to its strengthening coverage, services and increasing expenditure by public as well private players.

There is a significant scope for enhancing healthcare services considering that healthcare spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is rising. Rural India, which accounts for over 70 per cent of the population, is set to emerge as a potential demand source. Hence, we see ample retail growth for this segment.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How Startups Are Redefining India’s Bespoke Clothing Segment?
How Startups Are Redefining India’s Bespoke Clothing Segment?
 

Not all things are made to perfection but humans, striving to have the best of all things, desire exactly that and this has led to the advent of bespoke clothing segment in India. Shunning the mass-produced, one-size-fits-all options available, a new category is gradually taking over the apparel industry which quintessentially offers personalized clothing options to the discerning. Though bespoke has been in India since generations and Indian population had been dressing up in tailored clothes until the late 1990, the emergence of ready to wear garments with the entry and expansion of foreign and domestic apparel brands in the country almost outpaced the bespoke category. Years passed by and the bespoke came back to prominence with little upgradations here and there. And this re-emergence accompanied better quality and also better fit than the ordinary tailored garments and going forward witnessed many startups entering the segment. Also, startups in the bespoke segment have an advantage with lower inventory and debt on their books compared to the bigger companies.

The Overall Market Scenario

India is more close to customized clothing than any other country ever will be. While it started with traditional tailoring where one would bring in their own fabric and instruct their local tailor on the intricacies of the garment, organized bespoke segment soon took over.These organized players in the bespoke category offer the best of fabrics from around the world, designs and a perfect fit and definitely comes at a premium price which makes the category an extension of the luxury market. According to a Technopak analysis, customized services account for 15 percent of the Rs.1,300crores luxury apparel and accessories market in the country. Akshay Narvekar, Founder, Bombay Shirt Company, agrees, “More and more people are becoming aware of bespoke clothing and getting impressed by the outcome of it. Bespoke clothing makes an individual look sharp and comfortable. As time is ticking, we can see a wide number of audiences opting for it.”The acceptance and popularity of bespoke garments is fundamentally growing with market shifting to customized tailoring segment which is ultimately narrowing the price difference between the two. “From business point of view, this is the right time for brands to enter the bespoke category. People today demand a sense of ownership in their garments and pride in wearing something that is made from scratch to suit their personal style. There is a lot of good times for bespoke brands in India as we move ahead,” maintains Akshat Singh, Co-Founder, Mr Button.

Evolution of Bespoke Clothing Segment

With its exquisite detail and luxurious fabrics, bespoke clothing was once reserved only for wealthy style connoisseurs but today, it is becoming a growing trend among professional men with rising awareness. Quateel Ahmad, Mentor, Bespocut, apprises, “Despite the advent of readymade garment brands, fashion conscious, quality conscious and style conscious people always preferred to have tailored clothing which gave them greater control over what they wore. Bespoke clothing emerged keeping the cognoscenti in mind. Today it is making a strong comeback and the wheel is turning in favour of the segment.”While this market is witnessing a huge surge, it hasn’t become a national phenomenon yet. The nature of bespoke business is that it needs a lot of personalized attention which definitely requires scaling of business and scaling a bespoke business is a challenging task as the business needs a robust training program, which is another roadblock in the industry.RohanKhattar, Co-Founder, Minizmo, maintains, “I am not sure if any apparel was a national phenomenon at any point.Over time, this segment is going to grow and if its available at a competitive price, people will be attracted towards it because no readymade garment with standard fit can overpower the charm ofpersonalized fit and design that bespoke offers.” Meanwhile, Ahmad also opines that tailoring has always been a national phenomenon in India and “it was not the lack of demand but the shortage of skilled labour that has caused more people to opt for readymade clothing”.

The Potential of the Segment

Although the bespoke clothing segment is mostly unorganized, it has a huge potential waiting to be tapped. Globally, the concept of bespoke is commonly understood as dominated by menswear unlike the kids and women categories which is either not a sound value proposition or is too fragmented for organized players. Quateel Ahmad asserts, “Bespoke services in women’s segment is definitely a market that is worth tapping especially in India, as there are many women working in environments where western wear is the norm and they have to make do with either very expensive brands or with fast fashion brands that do not have the permanence of class with them.” There is a big gap in the market for women’s custom clothing and this will evolve with time. According to RohanKhattar, “women are not very brand loyal and tend to switch over a lot”, but if bespoke brands enter the category offering the right fit, this will prove to be a much larger market than men’s.

Furthermore, the luxury quotient of the segment also requires luxurious experience in terms of store ambience and service. RohanKhattar says, “An experience centre works best in this category. A technology driven store also helps in keeping the customer engaged and going.  I think there is no specific size for the store that makes a mark but it totally depends on what kind of experience one wants to give to the customers.”Even as most made to measure and bespoke boutiques and brands are limited to metropolitan cities, believing that there is not much potential in smaller cities is a misconception. “There is a huge demand of made to measure garments in tier-II cities as well. We are planning on entering this market very soon.These regions are fairly new to the trend and are slowly absorbing it with time,” apprises Akshat Singh.

Going Forward

Moving ahead, bespoke clothing will become a rage soon with more and more people opting for cleaner, custom- made clothing rather than ready to wear garments. “With technology, mass customisation and bespoke creation will be more sophisticated and this will speed up the evolution of the customer preferences in favour of bespoke. We have seen garment retailers, designers and tailors offer bespoke clothing and accessories and it will remain a mainstay in our country especially for elaborate occasions like weddings,” informs Quateel Ahmad. Also, Indian men today have a lot of disposable income in their hands and a distinct taste of style which is ultimately attracting them towards bespoke clothing, thereby giving further boost to the category.

 

 

 

 

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McDonald's to recycle cooking oil to run its delivery trucks
McDonald's to recycle cooking oil to run its delivery trucks
 

New Delhi: Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd, (HRPL) the master franchisee for McDonald’s in west and south India is now powering all its delivery trucks in Mumbai with biodiesel made from its used cooking oil. The Company started this as a pilot last year and now has scaled it up to cover all 85 restaurants in Mumbai. Today, it is converting more than 35,000 litres of used cooking oil every month into biodiesel, said the company in a press statement today.  

As per the company, Biodiesel made from used cooking oil is a cleaner fuel with 75% lower carbon emissions than diesel over its entire life cycle. It is an eco-friendly fuel that helps limit global warming, it said.

Here’s how it works:

The process of conversion begins at the restaurant where the team from the distribution center collects used cooking oil. The collected oil is then taken to the converting facility in tankers. Here, the oil is converted into bio-diesel and sent back to the distribution centre. It is then used in dedicated refrigerated trucks for McDonald’s supply logistics in Mumbai.

“We strongly believe in protecting our environment and that makes sustainability and conservation an important part of our operations in India. Today, we are happy to announce this industry-leading initiative towards sustainability by converting our used oil into biodiesel for distribution of supplies at our restaurants. This is just the beginning and we will continue to champion the cause of environment protection in the years to come. We are grateful to our suppliers who have closely worked with us to improve the economic, ethical, and environmental impact of our supply chain,” said Amit Jatia, Vice Chairman, Westlife Development Ltd.

Over the next 4 years, HRPL is looking at expanding its restaurant footprint to 450-500. What this essentially means is using about 15 lakh litres of used oil to make biodiesel for running its refrigerated delivery trucks. That’s a reduction of over 4,000 MT of carbon emissions equal to planting about 2 lakh trees.

“We are delighted to know that Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd (HRPL) has become the first restaurant chain in the country to implement sustainable Biodiesel by successfully recycling its Used Cooking Oil. HRPL & Unicon Biofuels has been working for the past one year to convert Used Cooking Oil to Biodiesel as per Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The Biodiesel Association of India (BDAI) encourages all food companies to learn from this initiative and apply it in their own business model.”

The Company got the opportunity to present its Biodiesel initiative to the industry regulator-the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India(FSSAI), officials from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India, State Biofuel Development Boards of various states, oil PSUs (Public Sector Undertakings), major food companies and industry bodies and associations like the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), All India Food Processors’ Association (AIFPA) and  NASVI (the National Street Vendors Association of India).

 

 

 

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Consumer to business- the future of AI in manufacturing sector
Consumer to business- the future of AI in manufacturing sector
 

Imagine this – a smartphone made as per your specifications, according to the likes of your length, colour and size, built to suit the needs of your work. Sounds like a dream phone? In less than a decade, this could be a reality for many millennials. Exploring how Artificial Intelligence (AI) could serve the services industry, industry experts gave a glimpse of the future during the India Innovation Summit in Bengaluru.

“The manufacturing sector is roughly estimated at $300 billion and our aim is to make it a $1 trillion sector by 2025. While for some unknown reasons this sector has been largely untouched by technology, the future of manufacturing sector will be driven by technology,” said Rahul Garg,CEO, Moglix.

Further, shedding light on customer expectations had changed, he observed, “Earlier, an automobile company changed the designs of its cars every four or five years, now a customer wants a new design every 15 months. That’s roughly 10,000 odd products that have to be fixed and put together and the time to do that is just 15 months. With technology, customer expectations have increased and manufacturing companies have to fall back on technology to meet this demand.”

Driving the future

In meeting the customer expectations, Garg, recalls, “Earlier, most of the manufacturing industries worked as B2B and later evolved to even B2C. However, the future lies in C2B, that is, consumer to business where the consumer will decide what the company has to make. Based on the expectations and feedback of the consumer, companies will make products. The supreme importance, however, will be on personalization as with evolving technology, more and more consumers will demand only personalized products.”

How AI will make a difference?

According to PwC, through machine learning and analytics will improve predictive maintenance and it is estimated that there will be as much as 38 per cent increase in the next five years. Also, with many manufacturers heavily investing on Internet of Things (IoT) to create new products and services, production costs over the long term will drastically reduce.

In global predictions too, it is estimated that machine learning will reduce supply chain forecasting errors by 50 per cent and reduce loss by 65 per cent with better product availability.Supply chains are the heart of manufacturing business. Machine learning is predicted to reduce costs related to transport and warehousing and supply chain administration by 5 to 10 per cent and 25 to 40 per cent respectively. Due to machine learning, overall inventory reductions of 20 to 50 per cent are possible,” a survey predicts.

Besides, experts feel that there will be a paradigm shift towards autonomous intelligence where machines can make recommendations that are fit to follow and will be fool-proof. Moreover, with the use of AI and big data, experts feel that tech intervention can be seen in every aspect of humans starting from weather prediction to healthcare and even diagnosing different kinds of ailments.

 

 

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How Indian grocery business is becoming big?
How Indian grocery business is becoming big?
 

The grocery business in India is distinctive in many ways, primarily due to the diversity of consumers and the unique distribution models of the retail sector. From mom and pop stores to giant supermarkets to online grocery stores, the grocery business in India operates across channels. However, most of India's grocery business happens through the unorganized sector, which mainly comprises of small stores, also known as kiranas. There are over 12 million small stores in India and account for over 90% share of the Indian F&G market, which is predicted to reach USD 810 Billion by 2020.

Indians have traditionally relied on mom and pop stores for their monthly food & grocery needs. These stores have a personal connection with their customers and are well versed in customer preferences, which in turn enables them to stock locally relevant products. Indians prefer buying their monthly supplies from these local stores for various reasons such as proximity, availability of credit, and the option to return/exchange products.

The Bigger Picture

Globally, India is the sixth-largest grocery market and has a humongous potential for growth due to the rising population as well as disposable incomes. The Indian grocery market, which accounts for 69% of India's total retail market, offers plenty of opportunities to retailers. Many retail players have tried tapping into this potential without substantial results. The local kirana is still the epicenter of Indian grocery business with 90% of distribution under its belt. Even as retail giants battle against each other to become the consumer's habit when it comes to buying grocery, the small stores have held their ground.

The Rise of E-grocery:

However, with rising disposable incomes and internet penetration, the eGrocery market is expected to grow by leaps and bounds in the near future. The eGrocery market size, which was worth USD 0.69 billion in 2017, is projected to grow to 16 billion by 2020; translating to a staggering of 148% CAGR. The fact that India is home to the youngest population in the world (avg. age - 27.6 yrs) plays a major role in the predicted shift in the Indian grocery market. Equipped with disposable incomes and smartphones, young consumers are internet savvy and prefer ordering their grocery online, given their busy lifestyle. This change has majorly contributed towards creating a dynamic market environment in India and has opened up opportunities for the organized e-retail players.

The Challenges:

The poor logistics system in India is the biggest barrier to the growth of e-commerce in the F&G sector. E-grocery players need to work in tandem with small stores to succeed. However, the two major business models in online space - inventory led and aggregator based - which are being used to capture the US$ 810 Billion Indian market by 2020, haven't been able to include the small stores in the organized sector. This can be attributed to the fact that these stores suffer from inefficient inventory management, lack of product variety, a high cost of procurement, and haven't adopted new technology, which limits their participation in aggregator based e-Grocery models.

On the consumer front, eCommerce players haven't been able to replicate the personalized service provided by the traditional mom and pop stores. In order to fill these gaps, Planet11 is tapping into the vast potential of the unorganized food and grocery sector. Instead of sticking to pure-play e-commerce, we have adopted the Online to Offline (O2O) format to leverage existing kirana stores and create a win-win platform by working closely with small store owners.

Bengaluru - the perfect testing ground:

Bengaluru is home to diverse demographics (which includes 10% of expats), large white-collar workforce, tech-savvy consumers. These factors, combined with the well-established start-up ecosystem, make the city an ideal testing ground for e-retail. When I visited Bengaluru back in 2014 on an assignment, I was captivated by the startup drive that I found in every nook and corner of the city. The opportunities and challenges that Bengaluru offered to the e-retail sector inspired me to conceived Kirana11, an O2O eGrocery platform that leverages the offline presence of local stores in an area to meet the emerging consumers' needs.

Bengaluru is a cross-section of the true urban India. The city is a perfect testing ground owing to its cosmopolitan nature. Being the 3rd most populous city and 5th most populous urban agglomeration in India, Bengaluru holds a large market share while offering unparalleled retail penetration. What can be a better place to try out innovative eGrocery formats than Bengaluru?

To sum it up, the emergence of internet connectivity, multiple payment options and popularity of smart devices, combined with the growing demand for convenience by the young Indians, has created a sound base for the rise of eGrocery in India. However, given the logistics and SCM challenges faced by the grocery segment in India, the O2O business model is the next big thing in the Indian grocery business.

The article has been penned down by Nakkyun Chong, CEO, Korean Expat

 

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ORRA enters 1.6 trillion wedding market
ORRA enters 1.6 trillion wedding market
 

New Delhi: ORRA, India’s diamond Jewellery brand forays into the bridal segment with a new line of bridal diamond Jewellery.

While weddings have and will continue to be the strongest driver of jewellery sales in the country, ORRA has now taken an aggressive stance towards giving a larger share to bridal diamond jewellery within this segment, the company said.

As per ORRA, the brand has also introduced competitive price points for its collections starting at Rs. 2 lakh for larger sets.

“ORRA has taken a focused approach to its Diamond Bridal segment. This path has been chosen after through research in understanding new India’s growing appetite for jewellery that can be worn beyond the locker. Diamond jewellery has therefore been able to lend a touch of unspoken sophistication to every woman’s wardrobe and ORRA wishes to be the forerunner in helping her make her choice for her special day with the best diamonds. We have therefore launched exquisite designs at competitive price points,” said Vijay Jain, CEO, ORRA.

The new bridal collection is available across all ORRA’s 34 stores. Further, ORRA has introduced offers including Rs. 50,000/- flat off on purchase of diamond jewellery worth Rs. 2.5 lakh and above to all customers.
ORRA has 5 global design centres in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Antwerp, Mumbai and New York.

 

 

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How safe is your personal data in public domains?
How safe is your personal data in public domains?
 

From the size of your shoe to the book you would like to read, retailers have mammoth-sized information on customers. Big Data has been a key enabler of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and it is believed that AI will drive the future innovations in the country. But how safe is the information you are sharing and who’s protecting the data? There’s need for better data privacy regulations in India, finds out Shwetha Satyanarayan.

“Technology is moving faster than the data privacy regulations framed in the country, right?” observes DebartiSen, MD of innovative solutions provider 3M India. “And it’s only natural, privacy will pose a challenge,” she says.

For a country that has over 200 million online consumers, who share personal data that starts from mobile numbers to postal address and goes up till bank details, protecting the data of these consumers is no small feat.

However, unlike the European Union which has recently enforced the General Data Protection Regualtion (GDPR), India has no stringent laws to protect the data of the consumers and safeguard their interests. Under the GDPR, an individual’s personal data is within her control, including how her data is collected, stored, processed, shared or exported, and how long it is retained for. 

While Indian online consumers have no say in how their personal data is being used and distributed, as per the Annual Consumer Survey on Data Privacy in India 2018, millennials and decision makers are the most concerned customers who often worry about their personal data being shared in public domains. While the survey found out that 45 per cent of millennials have trust deficit in sharing personal data in e-commerce websites, a big share of 54 per cent decision makers too said they did not trust that their personal data was safe in public domains.

Industry experts in India have time and again stressed the need to strengthen data protection laws. The present IT Act 2000 does not have any stringent laws to protect data and merely contains a provision regarding cyber and related IT laws in India. When AI wholly depends on big data and at a time when AI is expected to be the key enabler of future innovations, it’s time that the policymakers give importance to data protection, observe the industry experts.

For instance, a classic case of how AI could go wrong was the recent episode of Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa recording a private family conversation in Portland and sharing it with a random number in the contact list. While this was a security breach, there a few laws to regulate how firms can be held accountable in such scenarios. With AI driving everything from voice assistants to chatbots, there are surprisingly very few laws that make the companies accountable.  

Commenting on the need for better data privacy regulations, venture capitalist and Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalkrishnan, says, “There is an urgent need to bring a balance between the protection of data and safeguarding the interests of a consumer. There’s a lot of data available with companies but there is no guarantee that the data is being used in the right way for the right purpose. Companies have tojoin hands with law-makers and the government, and the purpose has to be taken at a national level.”

Suggesting that perfecting the balance between privacy and innovation is the key to develop the AI ecosystem in India, Sen observes that AI innovations will not only be serving the country but Indian innovations will make a difference globally too and hence companies here have to partner with global firms to form better stringent laws.

“We have to engage data protection regulator and make both the industries and government accountable. There should be strict laws against unjustified surveillance and industries should guide the policymakers on framing the right laws,” Sen says.

She suggests that India should follow the footsteps of EU and should soon adopt data privacy laws that are equivalent to GDPR.

 

 

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Top 10 innovative online retail concepts which went offline
Top 10 innovative online retail concepts which went offline
 

With the growing influence of online retail; expanding through offline retail seems to be a tough call. However, if we look at industry data online sales still constitutes only 11.9% of the global retail market. Remaining 82.5% of sales are still happening via offline channel. And, we are not the only one who can see this trend, there are many brands (also the unique concepts) who have made a shift from online to offline in order to churn growth. Let’s shed light upon those brands..

1- Everlane

When the brand was started its CEO Michael Preysman has gone on record stating that he would rather shut down the company than introduce brick-and-mortar stores. Fast forward a number of years and the brand has taken the leap to physical. The unique aspect of Everlane’s store is the fact that it designed its own POS system that connects a visitor’s online profile with their in-store shopping.

 2-Missguided

Founded by Nitin Passi, Missguided is a UK-based multi-channel retailer selling clothes aimed at 16-35 year old women. Though the company was started in 2009, but it moves to brick and mortar retail with a Selfridges concession.

The brand had already garnered a huge fan following online. The offline foray was an initiative to create further engagement with its existing customer base. Missguided stores are enabled with digital screens and seasonal installations offerings Instagram opportunity to its patrons.  

 3-ADAY

The brand’s USP lies in its conscious designs. The brand is known for sustainable and season less fashion lines. To further ease the customers the brand opted to go offline from its sole online presence. However, the offline stores of the brand can be visited by appointment only. With the offline foray the brand wish to focus on personalization aspect.

4-Glossier

Glossier was started as a beauty blog which later transformed into immensely popular online brand. Glossier is a prime example of an online retailer doing well going offline primarily to  drive engagement, it invites customers to its stores to engage with the brand on every level, from testing the products IRL to making it as ready for the ‘gram as possible.

5-Casper

Casper has shaken up the mattress market. If there’s anything mattress-retailer Casper has done, it’s shown us that, no matter how big they might be and how much we might want to jump on them, mattresses can be bought successfully online. It was last year only when company had announced the plans to launch 15 new pop-up showrooms across London, Los Angeles, and New York.

6-Madison Reed

Madison Reed is a hair color company which offer its products based on on questionnaires and algorithms, the business model of the brand is well suited to the online environment. However, the company is pushing for omni channel expansion with recent $25m worth of funding. The company is pushing its omnichannel presence to offline with the introduction of Colour Bars, wherein customers can receive colour services and consultations with professional colourists.

7- Matchesfashion.com

MATCHESFASHION.COM is the modern luxury shopping destination targeted to  global fashion customer. The brand expanded from online to offline with the opening of its London Townhouse retail concept. While traffic and sales are driven by the brand’s multiple online touchpoints, the townhouse becomes a new touchpoint brimming with installations, talks, dinners and, of course, products.

8- Allbirds

San Francisco-based Allbirds is a startup aimed at designing environmentally friendly footwear. Allbirds first shoe was the Wool Runner, which is made from New Zealand superfine merino wool. The company claims to keep the brand as eco-friendly as possible and is a certified B Corporation. In March 2018, the company started offering their footwear with eucalyptus tree fiber.

The company was started as the online retailer and after establishing a successful online selling space for shoes, Allbirds decided to go offline. As part of that decision you’re promised some sort of real interaction with a human being and, if you’re feeling brave enough, can play hamster with the shoes on the brand’s human-size running wheel.

9- Bonobos

This menswear brand was primarily launched in the online space in 2007, the brand has just made its offline foray via launching Guideshops. With this offline foray the brand is delivering unique experience to its patrons by offering one-on-one experiences wherein customers are guided through the fitting and buying process before items are shipped directly to their door steps.

10- Man Repeller

Started by American author, blogger, and humor writer Leandra Medine who is an expert in utilising online channels to share content. Last year, however, she decided to translate that social vision to a physical pop-up. Set in New York City’s Canal Street Market, the space went beyond just selling Man Repeller products to be a place that invited visitors to ‘come and use our wifi, charge your phone, or just sit and hang out and read books’ in a library curated by Housing Works.


 


 

 

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Why the dairy beverage has a billion dollar market in India
Why the dairy beverage has a billion dollar market in India
 

Although Indians’ palates have a liking for variety, milk is a staple that has takers from a toddler to a senior citizen. However, with millennials mostly choosing healthy snacks over junk, milk has been underserved as a functional drink. Trying to give a makeover to this ancient food, retailers like Amul, KMF and some startups like Goodness! are changing the way the dairy beverage serves the young consumers, writes Shwetha Satyanarayan

“Milk is mostly considered as a kid’s drink and we want to change the way millennials consume milk,” says Lakshmi Dasaka, co-founder of dairy beverage Goodness! The Bengaluru based startup has over 1 lakh loyal consumers who depend on an Oats smoothie or a flavoured yogurt when think of snacking something healthy. “Goodness! is a functional drink and not just a health drink,” reminds Lakshmi. 

Whether at home or out of home, dairy beverages have traditionally been a large part of Indian households. From a lassi to falovoured buttermilk, dairy beverages are available in many sizes, shapes and packets. However, only 22% of the milk and dairy products consumed in India are in branded form, while branded dairy based beverages form a market size of Rs 1,280 cr growing at 30 per cent annually (as per 2016 reports). 

“It is one of the fastest growing beverage segments in Indian market and is likely to become a billion-dollar (Rs 6000+ Cr) market by FY21 with three major categories – flavoured milk, chaas and lasi and functional yogurt drinks. Flavoured milk dominates the segment contributing 60 per cent (in value) to the branded dairy beverages segment,” says a consumer and retail study by Tata.

While brands like Cavins, Amul and even KMF are tapping the market with new products, the milk-based product segment is mostly underserved when compared to global counterparts, observes Lakshmi. “Although the new age consumer has evolved and his preferences are well-researched as they are connected to the global market in real time basis, there are only handful players in domestic market, while for example in the brewed cold coffee segment alone there could be some 50 other players in the USA,” she says.

New age brands like Keventers or Frozen Bottle may have entered the market aggressively and focusing on pan-India expansion, but they are indulgent drinks which may not appeal to the calorie-conscious consumer.

“There is huge shift in the trend the way a consumer wants to drink a milk-based product and keeping in tandem with the trend, we are eliminating sugar from all our products,” she says. Interestingly, Goodness! was also the only Indian finalist in the World Dairy innovations Award 2018. Its Oats smoothie won appreciation for innovation.

Changing consumer needs

So what does the millennial consumer expect when buying a dairy beverage? “Convenience, branding and natural,” the consumer and retail report suggests. “Consumers want something healthy and at the same time it should not take away most of their time in preparation of the drink. Also, they want branded drinks for on-the-go consumption instead of unhygienic, unbranded products. Meanwhile, milk is considered a healthy drink and all natural products like milk have the potential to appeal to the young consumer, who doesn’t prefer added sugars or artificial products,” it says.

Tapping new platforms

In a bid to be available at all times and everywhere even if a consumer can’t walk up to a supermarket to pick up a bottle of the drink, Goodness! has partnered with Swiggy to deliver their drink within 30 or 40 minutes duration. “We want to be an intersection of health and convenience. Further, we will also tap the impulse purchase market by being available in play arenas, multiplexes, airports and even work places and schools,” Lakshmi says.

Further, the report also predicts that there is market for such products in tier II cities and rural areas but new innovative packaging methods and new products can increase the demand for such products.

 

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Fashion rental catching up pace
Fashion rental catching up pace
 

By: Jyotsna Singh

New DelhI; Buying designer clothes for a fortune and not being able to wear them again always feels like a waste of money. For some, wearing a Sabyasachi or a Manish Malhotra designed bridal lehenga was an impossible dream. However, years ago, entrepreneurs like, Shilpa Bhatia and Neeraj Wadhera from The Clothing Rental and Wrapd respectively, identified this space in the market and started their own fashion rental businesses from different parts of the country. These businesses provide premium fashion apparel at a rent of 10%-15% of the retail price.

Globally, online clothing rental market size is estimated to reach $1,856 million by 2023 and growing at a CAGR of 10.6% from 2017 to 2023, says a report by Allied Market Research.  The industry is estimated to grow at an even faster rate in India. “India is an immense market; it's a diamond mine waiting to explode. The Indian wear is targeted for the bridal industry, that market size is 100,000 crores. Menswear market is stated to grow 9% per annum and reach 1,76,000 crores by 2020,” says Shilpa Bhatia, the founder of The Clothing Rental.

Demographics of the consumer

This spurt in growth can be attributed to more and more millennials joining the workforce with an increasing disposable income to spend on premium products. The market has seen a surge in business over the last few years with more than a dozen start-ups making entry into the industry. Neeraj defines consumers of Wrapd, as “not just fashion forward but people looking for optimal options. They want to save money, time, storage and maintenance headaches.” 

Product procurement

Obtaining varied styles from different designers to cater to a fashion forward consumer base is one of the difficult parts of this industry. Staying up to date with the fashion world, understanding the current demand and predicting the future trends only make up the tip of the iceberg. According to Shilpa, it is her prior experience in the industry and a vast network of contacts that has helped her. “I find out about designer’s portfolio, and urge them to provide clothes that I like at reasonable discounts. I also follow brands from around the world, and source directly from them when required.” She also pointed that India run a little behind on global trends. But she follows the international trends closely, buys clothes accordingly and waits for the demand to pick up here.

Environment friendly

The rental business is not just economical but also promotes clothing utilization. A report by Ellen MacArthur Foundation last year found, “An estimated $500 billion value is lost every year due to clothing that's barely worn and rarely recycled. And the average number of times a garment is worn before it ceases to be used—has decreased by 36 percent compared to 15 years ago.

Growth prospects

The business of fashion rental is not looking to become a substitute for apparel retail business. It wants to establish a new and separate market that has better offerings. However, when asked about the potential of the industry Neeraj claims that fashion rental will take over fashion retail brands in India in the coming years. While Shilpa thinks rental and shared economy is the future trend and would soon be expanding The Clothing Rental to US, UK and China.

 

  

 

 

 

 

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The next phase of White Revolution is here
The next phase of White Revolution is here
 

New Delhi: Lately the grocery segment and more precisely delivering milk at everyone’s doorstep as a business opportunity has been creating a lot of interest among the likes of Future Group, Amazon and Flipkart. The latter is testing the potential at its home-turf though.

According to a leading media report, Future Group may announce its plan to start hyper-local milk-delivery in all metro cities soon. The Group plans to test water to see how this model works initially and later on may add other products including vegetables, fruits, and grocery. The report said Biyani calculated as if the model works, it will add Rs 20 lakh revenue per Future Group retail store, per month.

Also, we have seen e-commerce giant Amazon to rebrand its grocery service Amazon Now to Prime Now. Clearly, it makes sense for Amazon to capture the consumers who have evolved in ordering milk and bread online.

“Speed of delivery and convenience is of prime importance to customers especially when it is to do with grocery items. We are scaling up and investing in our infrastructure and delivery network, so that we can increase our speed of delivery and provide a superior experience to customers, including those shopping on Prime Now,” said Sameer Khetarpal, Director, Category Management (Grocery), Amazon India.

To carry forward this agenda, Amazon already launched a specialized network of 15 dedicated Fulfilment Centres (FC) for Prime Now to increase the speed of delivery and provide a better experience. These fulfillment centers are equipped with temperature-controlled zones, a first for Amazon in India to store and deliver perishable products such as fruits & vegetables (F&V), dairy products, chilled & frozen products.

Another brand, Keventers too has joined the bandwagon by expanding its product portfolio with the launch of The Milk Co which is a mobile application based premium milk delivery service across Delhi/NCR. With the addition of The Milk Co., Keventers is also aiming to produce and deliver up to 20,000 litres of milk per day by the end of this year. The Milk Co. by Keventers will be a wholly owned subsidiary of the brand and will be run and managed by the team internally. The company said, with the launch of this vertical, Keventers is keen to capture 20% of the premium milk market in Delhi/NCR and to become one of the leading players in the segment by end of this financial year.

The Keventers premium milk will currently be available only in Delhi/NCR with plans of expanding to other states as well in the coming years.

According to Keventers, once packaged, the premium milk will be delivered to consumers within a timeframe of 9 hours by an expert line of runners, maintaining purity and freshness of the product.

“The dairy industry in India is one the fastest growing segments and has been witnessing a consistent growth rate of 6-8% annually. With this new app-based milk delivery service, customers across Delhi/NCR will now have access to pure, unadulterated and nutritious premium milk right at their doorstep” said Aman Arora, Managing Director, Keventers.

As per Arora, India is a significant contributor of dairy products and the country’s per capita consumption has been witnessing a steady growth. Increased awareness about quality products, rise in disposable incomes, increasing urbanisation and changing consumer lifestyles is driving rapid expansion in the segments.

Presently Keventers has over 250+ outlets across the country in cities like Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Goa among other. The brand is on its way to opening more outlets across India as well as overseas.

Areas to look after

However, the online milk-retailers will have to bear warehouse operational cost. Specifically, labor cost of picking and packing orders where kirana shops and supermarkets don’t fall into. In supermarket or kirana stores, we consumers go and pick our preferred milk pack.  

Another area to optimize resources is delivery. As per industry experts, even after optimised route planning, every delivery to a household costs is Rs. 50-60 to your e-grocer. This includes the salary of delivery boys and fuel costs.

Moreover, there is constant pressure to be competitive with supermarket and kirana store prices.

Good part is that these challenges can be sailed through. As Amazon.com has put in a practice to customize delivery by robots in several Amazon warehouses. Likewise, logistics costs go down as order density (number of orders per square kilometer) increases.

Keventers said since it has a subscription based model it is already aware of the deliveries for the next day in advance which gives it the freedom to produce and pack only the milk which is scheduled for delivery the next day.

“Although we will keep some buffer stock to counter any unforeseen incidents, damages etc. but we ensure 100% deliveries to customers. Milk being a highly perishable product if not being managed intelligently might land you in heavy inventory losses therefore our backend system has been designed to effectively counter such challenges,” added Arora.

 

 

 

 

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85 new malls to open in India in next 5 years
85 new malls to open in India in next 5 years
 

Anuj Kejriwal, MD & CEO - ANAROCK Retail

There is so much talk of the death of brick-and-mortar retail as a consequence of the aggressive advent of e-commerce into the country, when the fact is that shopping malls have just got started in India - and they are definitely here to stay. As developers learn through trial and error and come up with more winning formulas for their malls, and as a retailer get more into omnichannel selling, we will see the Great Indian Mall revolution spin into its next cycle of evolution.

Why the Indian Mall Story Rocks

Unlike 'couch potato' e-commerce shopping, malls offer an experience... a touch-and-feel benefit which online shopping cannot. Also, going to a mall becomes an outing for the family and friends, often coupled with a meal at the food court and a movie at the cineplex. All this in air-conditioned comfort, escalators and lifts connecting everything to the parking below, and scrupulously cleaned sanitary facilities at all levels. The massive Indian middle class loves this experience and online retail is unlikely to put malls in the shade in India anytime soon.

The Impact of E-commerce

This is not to say that e-commerce has not had an impact. Definitely, Indians who know how to navigate the online world (and they are quite a lot - about 300 million Indians use the Internet today) may not go to a mall if they need just a few things and for which they can wait a few days. The commute to and from a mall is an important factor considering that going to the car park and waiting for your turn to take the elevator is a daunting task, and it is definitely not worth it just for picking up a handful of non-critical items. However, Indians are also quite open to deferring smaller purchases for the weekends, when they can couple the shopping with other activities which a mall can offer.

No doubt, online shopping portals offer more variety and deeper discounts. However, it is generally known that the deep discount ethos will eventually go the way of the dinosaur. These portals have been investing heavily into garnering a loyal customer base, and margins have been thin at best.

In the end, it is evident that both online shopping and physical retail will continue to coexist in India, without impacting each other too much. In the West, online retail has proved to be a major disruptor for physical retail - especially given the fact that there is no dearth of things for families to do on weekends.

As a result, visiting a mall ranks much lower on the general population's priority list. In India, our cities have developed haphazardly, open spaces are vanishing and public transport is often shaky and unreliable. In such a scenario, a visit to a clean, visually vibrant and centrally air-conditioned mall is a major attraction.

A Growing Spread

Cities that have seen maximum malls include Gurgaon, Noida, Greater Noida and Delhi in NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Pune. Over the next 5 years, nearly 85 malls are expected to come up in India, and more than 30 new malls accounting for nearly 14 million sq. ft. area are expected to open just in the top eight cities by 2020.

Low vacancy levels and high rentals in Tier I cities are now also paving the way for retail expansion in tier II cities like Lucknow, Coimbatore, Chandigarh, Mangalore and Ahmedabad, to name a few. In fact, sensing immense opportunities and easy penetration into the Indian retail diaspora, overseas retailers are now expanding not just in metros but even tier 2 cities namely Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Lucknow and Jaipur. This has led to mushrooming of malls all across the country.

We are definitely NOT looking at a deathbed scenario here - as a matter of fact, just the opposite. However, like every other real estate vertical in India, retail has also had to evolve with the times in order to retain its allure.

Diversification - the Mixed-use Mantra

It has become increasingly evident that no mall in India today can depend solely on shopping as its prime source of revenue-generation and footfalls. Developers have understood that they need to transform their malls into community spaces to stay relevant to today's far more discerning customers. Besides seeking a holistic shopping experience, consumers want to be comfortable and have something that inspires them to stay longer and, more essentially, persuades them to return.

This has led to a constant effort by Indian mall operators to provide the required specialized experience. Thus, most malls are striving to become prominent ‘shoppertainment’ locations. Today’s top-performing shopping malls are mixed-use businesses that incorporate social entertainment options, provide unique appeal along with certain depth in the shopping experience, and are in prime locations that are easily accessible by both public and private transport.

Size DOES Matter

Since large malls are better able to incorporate all the features required for successful operations, they tend to do better than the smaller ones. For instance, the footfalls in Total Mall at Sarjapur Road in Bangalore are far less than Phoenix Market City in Whitefield area. The latter is much larger and provides a complete ‘experience’ including shopping, entertainment, restaurants, movies etc. In contrast, the former is a smaller mall with just a few retail outlets and minimum entertainment facilities.

Reinvented Malls - What Lies Beneath?

Despite the incessant consumer appetite for malls in India, many malls did not work out. This can happen for a variety of reasons – the wrong location lacking public transport access, insufficient or unscientific parking arrangements, lack of research for what kind of retailers will work in a given micro-market (leading to an unsuitable tenant mix), lack of a food court, etc.

Strata-ownership of shops was also a major issue in many of the failed malls, as this invariably meant that the mall did not have the benefit of centrally paid-for professional mall management services. This results in the poor upkeep of facilities, no promotional activities to drive footfalls, and no professional advisory services on how the mall should be tenanted - or, if necessary, reinvented.

In fact, many malls that have failed to perform as per expectations over the years have either been converted into commercial office spaces or even been developed into residential buildings. Some classic examples include Ansal Plaza in Delhi which has been converted into more of a commercial complex, while Jewel Square, Kakade Centre Port and East Court in Pune have also been converted into office spaces. Malls such as Nirmal Lifestyles, Mumbai are being 'reborn' as residential buildings.

Endless Evolution

It is more than evident that the Indian retail industry has been on a steep unlearning/learning curve. This process is by no means complete, and in fact will never be complete. The retail scene in India, as well as the rest of the world, is changing far too rapidly for players to become complacent. What works today may not work five years from now.

In other words, the process of evolution for the retail industry is a constant work-in-progress - and yes, there will always be winners and losers. However, given the rapid pace of adaptation we are seeing today, it is more than likely that ten years from now, there will be far more winners than losers. Shopping malls are simply to cost-intensive to warrant adventurous experimentation and risk-taking. At any given time, only the tried-and-tested models will actually work.

 

 

 

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Men's grooming becomes a hot biz opportunity
Men's grooming becomes a hot biz opportunity
 

The male grooming industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 45 per cent to touch Rs 35,000 crore in the next three years, as per an Assocham report. While the segment has been largely untapped, start-ups like Bombay Shaving Company is eyeing 8 per cent market share in the industry. In a conversation with Indian Retailer, Bombay Shaving Company Founder and CEO Shantanu Deshpande tells why building a brand is a challenge and how they plan to make Bombay Shaving Co a Rs 1000 crore brand.  

Most often, it’s not common knowledge that men in India are buying skincare or grooming products worth Rs 25,000 crore, while the market only offers exclusive men-only products worth about Rs 10,000 crore. So what are men doing to keep their faces and hair clean?

“More often than not, they end up buying a Liril or a Santoor, or any other product that the women in their houses use,” says Deshpande.

For decades,cosmetic brands in India never saw the need to make men-only products for Indian men. Although nearly Rs 70,000 crore worth cosmetics including skin, hair care and other grooming products are available in India, a lion share of them concentrate on making products for women. It’s ironical that when the beard-care market alone is worth Rs 100 crore, there are only a handful brands catering to men’s grooming products.

Tapping the unlooked market

In June 2016, Shantanu Deshpande decided to take the plunge to become an entrepreneur and founded the luxury male grooming products start-up the Bombay Shaving Company. The journey started with the brand launching only shaving products and now has 25 products in its portfolio.

Ask Deshpande how he thought he could convince the Indian men, who were okay using women’s products to buy men-only products, and he asserts, “There was always a huge market for men’s products and men used anything that was available at home not because there was no product need, but there was product scarcity. There was a certain need to educate and coach them about men’s grooming products, and we started off with the much popular shaving products.”

Deshpande stresses that the category was largely untapped because it was mostly unlooked and neglected. With a vision to disrupt the FMCG industry and own the men’s grooming category, the start-up has carefully crafted its product designs, all curated by over 40 designer partners.

Diffusing other categories

While Bombay Shaving Company started off with launching shaving products like razors and shaving cream, in the last 18 months it has launched products in beard care, soaps, shampoos and other categories. According to Shantanu, the company is seeing 30 per cent month-on-month growth and plans to launch 150 products in the next two years, from the present 25.

Building the brand, a challenge

Is competition from other start-ups a challenge? “What competition? There’s no competition!” asserts Shantanu. “With more brands entering the market with their own products, they are only making the men’s grooming product segment bigger, which means more men will take notice of these products. Considering there’s no brand loyalty as such initially, making the segment bigger is a good sign,” he says. However, Shantanuthinks building a brand and scaling it up is challenge as it requires more time and money.

“There are multiple touch points and reaching large consumer base is always a challenge,” he says.

Explaining how it’s important to have offline presence but retailers are skeptical to have new brands on shelves, he says, “You know, it’s like a chicken-and-egg situation. Unless your product is on the shelves of a store it won’t reach a large customer base and a shopkeeper wants to have only big, familiar names in their shelves. They have questions like who will buy a product if they don’t know the brand and such things, and scaling up and having wider distribution is always a challenge.”

Taking the offline route

Bombay Shaving Company is looking at different ways to increase its offline presence, but will mostly stick to modern trade at locations where there are relevant high footfalls, general trade stores and salons. “At these general trade centres, we are planning to launch experiential stores where people can just walk-in, pick up the product and leave. It will be smaller outlets,” he says. With presence in 500 stores already, Shantanu says they target to be present in 5,000 stores across 13 cities by 2020.

Grabbing the market share

While the company already has 80,000 customers, the target is to make Bombay Shaving Company a Rs 1,000 crore brand and own 8 per cent of the market, says Shantanu.

Backed by solid investors

Bombay Shaving Company raised Rs 4 crore in seed rounding from a clutch of angel investors and even went on to raise Rs 14 crore last year in pre-series A round. While the company has mostly utilized the funds to build new products and has ventures into brand building initiatives, Shantanu says they are looking towards sustainable collaboration in their next level of fund raising. “We are looking at partnering with right investors who have already built FMCG products and understands our business,” he says.

 

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How online retailers are nudging users towards impulse purchases?
How online retailers are nudging users towards impulse purchases?
 

Online fashion retail is one of the biggest drivers of Indian e-commerce. Research conducted by a major ecommerce player saw the emergence of 60 million online fashion shoppers in a pool of 200 million online shoppers. The dominance of online shopping will continue to expand and is projected to grow to $14Bn by 2020.

Thanks to the prevalence of smartphones and well-designed apps, many users are continuously in fashion browsing mode. In between meetings or during their commute, people are ceaselessly searching for new designs and better deals. Fashion retailers encourage such engagement by offering flash sales, new style notifications and more. Such engagementleads to increased impulse purchases, whichin turn drives more traffic and GMV for online merchants.

When users are ready to act on their impulse, merchants have to make sure that their platforms can provide instant gratification,without any friction. By providing a smooth and superior experience consistently, merchants can build loyalty and retention. Sadly, such well-crafted experiences come undone on the checkout page. The friction and number of steps involved in paying online mean high rates of payment failure, and even higher cart abandonment rates. Whether it’s your network dropping or an OTP that’s not coming through, online retailers currently make do with extremely high drop off rates. But some merchants are solving this by borrowing from a long accepted concept in the informal economy – that of a khata.

Imagine a situation where a user reaches the checkout page, andinstead of going through a multi-step process of making a payment, the user just has to tap once to place the order. No payment failures, insufficient wallet balances or delayed OTPs to contend with. This is what platforms like Simpl enable for merchants. Simpl gives users their own digital ‘khata’. They can skip paying every time they buy. Instead, all the purchases are added up to one bill, which they can pay once in 15 days.

Online fashion merchants like Nykaa, StalkBuyLove, Fynd, The Label Life, Henry & Smith, The Bag Talk, Redesynand Purplle have already tied up with alternate payment modes like Simpl. By shortening the checkout funnel, cart conversions improve dramatically, and merchants can build loyalty with their regular users. By separating the buying from the paying, they’re giving their customers a superior experience, while allowing them to truly act on their impulses.

The article has been penned down by Chaitra Chidanand, President & Co-Founder, Simpl

 

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How the Indian fitness industry is poised for massive growth in the future?
How the Indian fitness industry is poised for massive growth in the future?
 

When we look back on the evolution of the fitness industry in India, it is fascinating to see how the demand for fitness products and services has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade. The inflection point that the sector is currently at, points towardsa lot of positive developments in the future. The advent of technology and the democratisation of information has been one of the many crucial factors that have led to the surge in consumers taking greater interest in fitness and actively seeking products and services to help them remain fit.Most products and services in the market today are geared towards providing consumers with new and exciting ways to maintain good health and well-being. While many of these people visit gyms and fitness clubs to get in better shape or gain more strength, those with thewant to become more fit and lead more active lifestyles are discovering fun, engaging, and off-beat fitness activities like Zumba, Pilates, MMA, kickboxing, aerobics, etc. On the other hand, the rise of professional sports means that fitness products and solutions focused on athletes are rising steadily in the market, indicating a substantial opportunity for some of the emerging, as well as established players in the country.

The Indian fitness industry: Rise in technology and the evolution of consumers

The fitness industry in India is largely unorganised and lacks a definite structure to differentiate between diverse product and service segments. Until a few years ago, the fitness industry was dominated by a handful of large players, be it in terms of gyms and fitness centres or even fitness equipment. But this situation is changing gradually with the entry of new small players in the market, who are leveraging technology to create and delivera gamut of services and products. Several start-ups in the fitness sector are now targeting urban consumers across various age groups to market a range of solutions depending on what they need. This includes everything from wearable fitness devices, digital platforms where people can sign up for open gym memberships, to even state-of the-art fitness equipment. With the entry of technology and digitisation in the fitness domain, the current structure of the market isin the midst of a major overhaul, making way for more consolidation in the market.

Access to fitness through the internet and smartphones has been one of the most critical factors in the surge in demand for health & fitness products and services. Mobile app-based services allow people to schedule their training and workout sessions at the gyms, and the time of day that they prefer.This level of flexibility is prompting more and more individuals to get involved in fitness despite busy schedules and at a much lower cost than they would generally pay for a conventional gym membership. There is also an increase in strength, energy and stamina that comes with working out regularly, making fitness and strength training extremely popular among young urban women and men.

The Indian fitness market: Size and Scope

At the end of FY2018, revenues in the Indianfitness market amounted to USD 908million. Further growth in the segment, expected at a CAGR of 9.3% between 2018 and 2022, is expected to take the total market value to a whopping USD 1,296 million in 2022.Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2018-2022) of 9.3 % resulting in a market volume of US$1,296m in 2022.However, a fact worth noting is that a major portion of these revenues will be driven by the consumption of fitness wearables.

Simultaneously, the number of upscale fitness centresis growingat a pace similar to the rapid rise in disposable income among consumers between the ages of 20 to 45 years old. The Indian fitness industry is also helping bring about a much-needed revolution in the country that’s triggered by the increasing number of cases of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. This is also one of the key reasons behind the sudden surge in the number of weight loss products available in the market, as well as the spike in health club and gym memberships. Spending money on gym memberships, which was earlier perceived to be a luxury, is now becoming a way of life for several people. Furthermore, there is an increasing number of people in tier 2 and tier 3 cities looking for wellness and fitness solutions, with most men opting for muscle-building training and women for cardio-vascular and strength training.

The future of fitness in India

A new corporate culture wherein companies provide fully-equipped gyms and health clubs to employees in the office is enabling many people to look at fitness in a new light– as a fun way to destress after a long day at work rather than a task that must be completed. The hospitality industry is also following the trend, with hotels in smaller cities providing gym facilities to guests. Prompted by this trend of greater demand for fitness amenities, gyms, health clubs have become almost standard features at new residential complexes that are being built, not only in metros and tier 1 cities, but in tier 2 cities as well. At the same time, there is also a greater demand among consumers for home gym equipment and services being sold through online portals and mobile apps, along with the ability to access gym trainers, fitness experts, and nutritionists etc.

Organised players, global companies, and home-grown start-ups in the fitness segment are affecting greater consolidation in the market, and giving rise to newer business models and revenue streams. The unique combination ofdigitisation and fitness is allowing Indian consumers today to enjoy easier access to convenient tech-driven services and products. Moreover, people are also increasingly becoming aware of the many merits of working out regularly, such as reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, and keeping other diseases at bay.All of this points towards a brighter future for India’s fitness industry, while enabling consumers to lead healthier lives.

The article has been penned down by  Ramesh Raja, the Founder Director at ACME Fitness

 

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How kids' accessory market is blooming?
How kids' accessory market is blooming?
 

Parents, it has been seen in the past few years, have been spending more on children, and this has opened door for the accessory market in India. After apparel range, kids’ accessory is the category that has seen the maximum growth.A lot of brands are entering into this space and offering an exclusive space that is dedicated to kids’ accessories. The accessory market depends on two things – the purchasing power of parents and the number of children in a family. As the disposable income increases, the purchasing power of parents also increases. The growth rate of the accessory market seems to increase at a much faster rate in the developed economies as compared to that of the developing nations.

In the past decade, the business targeting babies and children has experienced an economic boom. Apart from the two factors mentioned above, factors like urbanization; higher participation of women in workforce has also acted as a catalyst in the demand for kids’ accessories. It has also been seen that working parents have been buying more toys for their children to compensate for the time lost.

Earlier, raising a child did not require a specified list of items during their growing stage. With time, the whole scenario has changed and accessory has emerged as one of the leading categories kids’ items. We can also see high growth potential in kids’ furniture, nursery, amongst others.

Parents also consider a lot of factors before buying accessories for their kids’. For example, parents prefer buying toys that are bright in colour, can be easily washed, does not break, and should not have sharp edges. As infants and kids’ enjoy putting these toys in their mouth, parents prefer toys to be big enough in size and also to be made of non- toxic material. A lot of kids’ are prone to allergies/rashes, as a result of which parents are willing to pay more and buy products from a well-established brand.  While the infant toys are here to stay, we have seen a bit decline on toys segment in older kids and is replaced by sports products.

The kids’ accessories market is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 5% by the year 2020. And the market is expected to continue growing because of the increase in brand consciousness among consumers. As kids’ accessory market is at a growing stage in India, there are a lot of challenges for companies as they compete with established brands. Keeping this in mind, retailers consider product innovation as another important factor to beat the competition.The segment also forms a very important and major part of impulse purchase be it online or offline.

A major portion of kids’ accessory market is an untapped market. But, there is a huge opportunity for brands to make a mark for themselves in the untapped market.

Toiletries& Baby Feeding are an important category which nearly contributes approx. 12-15% of the baby basic market. These categories are seeing a major shift in their purchase patterns. People prefer brands and stick to it for a longer time. Brands are also investing in quality and research to make the products safe for the child. They continuously have to improvise the quality and go by the recent need of the mother. BPA free, Organic, Ayurvedic products are gaining much popularity. There has also seen a shift from plastic bottles to Glass and stainless steel bottles for kids.  Many new travel products like sterilizers, travel cookers & accessories are also gaining popularity.   Customers are willing to experiment in their trusted brands .

The article has been penned down by Sharad Venkta, MD & CEO- Toonz Retail India Pvt. Ltd.

 

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Here are top luxury goods companies by the sales
Here are top luxury goods companies by the sales
 

The luxury goods industry has undergone major changes over the past two decades. Varying economic trends, rapid digital transformation and evolving consumer preferences are creating a new competitive landscape which is challenging the traditional corporate strategies.

 

 

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How milk-subscription based businesses are exploding with growth?
How milk-subscription based businesses are exploding with growth?
 

In the month of January 2018, Doodhwala, a milk-subscription start-up had about 7000 milk subscribes. Since 2017, this number has grown by 100%. Supr Daily, yet another subscription-based micro delivery claims to complete more than one million orders till date. As per the information available on their website, so far the company has supplied over 1000 tonnes of unadulterated milk in the Mumbai alone so far. Moreover, last week, Milkbasket has risen $7 million in Series A funding led by Kalaari Capital. The company claimed to reach over 40,000 households in 180+ communities in Gurgaon.

No wonder, such exponential numbers has prompted many big retailers to try their hands in the emerging segment. As per the leading media reports, Swiggy, a food delivery aggregator may acquire Supr Daily. This acquisition (if happened) will certainly help the delivery aggregator in scaling up fast since it already has the robust supply chain of delivery guys. Swiggy was unavailable to comment by the time of filing the story.

 Moreover, Alibaba-backed BigBasket has held buyout talks with Pune-based RainCan, Gurgaon-based Milk Basket. Though, BigBasket has declined to comment on this development. Moreover, big e-retailers such as Flipkart and Amazon has already had already announced the aggressive plans to ramp up their grocery category.

So the question arises what is this subscription-based business all about, who are these companies and suddenly why are they gaining so much popularity? Why are investors so keen on them?

How does the subscription works?

Subscription-based business model is being used by newspapers and magazines for many years and recently websites also started doing this for monthly, quarterly, half yearly or annual based subscription. “Of late, many other businesses have been opting for this model too where the consumers are using few products on daily basis and in return, they offer a good discount on monthly or yearly subscription. This is a very tactical move to acquire customers for a longer period and in addition to one or two daily used products, many add-on products can be sold in this model,” said Amir Faizi, a Retail Consultant

Milk subscription is also no different, it is a simple exercise which allows you to choose your favorite brand, quantity, and frequency. You can make payment partially (let’s say after three delivery) or completely (after the month) and your chosen products will be delivered right to your door-step. So far, the milk subscription business is confined to metro cities but gaining immense popularity.

However, online dairy shopping in India is still in its early phase, as the majority still prefer the traditional way of buying fresh dairy products from nearby physical retail outlets. Hence, dairy brands could follow the hybrid model of leveraging both channels of milk distribution ensuring that they reach the consumers through all possible routes.

In an exclusive conversation with Indianretailer.com a few months back, Gaurav Haran, Chief Operating Officer, MilkLane said, “Online retailing of dairy products provides brands an alternate channel with a more targeted reach and reduced cost due to the elimination of many intermediaries between manufacturers and the retailer. It allows tapping of pre-existing subscribers and access to accurate data which can elevate marketing efforts while creating a national footprint in terms of reach.”

“The subscription has to come with a great offer for the customers, though it is still in nascent stage in coming days, all big brick and click players will start opting this to acquire customers for a longer period,” said Amir.

Also read: How milk subscription can be a profitable business?

How is this happening?

Technology is one of the biggest drivers of the shift that is happening in retail. And it’s true that subscription businesses poised to drive growth if you can strategize ahead of other retailers since this industry is still at a nascent stage. Milk subscription is a nascent business and does not have much competition in this space. However, it’s an industry that’s going to mature and reach a digitization level. So, the key to success is innovation coupled with technology and smart strategy.

Speaking on same Amir said, “In Gulf countries, many leading newspaper publications offer yearly subscription free for all customers, like they pay certain amount for annual subscription and in return the customer gets the same or higher amount of gift vouchers of big brands from the publication company, so the investment made by the customer in subscribing the newspaper is free as he or she is getting the gift voucher of the similar or higher amount.”

Investors’ hot favorite

There are some key investments which has happened in the span of last two years.

Company

Investor

Amount

Year

 

Milk basket 

Kalaari Capital along with BeeNext and existing investors

$7 million 

May 2018

 

Supr Daily

Undisclosed

 $1.5 million

June 2017

 

Doodhwala

impact venture fund Omnivore

$2.2 million 

February 2018

 

RainCan

 

 IIFL Holdings Ltd 

$ 2.7 million

July 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How Baby Accessory Market Is Booming?
How Baby Accessory Market Is Booming?
 

  Style as an aspect has become important to them. The kid's fashion segment is undergoing a revolution with kids becoming brand conscious and the increasing disposable income of the modern parents who want their child to be as fashion forward as them. Apart from clothing range, a fashion accessory is that category which is registering maximum boost. In fact, many big retailers such as The Children’s Place, Gap, Gerber Childrenswear, Ralph Lauren amongst others have exclusive space dedicated to kids’ accessories.

 A report released by Technavio estimates the global baby fashion accessories market to grow at a CAGR of more than 5% between 2016 and 2020. The report also finds out that the importance of organized retailers carrying branded baby fashion accessories and other baby products is growing with the increase in brand consciousness among consumers. Encouraged by the growth in this segment there are many start-up companies have joined the bandwagon to tap the potential from this emerging segment. For example, there are many companies such as The Baby Bro Code, Little Tags, babychakra amongst others. Since baby fashion accessory is still at a very nascent stage in India, there are many challenges for start-up companies in order to compete with established brands. Let’s shed light on the entrepreneurial journey of few.

Challenges for start-up brands

Creating a kids’ fashion accessories brand is a challenge in itself, as the market is still largely untapped. However, the potential this segment has to offer is unbeatable, the timing is just correct and with great ideas and a hardworking team,  the challenge head-on for many start-ups.  

Speaking on same, Sohel Lalvani, Founders, Toniq Retail Brand Pvt Ltd (The Baby Bro Code) said, “Being a kid-centric brand, we are retaining the essence of the parent brand, to make The Baby Bro Code one of its kind kid’s fashion accessory brand. Making the styles sensitive to the age group and factoring in the global trends, we provide styles right off the runway, at great pricing.”

The Baby Bro Code is exclusively retailed on online platforms, starting from its dedicated portal thebrocode.in to the major Indian fashion e-commerce giant Myntra. The company plans to launch the brand across other major e-commerce platforms like Jabong, Ajio, Tata Cliq, Amazon and many more.

“As the category, we are targeting is niche, we plan to completely dominate the online space first, although we firmly believe omnichannel retail is the most efficient retail model,” informed Lalvani.

Started by Chandni Agarwal, Little Tags is yet another brand which also operates into kids’ fashion accessory segment. Highlighting her journey Agarwal informed, “Accessory is one of the biggest segments and it forms the major part of impulsive purchases every time be it online or offline and also the clients we cater into have a high demand for kid’s accessory.”

These days parents consider kids to be an extension of their personalities. Hence they don’t mind spending the extra bucks on accessories as long as they get the quality and the worth for their money.

“I feel penetrating this niche market is a daunting task and I am employing non-traditional marketing plans to reach out to my target audience,” said Agarwal. Little Tags is dedicated to designer fashion and for now, the brand is primarily retailed via its website and plans to open its exclusive store.

The way forward

As per the report mentioned above, the baby clothing accessories were the dominant shareholder in the global baby fashion accessories market by accounting for more than 22% of the market share. Though, product innovation is a key factor considered by retailers to set competitive advantage in this emerging segment. The target group of the most of the player operating in this domain includes a premium segment of both parents and the children.

No doubt, kids’ accessories segment is largely untapped when it comes to the online retail space especially in the male segment. Kids’ exclusive e-commerce sites like First Cry do offer some categories but largely it is an untapped market. Clearly, there is a huge opportunity for every entrepreneur to carve out a niche in this unexplored market.

 

 

 

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