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.”