What to expect in 2019 for footwear retail?
What to expect in 2019 for footwear retail?

There has been an upsurge in the footwear industry in India in recent years, especially owing to higher disposable income. As per Statista, the overall revenue in the footwear market will reach USD 16,980 million in 2018, with a CAGR of 10.1% between 2018 and 2021. Within the footwear industry, when it comes to luxury footwear segment, India has seen a rise in the number of upcoming indigenous brands in 2018.  It's no surprise that many of such brands have understood the "perception" piece very well - and have been spending a lot on branding. Today, marketing and branding have become integral for the success of a lifestyle brand, specifically for brands catering in luxury footwear. The year 2019 will bring new trends and marketing strategies into the picture that will greatly influence the market growth. Here are few predictions from various angles:

1) Increase in Branding spends:

India is currently the biggest fashion melting pot in the world. Most of the international brands are operating in India and have been spending huge money on branding and awareness. With the emergence of indigenous brands as well, the overall branding and advertising spends are speculated to go higher in 2019. Alongside, the underdog, i.e. the private labels will attempt to create more luxurious aura using content in 2019. The coming year will witness a tough competition in the market, where the battles will be fought will innovative marketing and branding strategies.

2) Street Fashion mixed with Luxury and vice versa.

The fashion houses and luxury footwear labels have figured out through 2018 experiences that in India, comfort matters as much if not more than luxury. This has triggered companies like Skechers to launch flashy and fashion-forward footwear street footwear mixed with a bit of luxury feel - at luxury prices - with great emphasis on comfort.

3) Taxman

There have been a lot of disruptions in the economic model of the country from GST to FDI. The year 2019 is expected to have a decrease in GST from 18% to 12%, thus making luxury footwear more affordable, if at all the luxury buyers needed a reduction in prices. The increase in disposable income and global exposure will have a greater role to play in the tax structure.

4) Emphasis on Customer service:

Thanks to Amazon, customer service is now the centerpiece of most product strategies. Companies are expected to go full circle in ensuring fantastic customer experience & engagement in 2019. E-commerce will continue being the leader in this domain and with new market entrants, the customer-centric approach will evolve bigger.

5) Content is still the king:

Since Google’s ‘Penguin’ update content has become the strongest of online marketing. Most luxury footwear makers will focus on better - and more relatable content - something that won't just visually satisfy the customers, but also engage them in a meaningful way.  It is estimated that 2-3% of revenue would be spent just on content creation along with 5% or more in the dispersion.

6) Local designs will dominate Indian markets in 2019

As we have seen over the last 2 months of 2018, Indian designs that appeal to the local (regional) senses would dominate the Indian markets. Indian consumers have clearly highlighted that luxury isn't synonymous with flashy Italian names anymore. The Indian customer has matured enough to understand the value vs. price curve. Hence, expect a surge in local designs oozing luxury!

The article has been penned down by Ambud Sharma, Founder of Escaro Royale

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