Accessorizing has always reserved its place in the overall look and has been an important part of fashion. Fashion accessories like belts, bags, shoes, jewellery, etc. add more value to the overall look instead of just the functionality of attire. While this segment was mainly in the hands of unorganized players in the market, the last few years have witnessed a surge in the number of brands offering fashion accessories. E2O or ‘Even 2 Odd’ is one such brand which has successfully grabbed a fair share of this emerging market. We talk to Apeksha Patel Founder, E2O, about the accessories market in India, consumers’ inclination towards these and also about the challenges ahead.
How would you describe the current status of accessories industry in India?
The fashion accessory market has grown manifold over the past few years and is swarming with a vast range and variety of products. There has been a continuous and sustained shift in consumer demand pattern from basic necessities to spending on lifestyle products and services, largely due to higher disposable income, increasing literacy levels, increasing exposure and awareness levels, higher adaptability of internet, increasing urbanization, changing role of women and children in the decision making process, increased demand for better shopping experience, impulsive purchase behaviour among youngsters, changing fashion trends and increased consciousness. These key influencers have brought in major changes in the market.
Tell us about the evolving shopping behaviour when it comes to accessories. How has the per capita consumption grown?
The influence of western culture has triggered a growing sense of fashion among the Indian women. Increased awareness about the latest fashion across the globe through internet has boosted the market for fashion accessories. The increasing desires of women to “look good, feel good” and their rising disposable income have propelled demand for fashion accessories in the market.
When do people mostly shop for accessories?
Unlike the yesteryears when shopping was only retrained to festivals, there is a shift in shopping behaviour of women who have now been particular in the way they accessorize their outfit even during an ordinary working day. Today, every accessory from a pair of heels to watches and handbags are mix matched and complemented with the outfit. Since women are now being social savvy, attending parties and occasions has been every weekend affair. This has led the shopping calendar equally spread out over the year as women want to look their best version and go shopping to meet their styling needs more frequently.
Today, consumers mostly shop for the ‘perfect look’ rather than just a product. Do you agree?
With women being top-to-toe conscious when it comes to creating a style statement for any occasion or work routine, “perfect look” plays a crucial role. Also, always flaunting a new look on social media profiles influences women’s purchasing pattern from an outfit to a handbag and a footwear. With women employment rate growing rapidly in India, working class has become quite fashion conscious and shopping is always on their weekend list.
Tell us about the ratio of sales between the men’s and women’s accessories range.
The ratio of sales in women’s accessories is tremendously high as compared to men’s accessories since men’s accessories are limited to a few categories whereas women’s accessories have a range of categories with numerous options. Also, men’s accessories shopping is usually need based which happens periodically or when required, while women shop in regular intervals which relatively increases the demand in women’s accessories.
How is unorganized sector affecting this market? What do you think are the other big challenges faced by this industry?
Organized brands are expanding their presence in accessories segment from past 6-7 years. Still, Indian accessories market is ruled by unorganized sector. Indian market has also seen numerous players entering this segment but the market still accounts to limited customer share preferring branded accessories while a major customer base shops non-branded accessories in India. Most of the sale happens during discounts offered and end of season sale, affecting the profit revenue generation in this market. Also, pilferage has been the biggest challenge in accessories market.
Tell us about the latest trends in accessories today.
Being the festive season celebrated in India, statement earrings and layered necklaces are adding flavour to the ethnic wear. Ethnic prints, floral embroidery, studded slings and clutches are trending to style traditional looks. A trend that has recently caught on is a stylish pair of socks from frills to neons and glitter. While belts have always been in vogue but these new-in-trend body shaper belts on sarees are bringing that grace to the usual way of draping a saree. With adoption of western fashion by Indian women, contemporary jewellery is making an impactful entrance in India market.
What does the future behold for accessories market in India?
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. Accessories also have the quality of giving renewed look even when you style the same outfit several times. Fashion accessories market can be expected to go through a dynamic phase in the years to come and witness a series of innovations, apart from the entrance of new players.