Home Fashion An overview of India’s fast-growing shirt market

An overview of India’s fast-growing shirt market


1Emerging Shirt Market

Experts from map the Indian shirt market that holds huge scope for brands and retailers, provided they manage to cater to the ever-changing fashion requirements of both formal and semi-formal shirts for men and women.

With increasing disposable incomes, growing middle class, increasing penetration of e-tail and increasing acceptance for branded apparel, the shirt market has expanded its consumer base in past decade

The shirt market has evolved along with the rest of the global apparel market. With increasing disposable incomes, growing middle class, increasing penetration of e-tail and increasing acceptance for branded apparel, the shirt market has expanded its consumer base in past decade.

Also, consumers are embracing the idea of fashion for its own sake, as a means of self-expression, and not merely as a functional purchase. Similar trend can be seen for shirts; they are no more category of functional buy but have become a part of self-statement.

2Market Size and Growth

In 2015, the domestic shirt market in India was estimated to be worth Rs 34,717 crore. This market is expected to grow at compound annual growth rate of 8 per cent to reach Rs 51,913 crore by 2020.

Shirts accounts for 13 per cent of the total apparel market. The market is dominated by men’s segment accounting for 94 per cent of the total market. The men’s shirt market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8 per cent while the women’s segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14 per cent, owing to its current smaller base.

3Men’s Shirt Market

The men’s shirt category accounts for 29 per cent of the total men’s apparel market of India. The market of shirts is under transition in last few years from limited colours and designs to distinct categories of formal and stylish shirts. With evolving consumer preference towards semi-formal and causal look, demand for stylish shirts is growing.

The super-premium and premium brands of men’s shirt are dominated by both national and international brands. Consumers in these segments tend to have high association with the brand image and seek exclusivity. Value brands and private labels are growing rapidly in these segments as the consumers’ awareness of brands has increased substantially, at the same time the consumer is increasingly seeking value for money.

4Women’s Shirt Market

The women’s shirt category is a relatively small category in the overall women’s apparel market which is dominated by ethnic wear. The women’s shirts category contributes less than 2 per cent to the total women apparel market as it is a relatively new segment with limited degree of penetration and acknowledgment. However, owing to increasing number of women workforce and growing desire for western attire among women, this segment has started showing promising growth opportunities in metros and mini metros and the effect is anticipated to trickle down to smaller cities as well.

5Select Trends and Growth Drivers

The shirt market in India has witnessed several fashion trends and fashion fads in fabric, style and design. With personalization emerging as a key concept in fashion retail, major shirt retailers are focusing on developing customized products to suit customer needs. The retailers have brought in various size segments like slim fits, skinny fits, etc., to cater various demographics.

In line with the global trend of casualization, the Indian shirt market is anticipated to witness higher growth for semi-formal shirts compared to formal shirts. Consequently, semi-formal look – polo shirts – have gained popularity, accounted to its combination of classic and causal look.

Shirt market has witnessed diversification in terms of colour and fabrics. Retailers today provide customer with wide range of choices in colours, styles and patterns. There is also a growing market for linen shirts as the demand for linen shirts has grown in past few years.

With growing disposable income and rising middle class, the shirt market has experienced a major thrust. Further, growing urbanization and corporate culture are additional growth drivers for shirts retail market (for both in men’s and women’s category). Women’s category being comparatively new and smaller in base is expected to show higher growth rate.

The conventional trend of buying fabric and getting shirt stitched from tailor has lost its popularity. The Indian populace has shown high acceptability ready to wear shirts rather than going for fabric. Value brands and private labels catering to this segment have grown rapidly as the consumers’ awareness of brands has increased substantially.

Increasing penetration of e-tailing in apparel has further led to expansion in consumer base for shirts. With increasing brick and mortar brand association with established e-tailers, the domestic market of shirts has been on growth trajectory.

6Challenges and Opportunities

Despite the number of rapidly flourishing brands, the penetration of the private labels and international labels is yet on the lower side. It is estimated that branded shirts are only able to drape a small percentage of Indian population. There is still a larger fraction of Indian population who still prefer local garment makers over branded apparel attributable to their cheaper cost.

Some private labels have modified their pricing strategy and are offering shirts in low to mid price range. The major organized players are trying to capture the market with efficient sourcing, low overheads and, above all, volumes.

Also, designing proper fits for women’s formal shirts as per the Indian body type has been a challenge and many private labels and international retailers have failed to curtail this challenge. Fits catering to various body types of the Indian women need to be developed in order to target a larger consumer base.

In the coming years, the growth of shirt market will be driven by the young and aspiring youth working in corporate sector. At the same time, innovative designs and colour combinations in semi-formal shirt will continue to attract the fashion conscious consumer. Women’s shirt market is also expected to witness a surge in demand due to increasing participation of women in workforce. The market will also witness new trends in terms of fabric design, finish application, introduction of wider colour choices and fitting.