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India’s apparel sales to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022: GlobalData

This will be driven by increased urbanisation in the country.

Apparel sales in India are expected to reach $75.2b (INR5.8t) in 2022, returning to 2019 levels due to the growing middle class, economy, and urbanisation, according to GlobalData.

In a statement, GlobalData said India’s apparel market grew to $64.8b (INR4.9t) in 2021 on the back of easing restriction, reopening of retail stores, and return of social gatherings but still remain 6.2% below 2019 levels, citing its report on India’s apparel market size and trend analysis, and forecast from 2020 to 2025.

Sales in the apparel market are expected to reach $91.1b (INR7.6t) in 2025, it said.

‘‘India’s growing middle class, with higher disposable income, will bolster the growth of the apparel market, especially benefitting Western brands, as these consumers increasingly interact with social media with greater exposure to global fashion trends,” GlobalData Retail Analyst Suresh Sunkara said. 

Sunkara added that the rapid urbanisation in India presents a significant opportunity for brands online, noting that several major brands have implemented significant digital initiatives which included the launching of transaction websites and improving delivery options.

Smaller players have also benefited from being present on online platforms such as Flipkart and Amazon.

GlobalData said the demand for comfortable apparel which rose particularly during the height of the pandemic is expected to continue during the forecast period, whilst categories such as jeans and tops, and t-shirts will surpass pre-pandemic sales faster because of casualisation.

“The popularity of remote working beyond the pandemic will cause categories such as suits, shirts, and dresses to have slower growth in the forecast period. However, unlike in numerous Western countries, these categories will surpass pre-pandemic levels due to the strong growth in the overall market, supported by urbanisation and the growing middle class," Sunkara said, adding that the urbanisation also led to a shift in consumer’s lifestyle.

Online penetration in India accelerated during the pandemic, increasing from 10.3% in 2019 to 18.4% in 2021.

The analyst added that as retailers continue to improve digital propositions and consumer habits shift, online channels will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 30.5% between 2019 to 2025, and online penetration will increase to 26.5% in 2025.

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