With grow­ing aware­ness of global fash­ion trends, a grow­ing mid­dle class and ris­ing dis­pos­able in­come, the oc­ca­sion wear mar­ket in In­dia has wit­nessed ag­gres­sive growth. Amit Gug­nani, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent - Fash­ion (Tex­tile & Ap­parel), Technopak, presents

Business of Fashion - - Contents -

The oc­ca­sion wear mar­ket in In­dia has wit­nessed quan­tum growth. Team Technopak presents an anal­y­sis of the grow­ing trends, top driv­ers, cur­rently pop­u­lar seg­ments and fu­ture prospects..

The def­i­ni­tion of cloth­ing has changed a lot over the years. In to­day’s sce­nario clothes are not just es­sen­tials to cover our­selves or feel com­fort­able, but rather are syn­ony­mous to our im­age. Wear­ing ap­pro­pri­ate clothes at wed­dings, fes­ti­vals, etc., makes it clear that the event is con­sid­ered im­por­tant and spe­cial.

Tra­di­tion­ally, in In­dia, shop­ping for new clothes was re­served pre­dom­i­nantly for fes­ti­vals and oc­ca­sions such as wed­dings, birth­days, fes­ti­vals and other sim­i­lar oc­ca­sions. But, in re­cent past, the oc­ca­sion wear mar­ket has wit­nessed ag­gres­sive growth fu­elled by higher spend­ing by the young and grow­ing mid­dle class of the coun­try. With the boom in re­tail in the last few decades, ur­ban In­dia em­braced con­sumerism and has since been brim­ming with brands of­fer­ing the con­sumer an im­proved shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence. Tra­di­tion­ally, the oc­ca­sion wear mar­ket was catered by ei­ther the un­or­gan­ised play­ers or the high-end de­sign­ers. But, as the fash­ion and brand con­scious young mid­dle class started earn­ing higher dis­pos­able in­come, this seg­ment has emerged

to be an at­trac­tive mar­ket. This has re­sulted in a slew of do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional brands fo­cus­ing on this seg­ment. The cat­e­gories them­selves have grown sig­nif­i­cantly.

In In­dia, the ap­parel cat­e­gory is tran­sit­ing from a need-based to a life­style cat­e­gory. The need-based pur­chase was lim­ited to ba­sic cat­e­gories like shirts, trousers, jack­ets, sa­rees, sal­war kameez, etc. To­day, how­ever, with greater aware­ness of in­ter­na­tional trends and self­im­age, con­sumers pre­fer wear­ing ap­parel based on the oc­ca­sion. Con­se­quently, from largely two cat­e­gories of for­mal and ca­sual cloth­ing, the cat­e­gories have emerged to oc­ca­sion spe­cific ones like gym wear, party wear, lounge wear, wed­ding wear, fes­ti­val wear, travel cloth­ing and ac­ces­sories, etc. In the years to come, the oc­ca­sion wear mar­ket is ex­pected to trans­form into a more de­tail-ori­ented and fash­ion con­scious seg­ment.


As a con­flu­ence of dif­fer­ent cul­tures, In­dia is a land of fes­ti­vals with a sig­nif­i­cant share of pop­u­lace cel­e­brat­ing dif­fer­ent fes­ti­vals to­gether. Most peo­ple pre­fer go­ing eth­nic while cel­e­brat­ing the fes­ti­vals. But in re­cent times, western wear and fu­sion wear has gained pop­u­lar­ity in the oc­ca­sion wear seg­ment. The grow­ing aware­ness of global fash­ion and trends has re­sulted in the emer­gence of a new range of prod­uct cat­e­gory which is fu­sion of both eth­nic and western wear. In ad­di­tion, theme based par­ties, evening din­ners and the ad­vent of des­ti­na­tion wed­dings has re­sulted in spe­cific wear for spe­cific oc­ca­sions.


The will­ing­ness of con­sumers to spend more and have mod­ern and evolved life­style has re­sulted in do­mes­tic as well as in­ter­na­tional play­ers en­ter­ing the this seg­ment. Brands and re­tail­ers are catch­ing up with the lat­est trends and cus­tomiz­ing their prod­uct of­fer­ings to match the spe­cific de­mands.

Oc­ca­sion wear is a seg­ment that can be clas­si­fied into eth­nic and western wear in both men’s and women’s cat­e­gories. Un­der the men’s seg­ment, sher­wa­nis, Jodh­puris, band­hgalas reign as the top de­manded ap­par­els in eth­nic; suits/man­darins/tuxe­dos & zoot suits, shirt co­or­di­nates and party shirts dom­i­nate the western wear seg­ment that are re­served for for­mal oc­ca­sions. Gym wear, sports wear (like run­ning gear and sport spe­cific clothes), travel wear are some of the other pop­u­lar seg­ments in oc­ca­sion wear.

Un­der the women’s seg­ment sa­rees, lehen­gas, suits, western wear, fu­sion wear, party gowns and dresses, gym wear, yoga clothes and travel wear are some of the pop­u­lar seg­ments in oc­ca­sion wear. Value added and pre­mium sa­rees have re­mained the most pop­u­lar among the women of the coun­try for spe­cial oc­ca­sions.


The grow­ing aware­ness of global fash­ion trends has been fu­elled by in­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion and the fash­ion & life­style me­dia. As a re­sult, the mid­dle class and the young pop­u­la­tion of the coun­try are be­com­ing aware about in­ter­na­tional trends. This re­sulted in fu­sion wear cap­tur­ing a prom­i­nent space in the In­dian oc­ca­sion wear seg­ment. The emer­gence of such new cat­e­gories has re­sulted in a sig­nif­i­cant growth of oc­ca­sion wear re­tail in In­dia.


Due to the grow­ing mid­dle class and ris­ing dis­pos­able in­come among con­sumers, a change can be seen in con­sumer’s pref­er­ences and choices. In­dian con­sumers are no more lim­ited to shop­ping based on needs.

Need based shop­ping has grad­u­ated to oc­ca­sion spe­cific shop­ping. To­day, a con­sumer’s wardrobe has dif­fer­ent at­tire ac­cord­ing to spe­cific oc­ca­sions. The con­sumer is con­cerned about his im­age and is will­ing to dress up ac­cord­ing to the oc­ca­sion. This has re­sulted in in­creased spend­ing on oc­ca­sion wear.


Oc­ca­sions such as birth­day par­ties and wed­dings have wit­nessed a grow­ing trend of theme based events. Wed­dings in In­dia are a three to five days af­fair with numer­ous events such as sangeet, mehndi, cock­tail din­ner and DJ nights, etc. the wed­dings have be­come an ex­tended cel­e­bra­tion lead­ing to pur­chase of oc­ca­sion wear to suit ev­ery event. Sports and fit­ness based ac­tiv­i­ties have also in­creased con­sid­er­ably along with leisure and travel.


Var­i­ous brands and re­tail­ers have also made sure that there are plenty of choices avail­able for the con­sumer across var­i­ous cat­e­gories, which was not the case tra­di­tion­ally. Most brands have ex­tended the prod­uct of­fer­rings to cap­ture a higher share of wal­let mak­ing it eas­ier for the con­sumer to find the prod­uct suit­able for a spe­cific oc­ca­sion.

Cur­rently, a number of ma­jor play­ers are at­tempt­ing to re­de­fine this cat­e­gory, with new cam­paigns that are tar­geted around oc­ca­sions such as spe­cial so­cial evenings, con­vo­ca­tion cer­e­monies, etc. Th­ese trends have led to many pre­mium brands en­ter­ing the oc­ca­sion wear seg­ment by en­hanc­ing their ex­ist­ing prod­uct of­fer­ing to cater to this mar­ket.

Ritu Ku­mar

In­dian con­sumers are no more lim­ited to shop­ping based on needs. Need based shop­ping has grad­u­ated to oc­ca­sion spe­cific shop­ping. To­day, a con­sumer’s wardrobe has dif­fer­ent at­tire ac­cord­ing to spe­cific oc­ca­sions.

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