Kidswear brands are on a roll in India – The Fashion Cosmo is in talks with one of the largest online retailers

November 12 19:34 2019
Kidswear brands are on a roll in India - The Fashion Cosmo is in talks with one of the largest online retailers
The Fashion Cosmo is waxing optimistic about India and in talks with one of the largest online retailers to roll out an exclusive collection for Kids wear.

The brand has its foot on the accelerator and is in talks with one of the largest online retailers to roll out an exclusive collection.

“This is the best time to enter India. We are thrilled and can’t wait to initiate our operations with our Slogan YES FASHION.”

But what makes her bet big on the kidswear market? Till a decade ago, it was something of a graveyard for most branded Indian kids apparel brands, even if they started with a bang. Sarita contends that the absence of brands is a big opportunity. “Our fundamentals are strong. We are focused on quality, comfortable styling and affordable pricing,” she adds.

Sarita is not alone in trying to crack the Indian market. Over the last few months, a bunch of Indian and foreign brands have started operations in the country, trying to make the most of the $10 billion kidswear market which is growing at a 10% compounded annual rate and is likely to touch $22 billion in 2023, according to retail consultancy Technopak Advisors. While, last August, America’s largest brand of children’s apparel and accessories, The Children’s Place, forayed into India, Mahindra Retail got iconic US kidswear brand Carter’s to the country last month. Even Flipkart, India’s largest ecommerce company, is planning to roll out an online store dedicated to children.

“India is on a brand binge in the kidswear space,” says brand strategist Harish Bijoor. To an extent, status-conscious mothers live vicariously through what their children wear. And therefore, the time seems ripe for brands to play big, he contends.

Kidology, which is likely to hit $1 million in revenue by the end of 2016, has an average ticket size of Rs. 10,500. It is working on new price points within the bridge-to-luxury space, and apart from its in-house collection, has roped in key Indian designers such as Siddhartha Tytler and Malini Ramani to design exclusive collections.

And the reasons for brands getting bullish are not difficult to fathom: exposure of parents and children to global fashion trends, rising income levels of the Indian working class, and explosion of foreign brands trying to woo Indian parents. The purchasing power of middle class has increased and parents want to indulge more in the premium wear for their children, contends Ankur Mittal, co-founder of kidswear brand Kidology, who recently tied up with Snapdeal.
Are the new brands getting their strategy right?

The retail experts are optimistic. “It seems that the new players are making the right moves,” says Ankur Bisen, consumer and retail analyst at Technopak Advisors. Hopefully they would absorb the learning from the mistakes made by the players in early 2000s, he adds. 

The early wave of kidswear brands neither understood the nuances of the consumer behaviour nor had an understanding of the kidswear retailing and merits of value-pricing. Moreover, their business model was not right and they were bogged down by internal issues such as corporate governance and processes, contends Bisen. 

Another problem was that the brands were experimenting in a space that had not developed. “Branding was not the USP in this space when the early brands of yesteryears tried to establish themselves,” asserts Bijoor. Store brands were early entry barriers to kids-wear brands in India. Absence of planned investment in brand building and advertising also proved to be major irritants, contends Bijoor. “India is now more brand ready in this space,” he says.

But would pricing alone determine the winners? Prakash Wakankar, CEO of Mahindra Retail, doesn’t think so. “Success has to be a combination of high quality, good design and right value for money product,” he contends.

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