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Spending on apparel hits global benchmark

Tejal A Deshpande  |  Mumbai 

Spending on apparel in India has grown over the last five years, touching the global benchmark of 5 per cent of the total income, says
However, apparel is seen struggling for a larger chunk of the consumer's wallet share, driven by other emerging categories such as electronics and travel.
Corporate honchos, who recently met in Mumbai for the India Fashion Forum, dwelled on the ways to encourage consumer spend on apparel and infuse more fashion quotient through innovation.
Partnering with fashion designers or exploring strategic merchandising options were considered as possible avenues to boost the average ticket price in apparel.
Kishore Biyani, CEO Future Group, said that the mobile industry is taking away part of the consumer spending on fashion, thus changing the popular dictum to 'Roti Kapda Makan Aur Mobile'.
Citing the example of the Rs 40,000 crore mobile handset industry, he said, "Innovation is going to be the biggest consumption driver and India needs successful store and fashion brands to drive this growth."
The average replacement cycle for cellphones has shrunk to 18 months with almost two thirds of all mobiles bought for their style statement.
D Shivkumar, vice president and managing director, Nokia India, said, "Mobile manufacturers have innovated by introducing new features such as torches, cameras and radios. need to change before the consumer and Indianise features for durable conversions, especially at the bottom of the market."
Biyani emphasised that conventional events such as Diwali are losing their relevance and there is a need now to create new buying occasions as consumers are finding new ways of consumption such as travel, healthcare, education and electronics.
For instance, this year Big Bazaar beat its internal target by selling 1,28,000 jeans as against 38,000 cellphones during its Republic Day offer.
According to a Mckinsey study, inspite of the low spending ability on apparel, consumers are open to credit, but are restrained by credit availability.
Ireena Vittal, head retail practices, McKinsey said, "Forty five per cent of consumers are below 25 years and are looking for credit availability, while most credit finance schemes are targeted towards salaried customers."
The window of opportunity for brand owners is to partner with fashion designers or bollywood and television, which are the biggest influences for buying decisions.
Last year, Shopper's Stop entered into a merchandising arrangement with Farah Khan's Om Shanti Om for its four in-house brands Mario Zegnottio, Haute Curry, Vettorio Fratini and Push & Shove.
Asserting that fashion brands need to shun inhibitions about unprofessionalism in Bollywood, B S Nagesh, managing director Shopper's Stop said, "The company generated Rs 6 crore through merchandise sale and another Rs 10 crore through PR. We could drive better margins since the merchandise arrangement was for private labels."

First Published: Mon, February 11 2008. 00:00 IST