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Boom time for online kids retail in India

M Saraswathy  |  Mumbai 

Payal Shah, a 12-year-old student from Mumbai, is the reflection of her parents when it comes to shopping. Clued into the latest fashion and a brand conscious teenager, she, like her parents, seeks pleasure in retail therapy in the online world. According to Shah, she prefers to shop online along with her parents since they are working and going for shopping sometimes becomes tedious.

Reasons such as these and the rising media exposure, high disposable income of the parents, peer pressure, growing fashion and brand consciousness among children are driving the growth of kids apparel market in the country.

The growth is also evident from the sales of some of the portals specialising in kids products. According to an Assocham study, the Indian kids-wear market is growing at a compounded annual growth rate of about 20 per cent and is likely to reach Rs 80,000 crore by 2015. The report has concluded that kids fashion has percolated down to tier-II and tier-III cities like Dehradun, Chandigarh, Pune, Nashik, Indore, Varanasi and so on.

The recent boom in the e-commerce segment is making players look at this segment seriously. AllSchoolStuff.com, FirstCry, M2C and Babyoye.com are some of the sites that are logging on to the online opportunity.

“Since the launch of our online store in November, we are doubling our growth every week. More and more brands and companies are tying up with us and so we are expecting our growth to be much higher in the coming few months. Over the last four weeks, we have added over 10,000 fans on our facebook page and the number of visitors has been growing almost 100 per cent,” says Manoj Chandra, co-founder & CEO, AllSchoolStuff.com.

Chandra adds that they expect to continue to grow in double digit over the next 12 months. “As we expand our customer base and continue to build our merchandising, catalogue with newer category and brands, we expect the venture to garner a turnover of Rs 100 crore in the next three years,” he said.

Kashyap Deorah, president, Futurebazaar.com, believes that online kids retail, especially in the infant segment, is a very interesting segment. “Shopping for kids with kids is a tough thing. Hence, the online medium is more convenient. We are adding on to our range of children’s products.” At present, this segment’s revenue contribution is in the single-digit percentage for the firm. Deorah says they are planning to launch a specialised portal for kids next year.

This insight has been acknowledged by online shopping portals that are eyeing this potential space and expanding their product portfolio with full-fledged kids wear collection. Increasing internet penetration by kids has further propagated the potential of this segment and encourages e-tailing companies to thrive on this emerging category.

Arunima Singhdeo, CEO and director, Babyoye.com, one of the early entrants in the kids category, says, “This is a disorganised market. We feel that this segment is slated to do very well. Since we are the first one in the segment, I believe that we have better delivery and lot of offers than other sites. We are in Mumbai and Delhi. We are looking at expanding in the southern part of the country. We are looking at expanding in the kids apparel market in a big way.” The portal that started with around 800 products now has 30,000 products.

Yebhi.com, a multi brand online retail store, has recently broadened the kids shopping segment by including kids sportswear, ethnic foot wear, apparel wear, super hero bags, stationery and fashion accessories. Yebhi.com has generated 10 per cent of the total revenue generated in the last fiscal year from this segment. Manmohan Agarwal, CEO, BigShoe Bazaar India and spokesperson of Yebhi.com, explains, “Being a multi brand online shopping store Yebhi.com caters to the emerging kids retailing market in India owing to the rising media exposure to the kids, high disposable income of the parents, peer pressure, growing fashion, and brand consciousness among children.”

Kids retailing constitutes eight per cent share of the total sales on Yebhi.com. “Where Yebhi.com has been experiencing 100 per cent year-on-year growth, kids retailing segment contributes 150 per cent growth following the diversification of kids fashion and lifestyle products on the store. From school bags to stationery, bag packs to gift items, shoes to apparels and many more, we have now added a myriad of sub-categories. We also roped in brands like Ben10, Puma, Nike and so on in order to substantiate the emerging demand in the market.,” says Agarwal.

There are some players like Myntra.com, which are not too keen on expanding further on the kids segment. Mukesh Bansal, CEO, Myntra.com, justifies, “The kids segment contributes around 10 per cent of our sales. We have a lot to do in the fashion category, and hence we do not have any specific plans for the kids segment.”

Targeting this group early on clearly seems to be on the agenda of most of the ecommerce players. According to a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India, out of the total internet population, 75 per cent, that is, 9 million, are youngsters. Out of which 1.9 million users are kids and this segment has been experiencing a substantial 70 per cent year-on-year growth.

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First Published: Mon, December 26 2011. 00:36 IST
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