In the recent past, the Indian lingerie market has witnessed a stupendous growth and has undergone a transformational change. The category was valued at around US $ 3 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 14 per cent to reach US $ 6.5 billion by the year 2023.
If data is anything to go by, it can be said that India owes this success to various socio-cultural factors, and technology has a big role to play in this. Moreover, the influx of major international brands to our home soil further cements the huge opportunity this segment possesses. Pankaj Vermani, Founder & CEO of Clovia asserted, “The current US $ 4 billion market is still so nascent that the top 10 brands put together are not even addressing 8 per cent of the overall market. It’s a market with enormous potential, waiting to be tapped. While the apparel market is growing at 8-9 per cent CAGR, lingerie is pegged to grow anywhere between 15-22 per cent annually.”
Validating the same, Akhil Srivastava, Managing Director of Parfait India, said, “The Lingerie market has come a long way from being considered as an apparel subcategory in the earlier days. With the rise in the purchasing power of consumers, there has been a subsequent rise in the demand for bralettes, activewear, resortwear and daily intimatewear.”
“With the rise in the purchasing power of consumers, there has been a subsequent rise in the demand for bralettes, activewear, resortwear and daily intimatewear.” – Akhil Srivastava Managing Director, Parfait India
Lingerie today has surpassed its initial association of including only innerwear, to include a wider array of products to suit the evolving customer’s needs and lifestyle choices. The consumer today, is informed and aware, and the stigma surrounding the discussion of lingerie as in the earlier days, is steadily diminishing. Indian women today, have a higher purchasing power; with their per capita spending having doubled over the last 7 years. Knowing that there is a target market open to innovation, allows brands to explore and experiment with the category further.
In an effort to keep up with the new-found awareness of consumers, many existing and upcoming brands are keeping diversity at the core of their product offerings rather than style – a great way to tap into the Indian demographics owing to the varied population present in this region.
Consumers are opting for comfort-first clothing that also fit well. Brands are rising up to the opportunity by presenting a range of options in terms of sizing, colours. This shift in consumer’s taste signals a start that could affect the global market on a higher scale.
“Innovation is at the core of everything we do and have brought in exciting developments and changes to a hitherto basic category. We are continuously engaging with our consumer to understand her changing lifestyle and intimate needs. Taking a cue from her evolving needs, we have developed several products to deliver on our promise of quality, comfort and fit. Each woman is different, and we are looking to deliver products that she can choose from to solve her intimate needs for various outfits, occasions and moods.” – Amisha Jain CEO, Zivame
“An increasing number of people are opting for comfort over style, but at Zivame, we don’t believe in choosing one over the other as comfort is a necessity and all lingerie must be comfortable. We constantly engage with our consumers to understand their changing lifestyle and intimatewear needs. Innovation is at the core of everything we do and we are constantly working on areas of construction (uni-cup with flexible underwire, supersoft Marshmallow Cups) to make products that give a unique, stylish and comfortable consumer experience.” Amisha Jain, CEO at Zivame told AR.
Though lingerie and intimates as a product category can never experience a slowdown, there are elements and trends that perform better at the retail level than others – and these trends keep changing with the seasons.
Animal prints have recorded an impressive growth at mass as well as luxury level and the same has trickled down to all kinds of categories in the industry – be it casualwear, street style, eveningwear, jackets and coats or accessories.
The same has cast a significant comeback on the lingerie market, but surprisingly it is not the print you think it is.
Though some would argue that animal print has forever been associated with lingerie, there are variations of the print which have emerged as top runners in the category. Snake skin, leopard skin are some styles which have emerged to be successful today.
With the advent of social media and the awareness that open discussions around body positivity entail, a huge prospect has opened up for the lingerie market. Most fullbusted women complain about not finding the right size of bra. Tapping this number, which stands at a disappointing 90 per cent in India, brands such as Parfait and Zivame have taken it upon themselves to fill this gap in the Indian market. A 6 per cent increase in plus-size underwear was observed in the US last year. On the international level, brands such as ASOS have introduced sizes from US 40 DD to 44 L.
Taking from its wide knowledge of dressing women worldwide, Parfait, which entered the Indian market earlier this year, understands that one size doesn’t fit all. From petite to plus-size, the brand offers sizes ranging from 28 to 52 in band sizes, A to K in cup sizes and XS-4XL in bottoms. Corroborating on the same, Akhil said, “We offer all sizes available in silhouettes from bras to sports bras, boy shorts to high waist briefs, babydolls to bustiers. It is a complete 360-degree change as women now can learn the right technique of choosing the right size (band and cup).
On the domestic front, Zivame launched its True Curv collection in 2014 with a range of 40+ sizes when no other brand in India catered to that range. With breakthrough engineering, support and design, this collection saw Zivame’s entry into the curvy segment.
As confirmed by Amisha, “We realised there was a huge gap in the market for sizes in this category as the largest size sold was a 38 D and the consumers were constantly struggling to find the right fit and size. Zivame was the first Indian online lingerie brand to fill this gap with the True Curv collection, specially designed for curvy women.”
The advent of streetstyle has led to even luxury brands altering their mix to include an offering that appeals to the younger demographic today. The trend has trickled down to encapsulate the lingerie sector as well. Keeping the same in mind, Clovia unveiled a range of activewear in October. The renowned lingerie label from the group of Purple Panda Fashions introduced a line of activewear with moisture-wicking characteristics. The collection comprises of workout pants with a high waistband that supports the tummy, as well as sports bras.
Zivame has introduced a cool new concept wherein bralettes double up as casualwear as well as occasionwear. Elaborating on the same, Kiruba Devi, Category Head at Zivame.com, said, “Lately, bralettes have achieved cult status in pop-culture because of their cool designs (lace, cotton, even crochet) and fuss-free wearability factor. The design of our bralettes feature no moulded cups or underwires – so you can compare its fit to a crop-top, only dressier. For this reason, they are usually preferred by small-busted women; at Zivame, you will also find bralettes that are specially designed for full-figured women as well.” She further added, “What also adds to their popularity is their versatility.
They can be worn in many ways – with high-waisted skirts or pants, shorts or even as a blouse of a saree! They are so comfy that many women prefer to wear them as athome bras for lounging around on a Sunday afternoon.”
Fashion today goes hand-in-hand with sustainability and each is incomplete without the mention of the other. Thus, it is imperative to throw light on what the industry’s opinion on the topic is. At Zivame, the journey to sustainability has already begun wherein they are trying to work around the feasibility of the concept for the Indian market.
“We are working on introducing products which are recyclable and eco-friendly. We are exploring materials like recyclable polyester yarns which have already been introduced in our activewear, organic cotton, vegetable dyes, sustainablysourced bamboo that are durable and natural,” informed Amisha.
Consumers are opting for breathable fabrics made out of natural materials and fibres, for all their intimate needs – be it bras, boxers, briefs or bodysuits.
US-based brand Reformation is working with Lenzing’s Tencel, recycled lace and eco-mesh, whilst retailers such as Everlane are known as industry-wide leaders in transparent and ethical production practices.
Price has always been a factor associated with sustainable products. Domestic retailer Patanjali Paridhan is rising to the occasion by providing sustainable options made using bamboo fibres at competitive price points tailored for the pricesensitive Indian economy.
Bridal lingerie continues to trend as more and more fashion labels jump into the bandwagon to capture a share of the market. Rihanna introduced a new range to her successful Savage X Fenty collection directly pointing towards the increase in various brands’ investment of products for themed bachelorette parties as well.
In the mass market, matching wedding-themed swimwear and nightwear is seen to gain notable popularity amongst the millennials of today. These categories which double up as ideal gifting ideas, appease to more traditional bridal buyers wanting to capture a younger demographic. It’s a win-win situation since it is a less risky way to test the waters with a lower priced product.
When we talk about bridal lingerie, lace pops up as an indelible element. Since lace has been associated with lingerie forever, manufacturers are always working on creating innovative new variations with it in order to keep consumers hooked. For example, tapping on the lucrative opportunity posed by the wedding season in India, Zivame launched its Blouze Bra, which essentially is bra that doubles up as a bra. Crafted with intricate lace and mesh detailing, these bras provide absolute support and a sculpted shape, while their padded, full-coverage cups ensure zero-spillage. “They have a handy zipper opening which makes it super easy to wear and their pretty back styles are perfect for showing off sexy backs!” Kiruba said, adding, “The multifunctional Blouze Bra is perfect for the girl-onthe-go who can do without multiple layers. The best part about it is that it entirely eliminates the need to wear a bra inside – because it has one built-in!”