A contemporary kid’s wardrobe is probably as vast, if not bigger, than that of an adult’s. This can be attributed to parents’ growing disposable income, brand consciousness and easier product accessibility.
Brands like BIBA, Monte Carlo, Ayesha Accessories, Jack & Jones, GAP, which earlier catered to youth and adults, today have an impressive kidswear range. Where frocks, skirts, jeans and tops were available aplenty in branded and unbranded segments, sourcing for girls ethnic wear was a challenge, which prompted BIBA to take the plunge.
Siddharth Bindra, MD of BIBA Apparels said, “When we launched BIBA Girls, there was no branded ethnic player for kids. Identifying this gap, we introduced the collection and the market responded well.”
When Monte Carlo, a winterwear brand, decided to enter the kidswear category, many were surprised. Rishabh Oswal, Executive Director, Monte Carlo said that the company embarked on this venture seeking the vacuum in this category and the need for children to “match their parent’s sartorial sense.”
SHIFTING MARKET DYNAMICS
While the business has plenty of potential, it also comes with its set of challenges, which is not confined to product design, pricing and marketing. Bindra explained, “One challenge is that a key percentage of the industry is unorganized. Although the branded kids wear segment has witnessed higher growth in recent years, it still remains largely unbranded and products are sold mostly through unorganized retail channels.” His vision is to capture the kids market keeping in mind the growing needs for ethnic wear for kids is what led him to enter this category.
For Oswal, sizing seemed to be the most challenging roadblock that they had to overcome, “It was majorly the sizing, as it is difficult to understand the pattern of sizes of kids. Also, crafting outfits of kids needs special attention.”
GOING BEYOND APPAREL
According to Technopak, the Indian kidswear market in 2017 was estimated at INR 66,904 crore accounting for 20% of India’s total apparel market. Bindra expects this segment to grow at 8.1% CAGR to reach INR 145,445 crore by 2027. A growing demand of occasion specific clothing, growth of private labels, emergence of low-priced alternatives are some trends making a big impact in this space.
It is not just apparel that is gaining ground in the kids’ retail category – there now exist brands with a special range of accessories for children in their portfolio. Jacqueline Kapur, Founder and President, Ayesha Accessories launched a sub-brand, Lil Star, in 2015 after seeing that “no other brands were offering a range of fun and fashionable accessories for four to 14 year-olds.”
Today, it is available across 16 EBOs in addition to outlets in Central stores, online on Myntra, Amazon and the company’s own website. Lil Star’s target is the young millennial mother. Kapur shared, “Mothers love to post their kids’ pictures on social media. Accessorizing gives them an opportunity to stand out within their peer group. We started with just a few items of hair accessories and jewelry, but now have a range of bags, watches, sunglasses, beauty products, etc.”
According to Bindra, the ‘mini-me’ trend, i.e. children as an extension of their parents, encourage big brands to design cloths for kids as they do for adults. On the pricing factor, Bindra reveals, “Parents nowadays are willing to spend on their kids if they like something. We notice that depending on the style and comfort parents evaluate and choose the best option. Osswal cited that the most comfortable price range will be 500 onwards.
Lil Star’s average price points lie between INR 148 for hair accessories to INR 1600 for backpacks – which is similar to Ayesha’s average price of INR 600. “Young mothers tend to pick at least two items per bill,” Kapur added.
An excerpt from a report released by Transparency Market Research stated that in recent years, consumer buying behavior has changed, with more attention given to a person’s appearance, including that of kids. ‘This factor has created huge opportunity for companies and brands to produce more fashionable kid’s wear with variety of designs. Apparel and footwear are manufactured in such a way that they can be worn on different occasions. Kidswear market has followed recent trends in adult’s fashion, which prioritizes performance and comfort.’ Fashion brands could do tell to take note of the immense potential in this category.