Kids Fashion, An Emerging Trend
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Until a few years ago, young parents thought about kids’ clothing and shoes as a functional need. There was a desire to dress their kids fashionably but no accessibility as the world of fashion belonged to men and women. Department stores, operating mostly in tier 1 cities, offered a narrow range of selection, style, and quality to the shoppers. With the growth in the number of kids fashion brands, this gap in the fashion landscape has been addressed. By offering consumers the latest trends in sub-categories they didn’t have access to in the past, brands have created categories that never existed.
According to Barclays, a leading UK based bank, kids’ fashion in India experienced a staggering 29.2per cent growth rate to reach $5.5Bn in 2018 and is expected to grow to $14Bn by 2022. Other studies seem to concede that the men’s and women’s fashion market is saturated, and a gaping hole exists in affordable kids’ fashion, leaving it as the only exciting space to be in. In fact, the improving socio-economic conditions suggest that Indians are spending more than ever before on dressing their children.
Studies in India found that parents, especially mothers, are highly aspirational and want to dress their kids in fashionable head-to-toe merchandise but seek to do so at affordable price-points. As we look at each age and stage of a child's development to suit their needs, we notice that Indian parents have become fashion seekers and are always looking for the best trends for their children. For example, our data suggest that starting age one, parents dress their kids in infant fashion. Between the ages of two to five, first-time parents opt to shop the look and between ages six to nine, parents buy separate items, and are more confident about mixing and matching them.
Another trend obvious is the kids wear market is that it is more skewed towards boys (~60per cent: 40per cent) but brands that better serve girls are able to buck that trend. Similarly, traditional western brands aren’t able to serve Indian consumers effectively leading us to conclude that the market opportunity is huge and underserved. Given the lack of relevant and viable options for Indian parents, we see a massive opportunity to create a brand for affordable fashion for kids in India.
However, Indian brands retailers have continued to be obsessed with western brands. In doing so, they seem to have ignored the little details and nuances of Indian consumers. Venturing deep into parents’ journey as a consumer, our data shows that parents are eager and willing to shop and spend when you understand and serve their latent needs.
Consider the “mini-me” trend where girls dress in similar clothes to those that moms wear, and boys sport the same trends as their fathers. Or adult fashion trends such as bling or velvet which have found a place in the kids wear space. Parents are becoming increasingly experimental when it comes to shopping their child’s look. And following this insight, kids wear brands have started providing more variants, colours and hues than men's and women's fashion brands.
Overall, what is most exciting is how dispersed customer demands are. Brands tend to make the mistake of assuming that the shoppers are concentrated in urban areas and metros. However, our data shows the polar opposite. This is perhaps reflective of India’s expanding purchasing power and the high level of global exposure that parents have thanks to social media. It is heartening to see that consumers from lesser-known towns from India make more purchases than metro cities and that kids-fashion is emerging as a new trend as a whole.